Propane vs. Charcoal Grills

Comparing Barbecue Options for Price, Heat, Flavor and Cleanup

gas grills cherry hill, nj With spring just around the corner, the age-old debate between gas and charcoal grills will no doubt ignite once again. Indeed, both sides of the argument have their valid points. Some argue that charcoal provides better heat. Others point out that propane is more convenient.

At Blue Flame, we supply propane cylinders to grillers in Cherry Hill, Cape May, Chester, Doylestown and other cities and towns in southern New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania. We’ve also got our fair share of experience in grilling! Here’s how charcoal and propane stack up on the metrics that matter.

Grills and Fuel Prices

There’s no getting around the fact that propane grills are more expensive than charcoal grills. This makes sense, considering that propane grills have mechanical components to distribute and ignite the fuel and regulate the flame.

But while you might spend less purchasing a charcoal grill, the cost of charcoal itself—and starter fluid—is often higher per cooking session than propane.

Heat Generation and Temperature Control

Charcoal grills can reach higher temperatures (1,200°F) than propane grills (600°F), which makes them more adept at searing. It’s also worth noting that charcoal can burn at lower temperatures than propane without completely extinguishing.

But propane has the edge on temperature control. You need to constantly maintain and adjust charcoal to achieve the right temperature, but propane can change intensity with the simple turn of a knob.

Flavor Profiles

On this front, propane has the edge over charcoal. Propane has no taste, and it is incredibly clean burning. Any smoke from a propane grill is from drippings, not the fuel itself.

On the other hand, charcoal kicks up a lot of smoke and fine particulate matter. While this might be fine for smoking meats, it’s not great if you want your food’s natural flavors to shine through. This problem can be exacerbated by lighter fluid, which often leaves a distinct chemical taste.

Bear in mind, too, that you can achieve a similar charcoal-smoke flavor on a propane grill by using a smoker attachment.

Cooking and Cleanup Time

Charcoal can take anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour to get going. And once you’re finished cooking, you must wait for the embers to cool down before cleaning up the ash and coals.

By contrast, propane grills provide the most convenience for cooking and cleanup. Lighting the grill is as easy as opening the flow of fuel and igniting the burners. When you’re finished, you can just turn off the grill, close your cylinder and run a brush over the grate. It’s that simple!

Find a Lil’ Hank’s Tank Exchange Near You to Fulfill Your Grilling Needs!

If you’re looking to fire up your propane grill this spring, keep an eye open for a Lil’ Hank’s Tank Exchange. You can find our cylinder exchanges at dozens of gas stations, convenience stores, home and garden centers and hardware stores throughout the region.

For grill tanks or to enjoy the most dependable propane delivery in New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania, join the family of Blue Flame customers today!