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Charcoal versus propane

by Jack Taylor

Hank Hill sells propane and propane accessories.  While I adore "The King of the Hill," that's where I draw the line.

Yes, charcoal and propane both have advantages and disadvantages in the world of outdoor cooking.  But the flavor from charcoal, either briquette or wood chunks and chips, is tough to match with propane.

You can add smoke enhancers to propane rocks but it's just not the same.

When you put a ten pound prime rib on a rotisserie surrounded by charcoal and hickory chips for hours, depending on how rare or well you want it, the flavor is out of this world.  When fat rolls off the prime rib and hits charcoal, well, that's where the flavor is made.

I own two charcoal grills and a smoker but no gas grill.  I am shut out of deep winter grilling.  That advantage goes to gas.  I'm not sure how much barbecuing can be done in the winter on a gas grill.  I've tried gas grills and I just can't barbecue poultry on them summer or winter.

Gas is faster.  Charcoal takes time and that appeals to me as well because it's more of a production.  Pouring charcoal over the heating element, don't use lighter fluid, and the initial whiffs of smoke.  I have a pair of red, elbow length gloves to handle the grate and cooking utensils.  And while it does take more time, it means relaxing longer with friends and a cocktail.