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What's better charcoal or gas for cooking steak?

asked by @amandahesser about 6 years ago
11 answers 4536 views
Cbfb27ea 071f 4941 9183 30dce4007b50  merrill
Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

added about 6 years ago

Definitely wood charcoal.

E00ea237 b988 41b6 8e75 69a7b0b5851c  icon
added about 6 years ago

Lump charcoal, not briquettes. Real wood charcoal.

34b35e7d 9f0b 412e bbb2 00e0498f86d5  2016 10 06 19 40 38
added about 6 years ago

Another vote for hardwood charcoal here!

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added about 6 years ago

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

0e50c980 3bae 4316 810b 4853608d8b7d  laurel hill gc 09sm
added about 6 years ago

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

B9464ce6 76f7 41db a563 e5ad504521bf  2016 04 05 23 37 37
added about 6 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.

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added about 6 years ago

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

Fff96a46 7810 4f5c a452 83604ac1e363  dsc03010
added about 6 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.

401c5804 f611 451f a157 c693981d8eef  mad cow deux
pierino

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

added about 6 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.

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added about 6 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.

401c5804 f611 451f a157 c693981d8eef  mad cow deux
pierino

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

added about 6 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.