usage of charcoal on a gas grill

Charcoal Grilling 101: The Usage Of Charcoal On A Gas Grill you will love trying

Have you ever heard about the usage of charcoal on a gas grill?

If this is your first time hearing about this alternative, you’ll be surprised what you’re missing. 

The usage of charcoal on a gas grill has made my grilling experience more flavorsome.

Gas grills are great; they allow you to cook and grill without extra hassle compared to charcoal grilling.

Charcoal grills, however, have their unique advantages over gas grills that can’t be denied.

Gas grills can’t replicate the taste and smokiness of meats cooked over charcoal. So, how does one achieve the taste of cooking over a charcoal grill using a gas grill?

The answer is as simple as using charcoal briquettes in your gas grill!

The increasing usage of charcoal on a gas grill

usage of charcoal on a gas grill

Coals are an essential part of the grilling process. They provide the heat for cooking and give a smoky flavor to food. 

In some cases, they can even be used as a substitute for wood chips in smoking food (though this is not recommended). 

To use coals, you must first light them. This is done by stacking a coal pile on dry kindling or paper. Lit this charcoal pile with a match or lighter. 

Once the coals are lit, they should be spread out evenly over the grill grate. Be sure there are no empty spaces between the coals, so none burn out before others. 

Place meat over the area where the most flames are visible so that it cooks faster. As it cooks, turn the side frequently to ensure even cooking. 

If you’ve got the creative spark, learn how to use pellets in a charcoal grill.

Why do people love the Usage of charcoal on a gas grill?

While many people like the convenience of using a gas grill, it is important to note that there are some benefits to using charcoal for grilling food.

usage of charcoal on a gas grill
  • For starters, when using a gas grill, you have no control over the temperature and are limited to the number of burners.
  • When using charcoal for grilling food, you can use as many briquettes as desired. 
  • It is also easier to maintain the temperature of your cooking area with a charcoal grill. 
  • You also have more control over the flavor profile since you can add different spices or sauces while cooking. 
  • Lastly, with a gas grill, once the meat has been cooked on one side, it will continue cooking even if flipped on its opposite side. 
  • With charcoal grills, however, flipping food to cook both sides is necessary or your meat will be overcooked and dry.

How to use charcoal on a gas grill?

The usage of charcoal on a gas grill sounds intimidating to some. Let me break down each step for you.

Place a small amount of charcoal in the center of the grill grate and cover it with a few pieces of wood.

  1. Turn on your gas grill, let it heat up for at least 10 minutes, then turn off the burner under the charcoal grate.
  2. Open the lid and place more charcoal onto the hot grate as needed until it is fully lit or until you are satisfied with its size and shape.
  3. Add food to the cooking area.
  4. Close the grill lid and monitor the temperature inside. 
  5. Adjust the temperature by adjusting one or more of the burners using their knobs according to how high you want it heated up before adjusting again if needed.
  6. Once your meat is cooked to the desired degree, move it away from the direct flame and close the lid.
  7. Allow the meat to rest for a minute or two so that all of the juices redistribute evenly before slicing into them (this will also help avoid getting any charred edges). 
  8. If desired, brush some sauce onto the meat before serving (a BBQ sauce goes well with grilled meats). 
  9. Another way to use this method is instead of placing food over the hot side, put it over the indirect heat side and cover it loosely with foil (this method works best for foods that take longer to cook, such as roasts). 
  10. You can use either hardwood or briquettes for this type of grill. 
  11. Remember never to leave any lit coals unattended or near anything flammable, including grass and trees – keep an eye on those little red-hot bits! 

The best type of charcoal for grilling

Whether you’re using a gas or charcoal grill, the type of charcoal you use is crucial to the taste of your meal. 

Check these 6 best charcoal grills under $100.

usage of charcoal on a gas grill

For example, if you’re cooking with a gas grill, using briquettes made of hardwood will give your food an extra smoky flavor. If you’re grilling with charcoal on a gas grill, use natural briquettes made from untreated wood. This will avoid chemical interaction between the briquettes and the fumes in your grill’s exhaust system. 

This method should be done first before placing the briquettes into the grill to achieve good results.

Follow these instructions for those with little experience working with charcoal but want to try it out!

How to store charcoal?

Depending on how you intend to use charcoal, there are a few different ways to store charcoal. If you plan the usage of charcoal on a gas grill for a longer run, don’t worry, we can preserve it safely.

If you’re using charcoal in a chimney starter or as fuel for your grill, keep the charcoal inside an airtight container like a metal garbage can with a lid. 

You can also store it in large, watertight trash cans with lids. Keep the container out of direct sunlight and avoid storing it near anything that emits heat, such as wood-burning stoves, fireplaces, or ovens. 

When using the charcoal, empty it into the top of your chimney starter before lighting it. To prepare your gas grill, clean off any grease from the grates and wait until they have cooled down before adding fresh briquettes. Be sure to fill up only some of the three layers on top of each other, or they may burn unevenly!

What are hybrid grills?

So you have a gas grill but also want to use charcoal. There are two types of hybrid grills that you can purchase.

One is a charcoal grill which can be used with or without charcoal. These grills have a bottom grate that can be lifted up and out of the way to cook on the grill below. You then close the bottom grate and put your briquettes in the top section when finished cooking on the gas grill.

The other hybrid type is a reverse flow gas/charcoal combo unit. This type will allow you to use both types of fuel interchangeably throughout grilling your food by simply flipping over or removing one side or both sides at any time for easy conversion from one fuel source to another. 

For example, if you need to add more charcoal during cooking, just remove the solid cast iron coal pan and slide it under the front left corner rack. 

And if you would like to switch back to using all gas, just slide the coal pan back into place, and flip over one side of your grill or both sides.

My preference for the usage of charcoal on a gas grill.

I’m personally not satisfied with this conversion method. However, if you want to use charcoal, try to use briquettes. They are less likely to create flare-ups and produce less smoke than lump charcoal. 

usage of charcoal on a gas grill

Lump charcoal may contain materials such as wood or corn that could cause a fire hazard in the grill or smoke when it is heated up enough to ignite. It can also leave a sooty residue on your food, which you would not want for the dish you worked so hard on! When using briquettes, ensure they are completely extinguished before putting them into your grill.

Using gas grill charcoal briquettes for the first time

I decided to use the charcoal briquettes for the first time on my gas grill. To ensure I was doing everything correctly, I called my local hardware store to see what they recommended regarding briquette size.

After talking to them and getting their recommendation, I went back home and looked up how many briquettes I would need for my grill.

You would need about 20-25 briquettes per side of the grill. So if you have a three-burner gas grill like me, you will need 60-75 briquettes. This is a rough estimate, but it should be close enough when grilling a few burgers or steaks on an average gas grill. When buying your own set of charcoals, keep in mind that there are two different types. One type uses lighter fluid to start, and the other does not. If you want to cook without using lighter fluid, buy a new kind that does not require this fuel source.

Using a Gas grill with a charcoal tray 

Gas grills are great because they let you control the temperature by adjusting a knob. But charcoal grills are often better for searing meat and imparting smoky flavors. If you have a gas grill with a charcoal tray, the best way to use it is to light the coals in the tray first, then turn off the gas and put your food directly over them.

usage of charcoal on a gas grill

However, if you don’t have a gas grill with a charcoal tray or don’t want to mess with lighting one up, set up the coals on one side of your grill and preheat that side while cooking food on the other side.

For more significant cuts of meat like brisket or ribs, rotate them so that the top side of each cut becomes the bottom side when you flip it. Otherwise, just flip them halfway through cooking time. (4) That’s all there is to using a gas grill with charcoal!

Is it safe to put charcoal in a gas grill?

It’s not safe to put charcoal in a gas grill. Lighting the charcoal will go up into the gas line and cause a massive explosion. I have seen this happen once before and I was scared for my life. It’s best just to use your gas grill for its intended purpose, grilling with gas! You can do many things with it that would be hard or impossible on an outdoor charcoal grill. For example, you can use your gas grill for searing or stir-frying since there is an even distribution of heat and no open flame, which could make oils dangerous to handle.

A word about flare-ups: when searing on a flat surface like a griddle pan or cast iron skillet, turn down the heat as soon as possible so that grease doesn’t burn. Flare-ups should be avoided because they release unpleasant odors and could burn meat if they occur too close to the food while cooking.

What is healthier for grilling: propane or charcoal?

So, which is better for grilling? Propane or charcoal? 

The usage of charcoal for a gas grill can be trouble for those who don’t like its aroma. 

The comparison of both can be difficult to answer because, in truth, it all depends on the person. 

Some people swear by the taste propane gives their food, while others swear by the smokey flavor of charcoal. To make an informed decision, you need to know what grills are available and what cooking they can do well. 

  • There are three main grills today- gas, charcoal, and infrared. Gas grills are great at searing meats due to their high heat, but this grill gets less hot than charcoal grills. They also take up less space than the other two options, but the downside is that they use more propane. 
  • Charcoal has been around since man learned how to start a fire without matches! 
  • Gas is more convenient than gas since you have to prep your grill beforehand, but it does produce delicious smoked foods with less hassle than gas. 
  • Infrared also falls into this category-you’ll need prep time before use, but this style has recently become popular because it gets much hotter than gas or charcoal and cooks faster too!

The bottom line

The usage of charcoal on a gas grill is a multi-dimensional invention. Whether you want a hybrid grill or convert your existing gas grill to one is totally up to you. 

Do let me know which one you would like to opt for.

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