The War of the Grills

The choice between charcoal and gas grilling is the subject of an almost endless succession of arguments, most of which begin reasonably, at low volume.  Like most religious discussions, most of them grow in fervor and intensity, until voices are strained and others in the area slink carefully away to safety.

There isn’t much middle ground in this battle, and I won’t pretend that I could convert you here.  Each method has its own benefits, and if I had the means I’d honestly go with both.  The scent of burning charcoal mesmerizes me, and the sight of a charcoal haze in the air takes me back to the ballgames and town picnics of my youth.  Once upon a time I was a diehard aficionado of those burning coals, and gas grilling was a lesser art, one to be talked about with a wry smile and just a hint of condescension in one’s voice.

It’s probably obvious from the last paragraph, but I’m now the proud owner of a sleek, black 30,000 btu gas grill, with a tool holder rack and optional side burner for warming sauces.  (Disclaimer: That burner is cool, but it really never gets used.  Still…)  I still love the taste and texture of honest, charcoal-grilled meat, but I’ve also come to appreciate the immediacy and flexibility that comes installed with a gas grill.  Living, as I do, in the upper Midwest, I’ve grown to enjoy my ability to grill food any time of the year, even on those days when I must shovel my way to the grill.  Could I do the same with charcoal?  Absolutely.  But would I make that effort?  Perhaps, but probably not as often.  If I lived in the south the choice might be different, with different determining factors.  I’ve chosen gas, simply because I’m sure I’ll be out there regardless of the season, making and enjoying that sensational grilled food.


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