So what are the main benefits of charcoal barbeque grills over their now popular gas alternatives? – a common question asked by many entry-level grillers and bbq lovers.
While gas grills have become very widely used today for their convenience and fast cooking, conventional charcoal grill and smokers still can not be replaced for their unique cooking characteristics.
To correctly answer the question above, we need to look at both the benefits of grilling on barbecue charcoal grills and their effect on our health to weigh the pros and cons. Then you can decide for yourself whether charcoal grills are a worthy outdoor experience for you and your family.
Benefits Of Charcoal Barbecue Grills
One of the benefits of grilling is the authentic taste and richly infused smoky flavor of the meat, this is also one of the reasons why barbecue lovers prefer barbecue grills with charcoal burners. Steaks, thin slices of meat like bacons, bratwurst, brisket, salmon, and other fish dishes also retain moisture and tenderness due to the slow smoke-cooking process enclosed within the charcoal smoking unit.
II. Meat Sweating
During this long cooking session (typically between two hours to even one or two days), fat and unhealthy grease also get their chance to drip out of barbecue – a process which can also be referred to as “meat sweating.” So while preserving moisture and vital nutrition, such as vitamins, charcoal barbecue grill also helps to reduce fat intake and avoid many high cholesterol level related illnesses such as heart disease.
III. Great Control
In Charcoal grills, you can control how long it takes for an ingredient to cook. For example, if your steaks are cooking faster than the potatoes, you can move the steak to the cold side (away from the charcoal) and allow it to cook slower while it still gets smoked. This enables you to cook a variety of food together.
Even though you can control the temperature of the food you are cooking, there are always ways you can improve. A good thermometer will really help you control the temperature of the charcoal grill. Using a thermometer to check the internal temperatures of the grill and the meat is essential in the process of a good barbeque. When I am using my Stok Charcoal Grill, I always insert the thermometer to check the temperature of the meat and the grill.
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Disadvantages Of Cooking With Charcoal Barbecue Grills
While many purists would say that charcoal is the best pick to experience outdoor barbecue grilling fully, environmental and health concerns are related to barbeque grills and smokers.
I. Harmful To The Environment
Because charcoal requires the burning of wood, it creates hydrocarbon and carbon monoxides which pollute the air. In addition, in 2003, scientists from Rice University, after some study, found that poly-unsaturated fatty acids as the result of burning charcoals also contributed to the atmosphere pollution in Houston.
Another impact on health is the risk of cancer. Grilling meat from charcoal barbeque grills can potentially produce hazardous carcinogenic compounds, called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic aromatic amines (HAA). These chemicals are created when fat dripped from meat comes into contact with burning charcoal, then they evaporate in the form of smoke and get deposited back into charred parts of barbecue meat. The hotter the cooking temperature is, and the longer the smoking session lasts, the higher the risk of food poisoning. This phenomenon can happen when you broil and pan-fry meat as well.
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What Can You Do to Make Charcoal Grilling Healthier?
The first solution is to use natural charcoals instead of commercially processed charcoals that are pre-soaked with poisonous chemicals and petroleum bases. Whether you burn lumps or briquettes, they are still the same. One such so-called natural charcoal brand is “Noram de Mexico’s Sierra Madre 100% oak hardwood,” which can be bought at Sam’s Clubs across the States.
Many experienced barbecue lovers and experts advise us to cook charcoal barbeque grills at low temperatures and reduce the cooking time to minimal as possible. One of many ways to lower temperature and keep grilling time short is to use charcoal smokers with completely sealed lids, such as charcoal kettle grills. These types of barbecue smokers are often very affordable (you can one for just under $50, like the Weber One-touch Silver) and, at the same time, considerably portable grills that are designed for ease of transportation in your backyard.
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These are all the advantages and disadvantages of the charcoal grill; after reading this article, if you are considering buying a charcoal grill, ensure to read our buying guide on charcoal grills. The guide should help you choose a charcoal grill that is perfect for you. As always, you can ask any doubt or queries in the comment section below, and we will get back to you.