Propane or Charcoal? A Buyer’s Guide to Backyard Grilling This Summer

by Ben SanfordJuly 25, 2016

Preparing for BBQ Season: What You Need to Know

Summer is in full swing and the days are warming up exponentially, so you may be questioning the sanity of adding to the heat in your home by continuing to cook indoors during the dog days. Or, maybe you just love barbecuing so much that it’s time to consider an upgrade or makeover to your backyard grilling and prep areas.

Whatever the reason, seize the day and convert your kettle and TV tray arrangement into an outdoor kitchen worthy of the fine meats and vegetables that you’ll be slapping onto the grill.
guide to backyard grilling barbecue bbq summer
There are those who swear by gas grills, and those who swear by good old-fashioned charcoal. You might even consider adding a smoker to the grilling equipment that you already have.

Either way, consider this post a one-stop resource for all things outdoor cooking, including a discussion on where and how to build a full-on outdoor kitchen. We’ll be talking about contemporary gas grills, charcoal barbecues, and the components of a fantastic outdoor prep and cooking area. Read on for our buyer’s guide to summertime grilling.

Gas Grills

Gas is clean; it is reliable and easier to maintain even temperatures with. It’s convenient, producing a flame that’s at workable grilling temperatures within seconds. But gas grills are generally more expensive than charcoal grills.

Cooking with a gas flame also presents a few challenges to the savvy outdoor cooking specialist. Namely: how do you get real barbecue taste when the fuel you’re using is so clean that it barely smokes, if at all? There are ways to work around this, of course. Try using a hotter fire that vaporizes drippings and caramelizes them back onto what’s being grilled.

Check out all of the gas grill options at Home Depot now.

Charcoal Grills

Cooking with charcoal requires patience, because the fuel requires a basic understanding of combustion and how working a fire correctly can produce excellent results. On the plus side, charcoal grills are cheaper, though cooking with charcoal is also more dangerous (in terms of fire safety) than cooking with gas.

If you don’t have the time or the patience to cook with coals, then you may be better off putting up the extra money to cook with propane. The ideal of low and slow for grilling meats is easier to achieve with a charcoal grill, as the smoke from the charcoal will flavor the food, even at lower temperatures — but it does require an even hand. For even better results, consider a smoker, or an indirect wood or charcoal barbecue.

Check out all of the charcoal grill options at Home Depot now.
guide to backyard grilling barbecue bbq summer

Creating a Backyard Grilling Area, Patio, or Outdoor Kitchen

But one’s choices and responsibilities need not stop at the selection of whichever cooking method one selects. An ideal outdoor kitchen will add value to your home and provide you plenty of food preparation areas, a smoker, and a grill.

Why not have the best of both worlds and put in an outdoor dining area and kitchen, complete with a beer or wine cooler, and a plumbed prep sink? Good luck with your outdoor kitchen project this summer!


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About The Author
Ben Sanford
Ben, a real estate agent and freelance writer, lives on the East Coast with his wife and kids. In his free time, he loves to be outside with his family or working on projects around his house. He deeply appreciates a good cup of coffee and loves strapping into his snowboard after the first snow of the year.

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