There are lots of different ways to classify barbeque grills, but the most common classification is fuel. They can be powered by charcoal, wood, gas, or electricity. Gas grills sometimes have an ignition button that is powered by electricity, as well as a pilot light. There are pros and cons for each grill type. Some are functional differences, while others are based on how the meat or vegetables taste. Let’s explore some of these differences.
Gas-powered grills can either run on natural gas or liquid petroleum gas. When you buy your grill, you should consider the type of gas that is most common in your area. Whichever option you select, gas is always readily available. It may experience fluctuations in price, but gas never fully disappears from the market.
Wood is a little more scarce. While you could gather twigs from your neighbourhood, you can’t be assured that they are the right type or quality. Ideally, you need to identify a reliable hardwood supplier that uses sustainable resources. Carelessly harvested wood can decimate forests, so if you’re environmentally conscious, gas is a better option.
There are different kinds of wood burning grills. Some use specially designed wood pellets, while others use untreated logs. Wood pellets have to be purchased from specific shops, while raw logs can be found at any timber yard if you know how to select the right kind.
Wood-burning grills tend to be analogue. They don’t have fancy features and add-ons. To control the heat, you add more logs, take some out, open the grill door, or shut it. If your grill has a hood, you can raise or lower it as needed. Wood pellet grills may have additional features such as electronic ignition or hinged openings.
Conversely, gas grills have an external fuel source. The gas gets into the heater through a narrow gas hose, so the body of the grill has more physical room for extra gadgets. That’s why many gas grills have additional burners, storage space, inside lights, and inbuilt thermometers. This makes it easier to monitor your cuts of meat and control temperature.
Generally speaking, gas grills are more portable than wood grills. Gas units use gas bottles which can be small and disposable or bulky but movable. That’s why gas grills often have wheels on them. There are certain gas grills that are inbuilt, especially in customised kitchens but most are mobile. Wood grills need a chimney or flue and are often stationary.
Cooking With Smoke
Smoked meat has a distinct colour and flavour that is extremely pleasing to the palate. It’s done slowly and at low temperatures. Different types of fruitwood infuse your meat with a variety of flavours. Smoking is used for tough cuts, or for meat that has been out all day and isn’t necessarily the freshest. You can still give it a delectable taste with a little smoke.
Gas grills can’t smoke meat, and while wood burners may not be ideal, they can be used to smoke meat. Select a wood burner that has a tall body and places the meat near the top, allowing the wood to cool to embers before you start cooking. This can be cumbersome because you have to maintain the exact temperature, but it’s impossible with a gas grill.
The best way to smoke meat is to use a grill that is specially made for that purpose, such as the Weber Smokey Mountain Series. These grills are closer to wood burners than they are to gas grills because they are powered by charcoal briquettes. They also have long cylindrical bodies that allow effective movement of swirling smoke.
In terms of ease, gas grills are the best option. Electric grills take a few minutes for the filaments to heat up and the heat to spread throughout the oven. Gas grills warm up instantly and cool down just as fast. They often have temperature gauges so you can point the dial to instantly make the oven as hot or cool as you need it.
Wood burners are different, because it takes a while to build up a fire, and once the flames are roaring, it takes careful wrangling to get the exact temperature that you require. It’s especially challenging to achieve low temperatures because you have to keep the embers glowing without letting them die out.
Overall, wood-powered grills might give your food more colour and flavour, but gas grills give you easy, stress-free, consistent results. And while wood-burning grills are rustic, nostalgic, and maybe even romantic, they need a lot of work to light and clean up.