Charcoal or Propane - Choose Your Destiny ?

United States
July 5, 2009 2:28pm CST
I attended two cook outs yesterday. First of all....when did the 4th of July become a "visit the family holiday"? But anyway....the first cookout I went to they were grilling up burgers and hot dogs, and chicken legs on a charcoal bbq grill. They didn't use a whole bottle of lighter fluid. Nothing was charred black beyond recognition. And everything has a great smokey outdoorsy flavor to it. It was all very good. Then I went to another cook out where they were cooking up all the same food on a propane powered grill. They flicked a switch and turned a dial and timed their cooking based on the temperature they set the grill to. I think that is cheating. IMO that is no different then cooking the food on the stove in my kitchen. But according to "How Its Made" propane grills are 30% more popular than charcoal grills. Which do you prefer? Would you rather have your food grilled over charcoal or over propane?
5 people like this
8 responses
@Opal26 (17694)
• United States
5 Jul 09
Hey cynical! If I'm going to a BBQ I want my food "BBQ'D"!!! That to me means "CHARCOAL GRILLIN"! I may be old fashioned, but if I wanted my food cooked with propane then I could just cook it in my apartment over my gas stove! I want that charcoal flavor, just not that burned flavor! You just can't call it a BBQ if you are cooking with propane! And I think propane gives it a weird taste anyway! So give me a good old charcoal grillin' BBQ any old day! I still haven't had one yet this year! I have to talk my neighbor across the street to take out her little tiny grill and fire it up!
2 people like this
@catdla1 (6005)
• United States
6 Jul 09
Time to go visiting with a bag of Match Light...lol. Let me know when you're going, I'll bring some hot dogs.
1 person likes this
• United States
6 Jul 09
Thank you Opal! I couldn't have said it better myself!
1 person likes this
@MegDM123 (145)
• United States
6 Jul 09
CHARCOAL CHARCOAL CHARCOAL! We have had both, but I prefer charcoal. The best charcoal is Matchlight because you don't need any lighter fluid - there is already enough on the coals to light the fire and then it burns off quickly so that the food doesn't taste like chemicals. One of the best investments I have made was a grilling basket. We are able to put fish and veggies in the basket and GOOD LORD you can't have a better light summer meal! Or, another tip that I love is to marinate some cleaned shrimp still in their shell in some MojoCriollo. Best to marinate those babies over night. Then skewer them and throw them on the grill as well. Sorry...can you tell I didn't have breakfast! To get back on topic, I prefer charcoal grills.
2 people like this
• United States
6 Jul 09
I didn't have lunch. But now I think its going to be an early dinner for everyone here. lol I love wrapping a freshly caught trout in some foil with a few pats of butter and a sprinkle of lemon juice and letting it cook over the charcoal.
2 people like this
@James72 (26832)
• Australia
6 Jul 09
I definitely prefer the taste of food that's cooked over charcoal, no question. It's far more flavoursome than meat grilled on a gas cooker by a long shot. Many Aussie barbecues combine the 2 actually and have gas jets providing flames that sit underneath a layer of charcoal. Best of both worlds!
1 person likes this
• United States
6 Jul 09
Thats what Kitty said too. Now if I can only convince my husband to load up the bottom of his propane grill with charcoal...we might be able to put an end to our 3 year feud.
2 people like this
@James72 (26832)
• Australia
6 Jul 09
She did? Oh.... so she did! Good for me for reading all the other responses first, yes? Smart woman that one! lol.
1 person likes this
• United States
6 Jul 09
Why choose one or the other when you can have BOTH? My hubs does all the grilling in our family. We have a propane grill but instead of those lava rocks, it's filled with charcoal! So we have the best of both worlds. LOL
1 person likes this
• United States
6 Jul 09
Now that is a good idea. Isn't it a pain in the rear to get the ashes out though?
2 people like this
• United States
7 Jul 09
I have no idea. In my house, all indoor cooking is done by me, all outdoor cooking is done by hubby. The closest I get to grilling is marinating the meat, INSIDE. I don't even know how to turn the grill on.
@catdla1 (6005)
• United States
6 Jul 09
Propane is more popular only because people don't have to wait. For flavor, I prefer charcoal. I have 2 charcoal grills, one small and one big. I wouldn't consider owning a propane grill. As far as the 4th being a 'family' holiday, it's also my birthday weekend. Growing up it was always 'family' day for that reason. The one advantage is that I got to pick the activity. Needless to say, we always ended up at an amusement park, so I have a lot of good memories. Now I live half way across the country, so I miss it.
1 person likes this
• United States
6 Jul 09
It is a constant source of tension here. I have my trusty charcoal grill and I inherited a propane grill along with my husband and his dog. lol We compromise. If steak or ribs is on the menu then he uses the charcoal grill. If he is just cooking up some burgers and dogs he uses the propane. We have an amusement park here that has individual bbq pits near the pavillions and picnic tables. I go there if the 4th falls on a weekday but when it falls on a weekend like this year I used to just do the immediate family at home cookout. I never traveled to other extended family homes like I do for Christmas or Easter.
2 people like this
@catdla1 (6005)
• United States
6 Jul 09
Haha! You're nicer than me. I would have said that I'd keep my charcoal grill and sweetly ask if he was keeping the dog or the propane grill. Seriously though, doing the quick stuff on the propane one makes sense in both time and money, and it was a good and fair compromise. It's also nice to have one in the winter if you lose power for a day or so.
1 person likes this
• United States
6 Jul 09
I was wondering the same thing about it becoming a 'visit the family' holiday! When I was a kid, it was solely a nuclear family affair. We might have lunch or a picnic with extended family in the same town, but that was it. On the fourth I went with my boyfriend to his grandmother's house (a 90 minute drive each way) and there were people there who hadn't even come to the Christmas gathering! But, I digress... I really don't like propane grills myself, as you said it's like cooking it on the stove. I also can usually detect a slightly odd chemical flavor on things cooked over propane, particularly chicken and fish. There's nothing that tastes better in my opinion than food properly grilled over coals. I think a big reason for the apparent popularity of propane is simply that many apartments and housing developments only allow propane grills. As we had it explained to us once (after being ordered to get rid of our 'dangerous' charcoal grill), charcoal is more of a fire hazard and as such only propane was allowed. I find the entire idea of this to be bull hockey. You know what happens when a propane tank explodes? A runaway hot coal is nothing compared to the destruction. I know that an exploding tank would be a rare occurance involving negligent use, but then so would any damage caused by a charcoal grill.
1 person likes this
• United States
6 Jul 09
I wonder if people would be allowed to have a turkey deep fryer in your development. Because it brings to mind the story of the idiot who didn't thaw the turkey before dropping it in the deep fryer, and the resulting fire and explosion that was caused. I could start a fire in my kitchen just as easily as I could with a grill or any type outside. My father on the other hand is a poster child for propane. He believes the fire in the grill needs to be 13 feet in the air for the coals to get hot. So that is why I bought him a propane grill for Fathers Day last year. How he never set his house on file (since he cooks out on the rear wooden deck) is a mystery to me.
1 person likes this
@p1kef1sh (45647)
6 Jul 09
Charcoal every time Cyn. For the very reasons that you state. If you are going to use propane you might as well stay inside and use the kitchen cooker. As for 4th of July (how refreshing to see someone write the date in English) then all that I can say is that we don't do that over here. In fact we don't make much of the 4th of July at all. Wonder why?!!!!!! LOL.
1 person likes this
• United States
6 Jul 09
I will ALWAYS prefer charcoal. Propane is just a mixture of grilling and stove-top cooking. Propane is a lot cheap than charcoal, in my area at least, so I use propane.
1 person likes this