Gas vs charcoal barbecues

As soon as the weather warms up, all you can smell in our little village are the wafts of char-grilled meats and the scents of fired up coals. It’s one of the greatest pleasures of the seasons, when you know that families and friends are gathered around, in the garden and enjoying a kind of primeval feast. But which is best, a gas barbecue or a coal one? For me, it’s a no brainer, coal wins hands down, I mean, you may as well just cook everything inside under the grill if you are going for a gas burner. But there are some people that swear by a gas barbecue, and once they has gone over to the natural flame, never go back.

It depends of what you want from your barbecue as to whether gas or coal is best for you, so we have listed the best and worst qualities, so that you can make up your minds.

ASDA The Big American Barrel Grill

ASDA The Big American Barrel Grill – £99

Coal barbecues

Ah the scent of the burning coals, the smouldering rocks and the sizzling meats, to me that is a proper barbecue right there. And there is no doubt, that if you want the authentic taste of the chargrill that the coals give off, then you can only get that with a coal barbecue.

Cooking food over the white hot coals is also the traditional way of barbecuing, and many barbecue recipes take this into consideration. So if you are after that gorgeous smoky barbecue flavour that you can only get from cooking over the coals, as the smoke and the sizzling fat infuses into the meat, then choose the coal barbecue.

Another plus point is that charcoal barbecues are typically much cheaper to buy than gas alternatives. They are easier to assemble and lighter to move around the patio. They also tend to take up less space in the shed or garage as they do not require big gas tanks.

Minus points are that they can take ages to get to the correct temperature so you do have to be a little organised, otherwise your guests can be waiting for hours, and they can be tricky to light. They are also tricky to clean afterwards.

Gas Barbecues

Grill Chef by Landmann Wagon 2 Burner Gas BBQ with Side Burner

Grill Chef by Landmann Wagon 2 Burner Gas BBQ with Side Burner – £119

If you have a large family who want instant food cooked to perfection with no mistakes or hanging about, then a gas barbecue is your best bet. They are quick and easy to heat and cook on, and they are much more convenient to use as they are easy to fire up for spontaneous meals when you haven’t planned anything for dinner.

You don’t have to wait for the coals to warm up, and the heat is adjustable so you can not only cook straight away, but you can control the heat so that certain meats are cooked thoroughly.

However, you won’t get that distinctive barbecue taste, and gas barbecues are much more expensive to use that charcoal ones, as you have to keep buying the gas canister to fuel it. They are also heavier to move and awkward to store in the shed.

To sum up, if you want convenience and are not worried about the expense or the flavour, opt for a gas barbecue, if you prefer the authentic smoky flavour and are happy to have a little hanging around time for the coals to heat up, then a charcoal barbecue is best for you.


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