We chucked the gas grill for a charcoal grill. We just didn't get that "grilled" flavor from gas. But then again, I also chucked the gas logs in our home fireplace and started using real logs because I didn't think the gas put out any heat. I will say, using gas both inside and out is much easier, faster, and cleaner, but just doesn't do it for me...
I chose "gas grill" although our firepits are where I do the bulk of our cooking in the summer. We have three campfire areas on the property and depending on the occasion, we pick the one suitable.
We do wilderness camping and then of course all our food is cooked over campfire. It makes food preparation feel so real and thoughtful (as it takes more time and consideration) as food prep and eating should be...back to the roots so to speak. love and peace...lynnann
We have both a gas grill and a Weber charcoal grill. Depends on what we are cooking as to which one we will use. Gas grills are nice and fast but you just can't get that "grilled" flavor like Barbwk is talking about. We mostly use the Weber. We also have a wood burning fireplace indoors and in the winter we cook steaks over the hot burning wood... yum... best tasting steaks around!
Voted the works as we have a covered patio (complete with ceiling fan, lights and stereo system) under which I installed a used combination stove/oven/refrigerator several years ago in addition to the requisite gas grill and charcoal smoker/grill. We also have a patio firepit on wheels and a regular firepit just up the hill from the patio. It gets used a LOT all year long. We have cookouts for the friends and neighbors multiple times during the warmer months, plus I grill/smoke year round under the covered patio.
I have a gas grill with piled high with very well seasoned lava rock... that is the key to making a gas grill taste like charcoal. When I get a new one.. my old lava rock goes into the new one.. they say not to cover the gas openings but nothing says you can't stack it around.. I always put the grill on high when I finish and close it to burn off the drippings on the rock.. sort of like "cleaning the oven" it leaves a charcoal like finish on the rock.
I love food cooked on our gas grill and my DH does a great job of it. We cook out year 'round here as our climate is perfect for it. The few weeks of late summer that the temps may get hot, it is only hot in the middle of the day. It is mostly between 70-85 in the early morning when I putter in the yard and late afternoon when we throw some steaks or chicken on the grill. Our low humidity makes those temps perfect! Yum, this thread is making me hungry!
We use a gas grill because it is ready quickly. During the summer 90% of our meals will be totally cooked on the grill. We work outside until the daylight ends which means that we are usually eating our dinner while watching the 10 o'clock evening news. I love the summer but we will work ourselves to death, sun-up to sun-down. It is just quick and easy and doesn't heat the house up. I will usually go out to the garden with a flashlight to get some veggies to grill with some steak or burger. My FAVORITE summer meal is a hamburger steak with fresh sliced tomato on top with some Country Bobs and cottage cheese on the side. (I could eat it every night!) Simple. Easy. Wholesome.
We have a gas grill, a charcoal Webber and an electric smoker. The Webber is the grill of choice. (we've worn out 3)
We are planning on removing our old and shabby deck in the next couple of years and pouring a patio to be covered with either a roof or a pergola (maybe some of both) I'm planning on a firepit/fireplace feature to be incorporated as a permanent structure when we do this.
I like Doug's idea of ceiling fans...must write that down somewhere...
We've got a gas grill but I'll toss on some wood chips if I really want some flavor. Once in a while, I'll do it right and soak the chips and let them smoke away in a container.
We used to grill on the back porch but it always was smokey there and the smoke rose to the ceiling making a bigger stink. So we grill on the driveway by the garage. Easier, cleaner and less stinky. Plus, closer to the kitchen. :)
My husband makes the BEST rotisseried BBQ chicken & turkeys on his Weber gas grill. He cooks other stuff, too, but those are his specialties.
He also has a "Big Green Egg" that his dad brought over from Okinawa in about 1970, and DH has learned to cook with charcoal on it. It's a lot more complicated than firing up the propane model, and I think if that was all we had he just wouldn't bother.
We have a electric smoker Brinkman. It's to die for. Anything goes. It converts to a electric grill and we add a few charcoal bricks for flavor. They smolder while the electric grid does the cooking. You can put a whole turkey on it and leave it there for 12 or so hours after marinating and it will melt in your mouth!!!! Or just grill some dogs/hamburgers. Try it you'll wonder what you did w/o one...
We had a little hibachi when we first got married, many a meal was cooked on it out on the fire escape from our apartment. Our first house had a built in gas grill, now I like the gas grill on a cart better.
I picked charcoal grill but actually we have a charcoal grill and a wood grill. However, we never use the gas grill so a Finch family made a home in it 3 years ago.
We've worn out 3 or 4 charcoal grills over the years. Funny, my parents have a big grill but they've only used it 2 or 3 times in 10 years. LOL
Love to cook with soaked wood chips or grape vines too. We've cooked on the grill in the middle of winter and summer. Probably would use the grills even more, but in Oklahoma we have crazy weather ranging from flooding downpours, tornadic winds and then periods of 100 degree weather with no rain but lots of wind about every year.
I love the outside cooking 'cause my DH does all the work then. :-)
But I am eyeing a beautiful cobalt blue (!!!) charcoal grill that has a gas start :). It's got a rolling table it's on with plenty of room (always a problem with your typical bubble style charcoal grill--what are those called lol?) and a covered bin to store the extra charcoal. Sweet! Eyeing it but it's 300 bucks so I've not bought it.
I voted that we cook indoors & that's been since my daughter purchased a George Foreman Grill that I use on my countertop for everything from chicken breasts to pork chops. Actually, we do have a portable gas grill that we use for camping trips and a charcoal grill that we use for roasting hot dogs & marshmallows on cool Autumn nights.
I have a small portable charcoal grill/hibachi that I almost never use. Roasting baby peppers and tomatoes while their parents watch seems cruel somehow. However, I do have plenty of state parks with grills in my vicinity, and eat there often.
I also have all the parts needed to build a solar oven. I could probably finish it in a weekend if only I could finish this weeding!!! Arrrghhhh!!!
We have wilderness camped for many years and i will only use a homemade campfire with an iron grill over it. There is simply no description for the feeling of watching a campfire than cooking over the coals and rebuilding the fire afterwards. We have Hickory trees and i use water soaked limbs to smoke meats with.
I have never gotten the flavor from a gas grill that I get from a charcoal grill. I just need a bigger on with a little more stable countertop on each side and maybe some storage underneath. My favorite food to grill are rainbow trout. You can get people to eat fish cooked on a grill wlhen they will not eat fish otherwise.
I cook on the Grill Dome on the back porch. It keeps the house cooler and I love the flavor of real charcoal instead of briquets. I cook on it all year long but my favorites are a brined turkey for Thanksgiving and fish or chicken in the summer with salt bath soaked corn grilled in the husks- MMM so good! It takes a little prep to set up but it's worth it. By the time the coals are at the right temp, I've got the food prepped.
We have a nice gas grill, and a gas smoker, and firepit. Love them all (okay, also have a charcoal grill but I never use it). I especially love smoking meats, and our smoker doubles as a grill, so that is what goes with us when we travel in the RV. We also now have an old washing machine tub for a traveling firepit. I learned to smoke meats last year and LOVE it... yes, it takes time but you can taste the love put into it! We also have an electric jenn-aire grill in the house which is great for winter grilling. DH does the steaks, I do everything else.
My BIL has a gas grill. Believe it or not, in the last years of his life, my Argentine FIL switched from a charcoal grill to a gas grill (my BIL's influence?)
I have a 14-year-old Weber charcoal grill that looks to last another 14 years. My next door neighbours just replaced their 4-year-old charcoal grill because it was rusting out. Quality shows!
Gas grills just don't do it. I mean, they work, but "barbecuing" foods on a gas grill is not really any different than putting them under the "broiler" feature of your oven. Gas grills are also hideously "anti-environmental". (Of course, the same proviso might apply to charcoal grills if everyone used them, but it is very interesting that here in France, most of the charcoal I buy is made from "offcuts" and scraps from sawmills [no, we do not have briquets as I grew up with in the US; only "real charcoal"])
After finally coughing up the dough for a Weber grill, I wouldn't use anything else.
I do have an electric grill but don't use it now that we have the gas grill. We like the flavor of cooking over the gas. I really hate taste of charcoal or wood smoked items. I have allergies so that may account for it. I get headaches from peoples fireplaces too.
My DH has a little Weber-like charcoal grill that he bought at a yard sale cheap and he LOVES it. Burgers and steak are his specialty and , really, I don't care which kind it is. I just love when he does the cookin'.
I'm not real clear on the environmental effects of gas vs charoal grills.
Like "cactuspatch", I have a lot of allergies, but I do try not to let this personal defect affect my general relations with the world. On the other hand, among my many allergies (which include allergies to my beloved cats!!), I have been fortunately spared an allergy to woodsmoke (at least, if it is outdoors or well-vented)
All in all, I do think that the American penchant (made most clear by this DG survey that, presumably. surveys people with concerns for their gardens) for gas grills (53% 0f respondents vs 28% who use charcoal) is worth discussing
What "grill" is more environmentally friendly?
Which is "more healthy"?
Should we, as citizens of an increasingly urbanized culture, "barbecue" at all? (E.g. when my Neighbour legally burns leaves, I must close all my windows and doors and stay inside)
What "grill" is more environmentally friendly?
Which is "more healthy"?
Should we, as citizens of an increasingly urbanized culture, "barbecue" at all?
Well, the short answer for proponents of AGW is 'no'. In addition to the issues involved with the various fuels, demand for meat is touted as a severe environmental impact.
For AGW skeptics, it probably is just a matter of choice.
I've read that 'grilling' DOES place a lot of carcinigens on the food. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are produced from burning fat. They do seem to taste good, and who knows at what concentration they become hazardous, but true BBQ avoids that issue. Still, there is real risk of fire as well.
And then of course you have to consider alternatives. If you couldn't grill yourself are you gonna get in your vehicle and drive to a restaurant now? That has an environmental footprint of it's own.
I suppose using a solar oven to cook a vegetarian diet is best!
We have a weber gas grill. We really like it. The cover shrunk on us thought - so not worth the money for the cover. We also have a smoker. We don't use it as often but the flavor of smoked food is wonderful.
We've got a Weber kettle grill with a gas quick start that is mounted in the rollaround countertop... convenience with old school flavor (or, uh, carcinogens...). We also have a firepit for those true "cookout" nights.
We have a weber charcoal, hibachi, and use the
crockpot outside. The Cp really helps keep heat
outside where it belongs. I go to the Mexican
grocery and but lena (pronounced lehnya)
which is REAL charcoal, not briquets. They also sell marinated gajitas which makes them come out soft as butter.
For that absolutely smoky wonderful flavor, try real mesquite wood, still green. Not yetcired mesqute. It smokes
up a storm but works wonderful for smoking and grilling meats all at once. and veggies too!
Eau de BBQ smoke is the most sexy flavor a man can wear!
(but NOT cigarette smoke)
before my knee replacement surgery we went to sams club and they had what they call "an event grill" it can cook 85 hamburgers at one time. it is huge and it sells for only 400.00 dollars.
i have a pretty big grill but nothing fancy. it has four burners and i really like the way it cooksthe food.
today i was looking a the home and garden channel and a woman was having built an outdoor kitchen complete with a grill, fridge, fireplace and a giant arbor that was suported by 4 huge pillows. thetre was two different sitting areas. one in the covered area in front of the fireplace and one in the sun. it was beautiful and the price for everything was thirty thousand.
They have several models. I really need a smaller one now with the kids gone but - we scaled back to Q-ing only 2-3 times a year and still end up giving food the the 2 kids that live local and relatives and neighbors (I'm sensitive that my neighbors may hear some noise at night and smell a LOT of smoke when I cook!)
They are probably not ideal for baking though, but as an occasional experiment they work.
AS for lump charcoal - I've found it at the W-M at Randol Mill/Collins, eastchase and the new one at I20 Little Road. If they don't have it, I THINK I've seen Royal Oak there. I Know I've seen Tom Thumb carry, IIRC, Cowboy lump charcoal but I think it is inferior. Still, if the charcoal you are getting now is a good value, no reason to panic.
Jackson's in Dallas I'm sure will have a lot. The BBQs Galore we had near the mall is closed but maybe there's still a store near you somewhere? They carry a lot. Also, Ben E. Keith has some in there catalog if you know someone that gets food delivery from them they could order it.
Also, Foreman's in Colleyville has good lump and accessories.
The best I ever used was probably Maple leaf. I mailordered some ($$$) for fun. AWESOME smell!
One of the best charcoal grills I ever had food cooked on belonged to a high school friend. He and some buddies used to make them out of big metal drums. They were butt ugly and enormous but back then just out of high school every cookout turned into a huge party so a big grill was a plus:lol:
I love charcoal grilled food but I have a weird phobia about actually starting a fire in a grill:lol: I haven't been able to successfully get the darn thing started. Guess I'll have to give it another shot--I'll pull up the Good Eats/Alton Brown instructions on how to start the darn thing:LOL:
dmac - I can see how some folks would be apprehensive. And there's no reason NOT to be cautious with fire. You may feel more comfortable with a long fire glove and maybe wear some safety goggles/face shield and an apron. Lighting lump charcoal can also mean a lot of sparks. My cookers are all on a wood deck so I hose everything down in the area before a cook.(sometimes later if I'm q-ing overnight) to help prevent fires. I also have each unit over one of those 'mats' they sell that are supposedly fire resisteant. I have NEVER had even smoldering or the hint of a fire outside the grill or firebox.
I use a charcoal chimney.(for the grill - for the BBQ pit I use one of those propane weedburners, I use it to clean/sterilize my shelves too)
haven't used 'starter fluid' in years.
I wonder if a seperate thread for outdoor cooking 'tips' would be well received?
I love my Grilldome. I can grill steaks, roast turkey for Thanksgiving, slow cook pork butt, and do the bread and vegetables as well. The service and communication from the owner are great. There's also a DG type forum of owner/devotees that provide a wealth of information and assistance to those interested in the Dome. The website has the scientific explanation http://grilldome.com/HowCeramicCookersWork.html of why it is so good. You can look at the cookers here http://grilldome.com/ and browse the forum here http://grilldome.com/community/
I love mine and love the taste & juiciness of the food. FYI- I have no financial interest in the product. Just passion about the results!
Thanks Carl:) I will most likely give it another try. I didn't realize there was an outdoor cooking forum so I'll add that to my watch list--pretty sure there must be some awesome recipes there as well. I would definitely be trying out the chimmney thing--sorta makes it appear much simpler and I'm all for no starter fluid:lol: Thanks for the reassurance!!