The Biggest Myth: Charcoal Grills Make Food Taste Better Than Gas Grills
You’ve all heard the stories that charcoal grills make food taste better than gas grills. They are just stories. They were probably started by charcoal briquette manufacturers who were threatened by a rapidly growing gas grill industry.
It is true that if you slow cook meat in a charcoal grill with the lid closed and add wood chips as a smoke source, you can get great tasting food from a charcoal grill. But, this slow cooking process takes hours. High temperature grilling on a charcoal grill will not flavorize food any more than a gas grill because the cooking time is too short and the smoke is not retailed in a closed lid.
Like most things, grills do have to be operated properly and most any charcoal or gas grill can make food taste good, or taste bad.
So how do you make food taste bad on a gas grill.
1. Not properly preheating the grill: The problem with gas grills is that they are so convenient that some people assume that all you do is turn on the grill and throw on the food. This will guarantee that the food will not taste good on a gas grill and will probably be tough. Meat will be initially undercooked, be on the grill way to long and become grey. Many times meat is then burned because people then become desperate and finally turn the grill on high. All gas grills need to be preheated on high for a few minutes, then turned down to the desired cooking temperature.
2. Not properly maintaining the grill: Many people also assume that gas grills are just like indoor gas ranges. All you need to do is to clean the grids and they run forever. Sadly this is not true. Gas grills require regular cleaning of the interior components, particularly the flavorizer plates located over the burners. These plates protect the burner from debris build up and provide smoke flavorizing. If debris is allowed to accumulate, the grill will not heat properly and no flavorizing smoke will be generated. The grease trap system must also be cleaned regularly, or a very large grease fire will occur.
3. Not using the proper grilling temperature: Gas grills all operate differently and many are dramatically affected outside temperatures. Grill operators need to learn how their grill operates so they properly carmelize and flavorize their food without undercooking it or overcooking it. This simply takes practice.
4. Grease fires: Grease fires come from not keeping the grease trap system clean. Grillers need to consult their owner’s manual on ho to completely clean their grease trap systems because every grill is different. Grease fires also come from putting too much greasy food on a hot grill. Eventually the grease drippings get to their auto ignition temperature and the sooty red flames give the food a very bitter flavor. The solution is to keep the grill turned down to a temperature below the ignition temperature of grease.