Getting Grilled – One Nation Divided

The United States of America: land of opportunity. It’s what makes this nation great, and you’ll find this spirit reflected in the everyday lives and decisions of proud citizens.

One nation divided: charcoal or propane for grilling?

On the flip side, spirited and passionate debate is another hallmark of this great land. From sea to shining sea, neighbors from all walks of life ponder the nuances of a potentially divisive, yet powerful, question:

Charcoal or gas?

That’s right. If you’re a die-hard gas griller, you may find it hard to understand the merits of charcoal. “My way is so much faster! More convenient!” you exclaim.

“But grilling over charcoal tastes so much better!” is a typical passionate response. “Cooking over charcoal makes your meal taste like summertime!”

Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Since settling the matter with a nationwide vote on the first Tuesday in November isn’t feasible, we decided to look to our in-house experts. They agreed to face off for a gas vs. charcoal showdown!

One nation divided: charcoal or propane grilling?

These grill-seekers agreed to simple ground rules: on their respective charcoal and gas Weber grills, they’d each cook a Certified Angus Beef ® brand ribeye steak, richly marbled and seasoned with salt and pepper.

The differences in technique were immediately apparent. Team Charcoal began to prepare the grill and the coals. Yes, it’s a long process, and while some folks opt for lighter fluid to speed things along, Team Charcoal instead used a nifty chimney contraption to bring on the heat more quickly (no chemical off-flavors this way). When the flames died down and coals began to ash over their molten-hot interiors, the grill would be ready.

Team Gas watched, from the comfort of a lawn chair, while the competition toiled over hot flame. There was plenty of time for Team Gas to relax before firing up the grill. In fact, with a flick of the switch and a push of a button, Team Gas had the grill preheating. It was hot in in record time.

And no matter the grill, experts agree: a grill should be screamin’ hot before the steaks go on. If your steaks don’t sizzle when they go on, then your grill isn’t hot enough. But on to the results …

Grilled Ribeye - one nation divided over grilling: charcoal or propane?

Drumroll, dear nation. The winner is … charcoal!

With unanimous approval from all taste-testers, charcoal beat the heat of a gas grill. Testers said charcoal added another layer of flavor and aroma that perfectly complimented the richness of the meat. Note: the gas grill did demonstrate a clear advantage in terms of speed and convenience.

If you’re staunchly pro-flavor and willing to sacrifice some time for your cause, then the charcoal party welcomes your support. If, on the other hand, convenience is paramount, then you’d be more comfortable aligning with those cooking with gas. And remember, delicious recipes — for both gas and charcoal grills! — are always available at