Deciding between charcoal and propane is probably the most important grilling decision of one’s summer and depending on who you ask, it is serious business. While charcoal may reign supreme for enhanced smoky flavors, convenience and ease belong to propane. Here are a few additional reasons why propane is worth considering a switch.
Shorter Grill Prep Time –
Propane grills are perfect for those nights when you get home late, everyone is hungry, and you want to make a quick but healthy meal. On average, propane grills need as little as 10 minutes to heat up. Charcoal can sometimes take up to over 30 minutes to reach full heat potential. Most propane grills light easily with a push of a button, whereas charcoal grills need the coals laid out, some newspaper placed near the coals and then lit with a lighter. Propane is clearly made for ease.
Even Heat Distribution –
There’s nothing worse than cutting into a chicken and seeing that it is still pink while burnt on the outside. This is a common occurrence with charcoal grills. Placement of your coals and food can make all the difference. When fat drippings reach the coals, it can cause the flames to flare-up leading to burned or charred food, and under-cooked meat on the inside.
With propane grills, multiple burners take the guesswork out of direct vs indirect heat and allow for even distribution across the entire grilling surface or for individual “heat zones” for truly customized grilling. Long story short, less chance of pink chicken.
Control the Flame –
Just like heat distribution, be the master of your grill and control the flame, aka the heat. Ideal for when you need to turn down the temperature rapidly or you want to kick it up a notch for a quick charbroiled finish.
The best thing about being able to fully control the heat? Consistent heat and cooking times for long grill sessions like ribs. You can grill nonstop for the life of the propane. Charcoal loses heat over time which means adding more charcoal to maintain the heat.
Grill for Less –
On average, a 20-lb. propane tank will run about $15 to fill and typically last 10 – 20 hours (depending on grill size & how open). For most people, this means $15 will get you through most of the summer before refilling your tank again for tailgating season. One bag of charcoal doesn’t last nearly as long as a full propane tank.
Smoke-less Fire –
Propane is what we call a “smoke-less” fire. The “smoke” you’re seeing is more of steam that is produced when fat drippings or juice hit the burners. Charcoal produces smoke (sometimes a lot of it) that can be a hazard to your lungs and can sting your eyes. What good are those grill marks if you can’t see them through the tears?
No after use byproduct –
Charcoal leaves behind spent coals that need cleaning up before each use, along with the ash that it produced. That can be a real mess to clean up. Propane has nothing to throw away after each use, just clean your grill with a grill brush and you are all set for the next grill session.
No Spontaneous Combustion –
Even after the flames have died and cooled, there may be a chance of coals gaining oxygen and reigniting if not properly discarded. These can be very dangerous if just tossed in the trash. You have to properly discard the coals in a metal canister with a tight-fitting lid before discarding. As long as you follow the proper guidelines for propane storage you will be good to go for your next BBQ.
There you have it. Just a few short reasons to make the switch to propane. If you can think of more reasons, share them with us in the comments below!