San Diego BBQ Cleaners

Modern red kamado grill in a showroom with BBQ accessories

Grill Buying Tips From the Experts at SD BBQ

Whether you are a beginner griller or a grill master, choosing the perfect BBQ grill is a challenge. With so many different brands, styles, and features to choose from, even the most experienced griller has a hard time picking just one. In this blog, we are addressing the pros and cons of the different types of grills available.

What’s the difference between charcoal, gas, and pellet grills?

It’s all about the fuel source. Identifying the type of fuel you want to use will be one of the driving factors behind the type of grill you choose. So, let’s take a look at the different fuel sources. 

Charcoal Grills

It produces a high-temperature, long-lasting fire with a wood-smoke flavor. Favored among seasoned grillers, it’s one of the most popular fuel sources used for outdoor grilling. Those who are not a fan of charcoal argue that some of the cheaper big-box coal can leave a chemical-like flavor on the food, but this can be avoided when using high-quality charcoal-like FOGO with a chimney starter.  

Charcoal is available in two forms: Briquettes and Hardwood Lump. The briquettes are more common, but hardwood lump is making a name for itself as an all-natural product that doesn’t require lighter fluid to ignite, it doesn’t leave the chemical flavor, and it can be combined with hardwood to get your desired flavor.

Gas Grills

Similar to cooking on a gas stove, it’s a cost-effective fuel source that fires up instantly to save you time and money. Although gas doesn’t influence that open fire flavor as much as charcoal or wood, it is much more convenient than charcoal, and the flame is easier to control. 

Gas is available in two forms: Natural gas and Propane gas. Natural gas is run through your home and perfect for built-in grills. Propane gas is a liquid gas that can be refilled at your local grocery store or hardware store. 

Pellet Grills

Wood pellets are an all-natural fuel source made with compressed wood shavings or dust.  Pellets don’t burn as fast as wood chips and infuse more flavors into the food.  It’s a fairly new concept on the grilling scenes, but it is proving to be a great alternative to both charcoal and gas.  

What are the pros and cons of charcoal, gas, and pellet grills?

The following chart was designed to help you compare the pros and cons of each grill side by side. Please note the data is based on average values and can differ per brand, style, and size of various grills.

Average FactorsCharcoalGasWood Pellets
Price RangeFrom $15 and upFrom $100 and upFrom $200 and up
TemperatureHeats up to 700°FHeats up to 550°FHeats up to 550°F
Heat-up Time10 – 20 mins10 – 30 mins10 – 15 mins
Fuel Cost at Highest Temp$9.00 for about one hour of fuel$15.00 for about 10 hours of fuel$34.00 for about 10 hours of fuel
FlavorChargrilled SmokeNo Smoke FlavorWood Smoke
MobilityTypically Portable and available in a variety of sizes that are easily transportedDepends on gas type, natural gas lines can’t be moved, and propane tanks can be heavy.Typically not portable because it requires electricity, but tabletop versions are available
Cooking HazardsFlare-ups could occur, ash could get on food, may need to replenish fuel during a long cooking session, high temperatures require constant attentionFlare-ups could cause a fire hazard, propane tanks could leak, Low temps make searing impossible, gas temperatures can be hard to gaugeRequires food-grade wood pellets, low temps make searing impossible, exposed cords could cause a fire hazard or trip hazard
Clean-upIt can be difficult to clean due to ash and grease. You also have to wait for it to cool down.Easier to clean up because it cools faster and there is no ashEasier to clean because the ash is in a separate compartment
ProsAffordable, easy to transport, great for high-temperature cooking, adds great chargrilled flavorQuick heat up and clean up, easy to cook delicate foods like fish and veggiesFlexible cooking techniques for baking, roasting, and smoking, adds a wood smoke flavor, fuel-efficient, superior temperature control

About SD BBQ

San Diego BBQ is an award-winning BBQ cleaning, and repair service company that caters to both commercial, and residential clients all over San Diego County. We design, build, and install completely custom BBQ islands from start to finish. Come visit our showroom in San Marcos, CA to find your next BBQ Grill.

If you would like expert advice as you compare options, contact us today at (858) 346-7922 or send us a message. Let our team help you pick something that fits your budget, and meets your cooking needs.

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