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What's better charcoal or gas for cooking steak?

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Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

added over 3 years ago

Definitely wood charcoal.

TedSki added over 3 years ago

Lump charcoal, not briquettes. Real wood charcoal.

lastnightsdinner added over 3 years ago

Another vote for hardwood charcoal here!

Hank Hill added over 3 years ago

I recommend propane over charcoal. "Taste the meat, not the heat."

VAGolfDad added over 3 years ago

If I had the time, I think Charcoal, but gas is more convenient and cheaper in the longer run

thirschfeld added over 3 years ago

gas that heats ceramic tiles until they glow pink. Failing that, hardwood charcoal, skip the grate and plop the steak right onto the glowing charcoals. They need to be glowing or your steak will be covered in ashes. It is about timing.

Seph added over 3 years ago

I think charcoal is a bit more tricky - the heat is unpredictable.

betteirene added over 3 years ago

Hahahaha, Hank Hill. Propane and propane accessories. Did you register that name just to answer this question? Seriously now--my old gas grill died a natural death a couple of years ago and I replaced it with a good old Weber, plus a chimney to light the charcoal. With charcoal, I get more intense heat where I want it and low heat where I don't. I think I get a nicer crust with charcoal, especially on the yummy edging of fat. And I could never get a really great smoke flavor with propane.


pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added over 3 years ago

I'm down with the lump charcoal crowd. I'll go with oak, hickory or maybe cherry for this. The traditional fuel for the famous Santa Maria Tri-Tip is red oak. Minimal seasoning, essentially salt and pepper but the wood smoke will flavor the meat. And yes, I use a chimney too. In Central Coast California you can find interesting grill rigs, where using a crank you can raise and lower the grill over the bed of coals---you can add more fuel if you need to.

jenmmcd added over 3 years ago

Charcoal for sure, but just remember that if you go with lump wood charcoal it burns really hot and really fast and then mellows out quickly. You'll want to cook on a really high heat (get your grill to about 500),so make sure you don't leave your real wood charcoal sit for too long. I'd go with standard charcoal if you're not used to using it.


pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added over 3 years ago

If by "standard charcoal" you mean briquettes keep in mind that they are mostly petroleum based and burn hotter than wood especially at the beginning, you can easily incinerate your food as well as give it an unpleasant flavor. If your grill apparatus allows it, you can continue to add pieces of lump charcoal as you procede in your cooking without hurting anything.

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