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Roadfly Magazine
Issue 13
Table of Contents

Past Issues Index
Roadfly Magazine
Nissan Maxima
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Issue Thirteen
August 3, 2004
Hybrid Vehicles: Sales on the Rise
Summer BBQ Guide
The Dells Auto Museum
Hot Lap: Top of the Line
2004 Mazda6
2004 Nissan Maxima SE
Coming Next Issue
Chrysler 300C
iPod FM Tuners
Helmet Review

A Guide to Grills:
Charcoal or Gas?
By Steve Litscher

(Monday, June 28, 2004 9:30 AM EST)

Weber Genesis Silver

grill thermostat

grilling accessories

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Few things capture the essence of a beautiful afternoon better than the smell of a backyard barbecue. And whether your passion burns charcoal or gas, there's nothing more important than picking the right grill for the job. With spring well underway and summer just around the corner, Roadfly is proud to bring you this simple guide to grilling.

Now many of you might be thinking that a grill is a grill - but you'd be wrong for thinking so. Die-hard grilling enthusiasts will swear on their steaks that charcoal is the only way to properly grill. Practical backyard barbequers applaud gas grills for their convenience and ease of use. But which is best? Which one is right for you?

Charcoal grills have been around for ages, and as a result the design of a charcoal grill hasn't changed much. The typical charcoal grill resembles a clam-shelled orb, with a pit for charcoal and a lid. Charcoal grills are relatively inexpensive, and range in price from $22 to just over $100. Weber seems to have this segment of the market cornered - almost everyone at one time or another has owned a Weber charcoal grill.

Gas grills have been around for quite some time as well, but unlike charcoal grills, their design varies greatly based on the manufacturer. Once again, Weber is one of the most respected names in this category, but companies like Broilmaster, Coleman, Ducane, Jenn-Air, Sunbeam, and Viking all have a strong presence. There are two types of gas grills to consider - Liquid Petroleum (LP) and natural gas. Generally speaking, LP is preferred as it burns hotter than natural gas. The benefit of a natural gas grill is that it can be plumbed into an existing natural gas line, and thus does not require an auxiliary tank that requires refilling.

In addition to charcoal and gas, there are electric and "pellet" grills, but neither are very popular, so we won't include them in this article. And last but not least, there's the smoker category, but they aren't really grills at all, and are best saved for another story altogether.

Choosing between a charcoal or a gas grill boils down to convenience and placement. Charcoal grills tend to require a bit more effort, a little more skill and a wide, open, well-ventilated area for operation. A charcoal grill is not well suited to use in any covered or enclosed area.

A gas grill is often easier to use, more convenient (it can be used year round, even in inclimate conditions), and can be used (cautiously) under a covered deck or porch. Gas grills are easier to clean and don't leave ashes behind - a plus in our book. They tend to cost at least twice as much as a charcoal grill, so price can play an important role in the purchasing decision.

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