All aspects of barbecuing are subject to debate, even down to which region of the country has the best flavor. Arguments of grills, grill types, grill accessories, cooking methods, cooking times, cuts of meats, types of marinades, sauces and more.
The one thing everyone can agree on is their love for great tasting grilled food. However, one does not have to be a purist to get delicious grilled food, for all it really takes is a good grill and a willingness to try and get it right.
Right, being whatever you want it to be. In recent years, the debate over which fuel is better has reached the ears of the manufacturers, and their response is the charcoal/gas combo.
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It All Burns
Combination grills really are the best of both worlds, as you have the option as to which fuel to use or both if desired. Part of the problem with debating the fuels is that some styles and flavors come out better on charcoal and some on gas and often there is a lot of variation in between. A combination grill allows you experience with both to find the right mixture to make what you like to eat.
Additionally, combination grills offer speed and versatility by allowing you to slow cook on one side and direct cook on the other. You can prepare burgers on the gas side while smoking a brisket on the other. You can smoke meat on the charcoal side and finish it off on the gas side. Or you can use one side and not the other, thereby giving yourself more options.
One of the more escoteric aspects to a combination grill is that you can use what fuel you have on hand. There is nothing more painful than running out of gas half way through.
Well instead of running to the store to grab more propane, you can fire up the charcoal side to finish cooking. The same with the charcoal side.
Say you want to grill on the spur of a moment but don’t have any charcoal. Since propane typically lasts longer and stores better there is a good chance you have propane to grill with.
Also, in this same spur of the moment you don’t want to wait long for food. In this case, using the gas side will give you the option of cooking faster.
Not All A Bed Of Marvelous Smoked Or Grilled Meats
It would be easy to dismiss any downsides to a combination grill because, for the most part, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. However, to say there are none would be incorrect. To begin with, combination grills take up more space than a single grill.
While this might not seem like a major disadvantage, consider that you have to clean the grill before using and after using and it is a lot more space to cover. Even if you limit it to one side, you might still have to clean the other side as well depending on the design, as food particles can occasionally pass chambers. Of course, there is more to it than cleaning, as the size also makes it more difficult to move around.
While not specifically related to combination grills, there could be an issue with using charcoal altogether. Charcoal can contain chemical fillers and binders that do not fully undergo combustion and thus can deposit on the food.
The smoked flavor of charcoal grilled meats is due to this inefficient combustion and any chemicals could also suffer the same fate, thus becoming part of your meal. In this case, the best option is to avoid briquettes and other manufactured charcoal and use all natural lump varieties.
But Wait, There Is More
There is one advantage to charcoal grilling that is becoming more popular. Many modern charcoal grills are adding specialized heat tents to produce infrared heating. Some combination grills offer this as an added bonus, thus adding a third or fourth option to your cooking methodology.
Overall, the advantages of using a combination grill are significantly greater than the disadvantages and this is one of the leading reasons why combo grilling is gaining in popularity. By using a combination grill, you have the opportunity to enjoy the best of both worlds and use whatever cooking method you choose to create delicious tasting meals.
There are numerous models and types to choose from on the market and one for almost every budget. Therefore, anyone can have the option of either gas or charcoal for their outdoor barbecue.