Gas versus charcoal

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A Global Guide to the BBQ

Buying a barbecue is a serious decision. Whether you’re grilling for one or for an entire family, it is essential to find the right barbecue to suit your needs.

At the heart of this decision is the ongoing debate over gas versus charcoal, the most contentious argument in the world of grilling. It is difficult to find a barbecue connoisseur who does not have an opinion on this topic.

But, if you’re only new to the world of barbecues, how do you decide which type is right for you? InsideOut answers your burning questions.

Charcoal barbecues have long been known as the cheaper grilling option, as basic models can retail for as little as $40. Gas barbecues, meanwhile, are usually more expensive, starting at around $300 new or $100 second hand. These prices increase with the more high-end models. When it comes to fuel, however, gas is more cost-effective than charcoal during the height of barbecue season. A gas tank can provide up to eight hours of fuel while a bag of charcoal will need to be replaced frequently, depending on how often you grill.

When it comes to cooking time, gas barbecues are considerably quicker than charcoal as the former only takes about 10 minutes to heat up. Charcoal can take up to 40 minutes so isn’t ideal for spur of the moment barbecues. It is also easier to control the temperature of a gas barbecue whereas charcoal seems to have a mind of its own. However, charcoal barbecues are much more portable than most gas models, perfect for a barbecue on the beach or in the park.

This is where the gas versus charcoal debate really gets heated. Charcoal purists will say that only their preferred grill can imbue the meat with that natural barbecue flavour. Gas purists, on the other hand, will say their way is every bit as delicious as it captures all the juices of the meat. The truth is that it all comes down to personal preference. Try cooking on both types of grill and decide which flavour you like better (or if you can even notice the difference).