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Gas or Coals - Which is the Better Barbecue

Nov 15, 2007
When you invite your friends over for a Sunday afternoon barbecue, you want to get it just right, so how do you make sure that your barbecue will be the rave around town? This leads us to the eternal question - gas or coals - which is better for that backyard barbecue?

It is difficult to get a straight answer by asking your friends. Those who have gas will swear that their method is the new and improved version, with less mess, less fuss and more exact cooking. Those who have charcoal (or alternate solid fuel such as heat beats) barbecues will scoff in the face of those who don't and question what the point of a barbecue is without the taste of the smoke on the food (and the fun of the fire). So what do you choose if you are buying your first Barbecue?

If you prefer the idea of the outdoors experience, the thrill of the fire or the macho sport of making a fire and then cooking over it, solid fuel based may be the way for you. It does require more attention - if you don't catch it when its right, your perfectly grilled pork chop, could end up looking like a burnt chop.

If, however, you prefer the idea of simple and less stressful cooking with more predictable results, go for gas. The grill is ready when you are - you just turn the nob. You don't have to light the fire and there are no ashes to chuck out afterwards.

Interestingly, there is not much else to choose between in terms of the gas versus charcoal issue. Tests done on the cooked results of both barbecue types, have revealed that there is no significant difference in the flavours of food cooked on gas or solid fuel based barbecues. This is mostly true for hamburgers or chicken. Items such as a roast, however, which require longer cooking time, thus allowing more time for the smoke to penetrate the food, have been said to taste better on the on solid fuel based grill.

The majority of barbecue owners own a gas grill and love it. They have more features than you would ever use. This can be a negative selling point as well. Solid fuel based grills are cheaper, although they are being developed with more and more features. Charcoal grill owners find a certain satisfaction out of conquering the barbecue and being the big macho man of the party. And let's face it, what barbecue cook-off contestant would ever be caught dead using a gas grill!

If you are environmentally aware, gas barbecues may be the better option for you. They use natural products - propane or natural gas and are only mildly noxious. Solid fuel based grills on the other hand, produce noxious fumes and lots of smoke.

Recipe of the Day - Barbecue Ribs

In this recipe, the type of rib is based on what is referred as the American Barbecue Rib, which is mainly available in our supermarket. If you required ribs with more meat, you might need to see your local butcher for a special cut.

The serving quantity will depend on what else you will be serving and what you expect yourself and your guests to consume.

This recipe also required that your barbecue store has a cover such as a weber.


1. 1 kg of American Barbecue Rib
2. 1 cup of Gourmet Barbecue Sauce
3. Salt & Pepper to taste
4. 1 packet of Hickory wood chip

1. Mix the rib and gourmet barbecue sauce in tray; add salt & pepper to taste. Cover the tray and refrigerate it overnight.

2. Soak half of the wood chip in water for at least an hour prior to cooking. Mix the soaked and dried wood chip and bag them using aluminium foil. May sure it is not too thin. Use a thin sharp knife to poke holes into one side of the bag. Prepare this only when the store as described in Step 3 below is ready.

3. Once your barbecue store is read, preferably after the flame has reached pass its peak to allow a slow cooking process, place the bag of the wood chip right onto of the heat beats or charcoal (if solid fuel barbecue stove is used) otherwise place it on the side but on top of a gas burner, make sure not to smother the flame.

4. Rub the marinating sauce all over the ribs again and brush them with some cooking oil. Place it on the barbecue stove and close the cover. Adjust the air hole/gas mark to low to allow an hour of slow cooking.

5. After 30 minutes, turn the rib over but do not leave the lid uncover for too long.

6. Once it is cooked, cut them into bite size pieces and serve it as appetizer or as main meal with some more barbecue sauce.

If you couldn't find any gourmet barbecue sauce, here is a good recipe. Mix the following together:

1. 1/2 cup of worcestershire sauce
2. 1/2 cup of honey
3. Blend a slice of ginger, 3 small onions and 2 garlic cloves
4. Add 6 macadamia nuts into the blending
5. 1 tspn of horseradish
About the Author
Patrick Tang is the author of this article. His passion for good quality gourmet food and gifts has driven him to setup Fabulously Gourmet for the Australian Community.
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