Summer barbecues are probably the highlight of our all too short summer season. I love barbecues at anytime of year we've even had BBQ cookouts for Christmas dinner.
I take grills on fishing trips, picnics and to the beach, as soon as it gets warm I'll cook outside on the grill every day if I can.
Of course summer barbecues are the best, I fire up the grill in the late evening and we'll still be sitting outside snacking, sipping wine and downing beers at midnight.
An old style gas BBQ with an open grate
Recently I've made the changeover from charcoal to gas grills, you’d think that as a long time garden chef I would opt for charcoal with its authentic taste and that mouth-watering, traditional barbecue aroma.
Maybe years ago when gas BBQs were just gas hobs on wheels, but today's ones are so much more and you now get the best of both worlds.
Proper searing without burning or drying out your food so you bite through a crispy flavorsome crust into succulent juicy mouthfuls of meat.
And you still get that hunger inducing aroma.
For those of you who are health conscious, and who isn't nowadays, charcoal-grilled meats contain more carcinogens, called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), than meat heated with propane.
When fat drips from meat, the fat burns and creates PAH-infused smoke, which coats what you're cooking. Charcoal flames are also hotter, which chars meat and creates heterocyclic amines (HCAs), another carcinogen.
And the smoke from charcoal is full of particulates which irritate the air pathways and lungs.
Tip: Trim as much fat as you can off meat before grilling, the less fat the less PAHs. If you pre-soak meat in lemon juice or vinegar it reduces HCAs by 90%.
No more Flare ups caused by dripping fat
Gas is much cleaner: I was tired of getting covered in charcoal dust every time I stoke up the BBQ, fed up with the lungfuls of smoke as I fire it up and the singed hair and eyebrows from flare ups, burnt fingers from raking coals to even out temperatures and the stench of burnt meat when a stray piece slips through the grill.
Gas BBQs are clean, ready to go pretty much instantly, with precision heat control so you don’t burn and dry out the food.
Despite those advantages I was always convinced that a proper BBQ had to have:
- That distinctive smokey flavor which you just couldn't get with a gas BBQ
- Because of the higher temperature of charcoal it sears meat properly causing the chemical reactions that create rich, complex, sweet and savory compounds on the surface, it also dries the surface giving you that crunchy skin and a better flavor. Searing doesn't matter with burgers and sausages, but it is everything with steaks and chops.
I was wrong on both counts:
- Yes the flavors are different, you get a deeper fireplace scent & taste with charcoal, gas gives you a juicer more intense flavor. Both are equally scrumptious, but a gas grilled steak is healthier!
- For proper searing you want a dark even sear from edge to edge with no grill marks, which you get on Charcoal, which is why about 90% of the worlds top steak houses grill with gas.
The perfect Barbecued steak, crispy caramelized coating on the outside, pink and moist on the inside
80% of backyard chefs grill at too high a temperature
I'm going to go a little deeper with point B because it directly affects the make of Barbecues that The Home Heating Shop is recommending.
A charcoal grill can heat up to about 900°F which will sear meat nicely, unfortunately most backyard grill chefs have no idea how to control heat on the grill and with most cheaper grills it's very difficult.
The meat gets cooked at that same high searing temperature so when you bite through the crispy crust instead of sinking your teeth into juicy tenderness more often your biting into cardboard like dry meat or if its just been seared and taken off the meat inside is still raw.
The temperature on gas grills is easy to control, restaurant gas grills use temperatures between 800°F and 1200°F to sear the meat then turn it down to slowly cook the inside, that's how you get a tasty crisp outer crust covering succulent juicy meat.
For you, me and the rest of us backyard grill chefs a normal domestic Gas barbecue reaches about 500°F, hot enough to cook on, but not enough to give that perfect sear, some barbecues grills have separate searing burners or plates, you sear the meat then put it on the main grill to finish cooking. There is one grill range, which due to the innovative technology used in the grilling plates, lets you sear and cook the perfect steak, time after time.
This is why I recommend you treat yourself to one of the Char-Broil® range for your summer barbecues.
Char-Broil® are the American company that invented the modern Barbecue grill back in 1948 and by 1984 was making the worlds best charcoal grill the CB940.
Today Char-Broil® have turned to making truly revolutionary gas barbecues which can compete with charcoal for authentic flavor without the dangers of over cooking, drying out and flame ups caused by fatty run offs catching fire.
They have done this by inventing TRU-Infrared™ cooking technology:
Here is a Char-Broil® engineer explaining how it works
TRU-Infrared™ grills are located above the heat source, using stainless steel emitter plates that retain the natural infrared heat of the flames and radiates that heat back to the food for astoundingly delicious results.
This cooking technology creates a barrier between the food and the flames, preventing nasty flare-ups and averting cookout disasters.
It distributes heat evenly across the grill surface, eliminating hot and cold spots and creating consistent grilling temperature.
This means that the grills can get hot enough 600°C - 800°C to evenly sear the meat, then turn down the gas and close the hood for slow cooked juicy perfection.
TRU-Infrared™ cooking technology heats food at the grill’s surface, retaining flavor other grills let escape. Which means whatever you grill will be 50% juicier than conventional grill cooked meats, while using up to 30% less gas than comparable BBQ grills.
You get the crispy caramelization, once possible only with charcoal grills, on the outside, and a far juicer succulence than you could ever get on charcoal on the inside plus the energy and money saving benefits of using less gas to do this than comparable barbecues.
I am a gas convert, try one of our recommended barbecues and start to really enjoy your summer barbecues.