Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Grilling Gurus Debate Pros and Cons of Charcoal and Gas Barbecues

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Grilling Gurus Debate Pros and Cons of Charcoal and Gas Barbecues

Article excerpt

Grilling gurus debate pros and cons of charcoal, gas


TORONTO - Barbecue expert Ted Reader, who has more than 50 different types of grills, waxes eloquent when explaining his love for cooking with charcoal rather than gas.

"A gas grill gives you instantaneous heat. Charcoal gives you love," the chef says from his Toronto backyard.

"You get that natural smoke coming off the charcoal. You get the heat of the fire. You get incredible temperature for searing, yet you can have it lasting a long period of time and give you that low and slow (heat) for barbecue."

Charcoal barbecues are enjoying a resurgence with consumers who want to expand their barbecuing skills by playing with fire, says Naz Cavallaro, resident chef for the Canadian grill maker Broil King.

"Charcoal has gone crazy over the past four years. More and more people are getting into the charcoal way of doing things," Cavallaro says.

But both experts say there are reasons to choose a gas grill and pros and cons for each type of cooking fuel.

A consistent temperature is easier to maintain with gas, either natural or propane, and many homeowners opt to install a natural gas line so it's "always there," says Cavallaro.

"You don't have to worry about going and filling tanks, putting tanks in your car, putting yourself in an unsafe environment," he says.

With propane, a tank can run out during grilling. And it's not as efficient in winter because the gas doesn't burn off properly when it's too cold, Cavallaro adds.

On the other hand, a three-metre hose for a natural gas hookup prohibits much relocation, whereas a propane-fuelled barbecue can be moved around the yard.

When transporting a propane tank never lie it on its side or put it in the back seat of a vehicle. Cavallaro finds standing a tank in a plastic milk carton works well to keep it in place.

When installing a refilled propane tank he advises doing a simple leak test. Using a clean paint or basting brush, apply a mixture of half soap and water on the hose and tank connections. …

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