I never thought that in the great state of Texas my preference to grilling with charcoal would be met with ridicule. But I guess it’s to be expected as the person handing out the shade was probably working for comission and was trying to push some more expensive grill.
This post stemmed from an interaction I had earlier today at a local Home Depot. As we just moved, and I left my grill, I was in need of a new one. I was debating on either grabbing the same Weber grill I had back in Tampa (that has served me exceptionally well mind you) or this small non-Weber brand oil barrel style grill / smoker.
When asked if I was in the market for a new grill, I let the dude know that I was and mentioned that I was leaning towards picking up one of the charcoal Weber models. The shit for brains immediately asked if I was leaning towards the charcoal grill because of the price.
I don’t claim to be a grill master, but I do know my way around the flame. I favor charcoal because I find it to be a more organic process. Sure it takes longer, but I feel a bit more connected to it. Gas to me is the equivalent of turning on the stove and I already have a gas stove.
I was a bit taken back by this because being in the Capital of Texas, I would have expected there to be more love towards charcoal than gas. Convenience wins all, I suppose.
More interesting is another person came up to me as I was trying to figure out the size of the cover I needed for my new grill (I went with the grill / smoker combo BTW). I guess he was the other sales guy, and he was curious as to why I preferred charcoal.
I let him know that I had been cooking exclusively on it for over 15 years (which I suspect was well more than half the kid’s age) and that I wasn’t interested in the convenience of gas as grilling for me was an event.
He said he understood that, and then tried to sway me on some electric, wood pellet burning nonsense contraption. Gotta be fucking kidding me.
I dismissed him fairly quick as he didn’t seem interested in helping me figure out which cover was going to go best with my new grill / smoker. Safe bet the kid was a rep for the company he was trying to schlep and not even a Home Depot employee (no orange aporn or anything)
That all being said, to answer the question of which is better, charcoal or gas, the answer is probably wood. I personally don’t use it enough, but either a combo of wood and charcoal or just hard wood is always an exceptional experience.
Mind you, I am describing this as an experience, and that’s what I feel that people that cook with gas are trying to avoid. They want to cook food outside but they want to be able to cook it in a timely fashion. Charcoal and wood are never that, they are a very primal medium and they time.
But the truth is, the only correct cooking fuel if the one that you prefer. And I’m certain that just that every pit master in America would completely disagree with that statement :)