INQUIRY - Gas/Charcoal Grills

It is about time to, yet again, purchase a new outdoor cooking grill.  I've heard a lot of people swear by the "Green Egg" type ceramic/porcelain, egg type, cooking grills and how they really work well and maintain convection type cooking heat with little effort (other than what it takes to get them into place and assemble them) but their overall weight and cost can challenge the purported benefits from their design and construction.

I know there are vast opinions regarding cooking with charcoal brickettes verses say a gas grill and how some swear by cooking on/over/with Charcoal and can't stand propane, or gas, grills.  Others have sworn by cooking with wood boxes adding hickory chips or other seasoned chips to their cooking process.  I have, also, seen newer models that incorporate gas, cooking & searing, with charcoal cooking areas and even adding a smoke box for smoking.  I wish I was a good enough cook to say I knew how to smoke (cook) food but I haven't reached that point. 

One of the most undesirable things about gas/charcoal grills is that I can't seem to find one that last more than one or two seasons (years) without rusting out or having the elements inside rusting and getting holes causing leaks of gas or hot spots in cooking.  I have liked the infrared searing type elements/grills where the cooking juices sear, when they hit, injecting flavor into the meat being cooked. 

The inquire is for those who enjoy cooking outside and have found grills that they (you) believe are worth the time/money and to inquire as to what method of cooking you prefer (gas or charcoal) and if there is a difference in the end product?  I've thought about one of the mixed grills that allow gas and charcoal cooking but unfortunately the ratings/reviews that I see on many of them really down them based upon their not lasting due to rusting out no matter whether they are covered (with a cover) or not. 

Be as the Bereans ( Acts 17:11 )
Original Post

A grill, like anything else must be kept up and protected from the elements in order to last any amount of time. I cannot believe the numbers of people who simply leave their grill out in the weather uncovered and wonder why they don't last any amount of time.

I have a Primo grill that I won from a $5 raffle that I keep in the carport and under a cover. It has proven to be the best grill I have ever cooked on. It uses hard lump all natural charcoal and not the briquettes you mention. It is similar in design to the Green egg but in my opinion is better because it has more capacity. I cook 4 whole Boston butts at a time. I can control the temperature precisely with the proper adjustment of the bottom and top dampers. I can put my meat on at bedtime and set the controls to a prescribed setting and it will maintain a constant temperature for a full day without any adjustment or add and charcoal or even open the grill for that matter. I will have barbecue ready to pull about noon the following day. I can maintain a constant temperature from 200-550 degrees allowing me to slow cook barbecue to the high temperature needed to cook pizza.

By most opinion these grills are quite expensive, they start at about $1300 for the Ex L model I have, but I like it so much I would consider buying a second one. The one I have is going on 8 years old and is every bit as good now as it was the day I brought it home.

Unclegus, have to totally agree, leaving these out, uncovered, is taxing on any grill's components.   I appreciate the info on the Primo as I have heard the same from others I've talked to (That Primo is one of the best).  I've also heard that the long cooking times really work to seal in flavor and juices and make the end results much more tasty and positive.  I've also heard about the "Green Egg"  enough to wonder if the brand names do make a difference rather than just the design type. 

I also totally (reluctantly) agree with JTDAVIS and on this part I'm not claiming that I have any expertise but have at times come up (my opinion) quite lucky.   Because of my inexperience is why I ask the forum members feeling that we have some more experienced cooks out there.  Thanks for both your inputs.

I chose to purchase a Webber Master-Touch kettle type Charcoal grill given that I already have a good infrared type gas grill.  I figure, gas or Charcoal, I'll try both and see which works better for me.   I actually found it for a great deal and while I would have loved to get one of the porcelain grills like the "Green Egg" type  but it wasn't in the budget at this time. 

1 inch to 1 1/2 inch Steaks (Filet, Ribeye's) cooked to medium, when I choose Burgers or Chopped Steaks I usually try and get around cuts with 20% fat and also I like the special blends that Publix creates with cuttings from Ribeyes and Filets along with Sirloin and Ground Round mixes.  I don't know the portions that each are included but it is like the cuts you get at Georges when you order their Chopped Steak.  

Pork Tenderloins and also Grilled Chicken Breast with Hickory chips added to the charcoal to add smoke flavor.   

I won't get too experimental however I've thought about experimenting with Sous Vide preparation of Hamburger/Ground cuts and cooking them to medium-medium well then searing them on the grill, over the charcoal.  That's the only possible way I'd consider ground meat being anything other than well done.  Sous Vide cooking of chicken and/or ground meats kills the bacteria or potential bacterias through the cooking process much like pasteurization.  I've never tried it, that way, but I have done some research on the internet about Sous Vide cooking method.

One thing I've never been good at or even know about is cooking Ribs.  I've had some great Ribs before but I've never been one to cook them nor would I feel comfortable, at this point, in trying it.  Maybe one day though.  I'ver heard though that slow cooking (in a dedicated smoker) would be the best way.

We'll the first meal reinforced my decision to purchase the charcoal grill.  Using boneless Ribeye's, 1 inch thick cut, from Publix I started with one of those charcoal lighting chimneys to get the coals hot quick, without the lighting fluid and it worked great.  All it took was a singled rolled up newspaper page in the bottom (placed around the edge so as to leave a hole in the center to allow for air to flow through) and once lit I was ready to cook with hot coals 10 minutes later with perfect looking hot charcoals.  

After preparing the steaks by placing my chosen seasoning, and centering the already hot coals in the center of the grill.  I first seared the steaks on the center of the grill (hottest part, directly over the hot coals) for around 2 minutes 30 seconds each side.  I then moved the steaks to the outer part (outside) of the grill, away from directly over the hot coals, and allowed them to cook with indirect heat while also choosing to place Dale's steak sauce over the steaks each time they were turned.  All together I only turned them three to four times from start to finish, including searing.  It was the first time in a long time I cooked over charcoal but the end result was fantastic.  The design of the Webber Kettle Grill created evenly distributed heat (direct & indirect).

My mistake was I just left the steaks on just a little too long as they were med-well instead of the medium temp that I like best but they were still super moist, fork, cutting, tender, with absolutely no charcoal fuel taste (as no lighter fuel was used).  They were as good as I've had in a long while.  Added to that  perfectly cooked (microwave) baked potatoes (using the oven's preprogrammed baked potato button) and microwave cooked corn on the cob, according to internet (YouTube, see link below) directions by placing the entire corn cob into the microwave and cooking it 4 minutes (per cob) after which I cut off the bottom of each cob and squeezed the cob out from the top.  They come out with no silk threads what so ever, totally clean and ready to eat.

see:  <--Cooking Corn on the Cob in a Microwave

 As much as I do enjoy eating out I have to say this was as good a (steak) meal as I've had anywhere in a while.   I now look forward to adding smoke to the next grilling session from either some Hickory or Mesquite wood added with the charcoal (just for some experimentation).

Again, thanks to those who contributed their thoughts.

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