There has been talk in recent years that grilling over charcoal is not as healthy as was once believed. Some think that grilling — actually cooking the food too long — can lead to carcinogens in the food. This is likely true whether you cook indoors or on an outdoor grill.
Charcoal and gas grill cooking is popular and has been for decades. Why? Because “cooking out” makes everyone feel that summer is here and that the winter doldrums can be kicked to the curb. The taste of foods — meat, potatoes and fruits and veggies — simply tastes better. When you grill, Mom usually gets a break from cooking as the grill is usually Dad’s domain!
If you’ve been looking for alternatives to cooking on a gas or a charcoal grill, for whatever reason, there are alternatives that produce delicious foods that have that “taste of summer” we love!
What Are Charcoal & Gas Grill Alternatives?
There are alternatives to grills and these can be stand alone cooking alternatives to cooking indoors and you can also incorporate any of these options — including a gas or charcoal grill — into an outdoor kitchen upgrade. These alternatives to the standard charcoal grill may not be as popular, but they do produce delicious grilled foods.
Among the newest types of cooking is the infrared style. This grill will use gas as its fuel source, but an infrared grill is equipped with an infrared heating element that is housed between the flames and the grill grates.
Infrared Grill Pros
- Your foods get that delicious smoky flavor
- Air is continually circulated around the food and that means it’s being cooked evenly, but you need to keep a close eye on the meat or it can become dried out.
- The heat is transferred to the grill grates and that means there isn’t as much heat being generated.
- The juices from the meats don’t run out as much, and that means there is a lower chance of flare ups and uneven heating.
- This type of grill heats up quickly — in about three to five minutes; as compared to a gas grill that takes about ten minutes or a charcoal grill that takes up to twenty minutes.
Infrared Grill Cons
- Price. They start at about $1,000.
- You may need to get replacement parts from the grill manufacturer
- If the grill needs repair it may take some research to find someone familiar with the grill type
Dual Fuel Outdoor Grills
Considered the best of both worlds when it comes to grilling, a dual fuel grill might be right for you!
Dual Fuel Outdoor Grill Pros
- It’s the best of both worlds — charcoal meets gas. Gas grills cook more quickly. Charcoal imparts a unique smoky flavor to the foods. The biggest advantage of using a dual fuel outdoor grill is that it addresses the shortcomings of both the charcoal and gas grills.
- Start the food on the gas grill, then finish it off with the charcoal side to soak up the smoky flavor.
- The price of a dual fuel grill is about $500. When you’re getting the best of two types of grills this is a bargain.
Dual Fuel Grill Cons
- The grilling area size is smaller because you’re splitting between gas and charcoal. If you do a lot of outdoor cooking, this may be a deal killer.
- If you’re smoking large cuts of meat you may also find size a disadvantage.
- You will have to keep replenishing coals because there simply isn’t a lot of space.
If you’re a grilling purist, you may look down upon an electric grill, but it does have it’s high (and yes, some) low points.
Electric Grill Pros
- Safety. Safety. Safety. With an electric grill you aren’t messing around with flames or gass.
- There will be no sudden flare ups of flames.
- It runs on electricity and this means you won’t run out of gas in the middle of cooking. Although if the power goes out, you won’t be able to cook.
- It can be used indoors or outdoors — a plus if you’re in the middle of grilling and a storm kicks up.
Electric Grill Cons
- If the power goes out, no cooking.
- The biggest disadvantage, people note, is that you don’t have that “outdoor cooking taste.”
- There are no grill marks on the food.
- Many electric grills are smaller than other types of grills.
- It is portable but you need to be close to an electric outlet.
If you’re in the market for a new grill this season, whether for your new outdoor kitchen set up or for your backyard, talk with your pool contractor or landscaper today to make that dream a reality!