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Charcoal vs. Gas: a Deadspin article's perspective

I was reading on the sports news/gossip site Deadspin and saw an interesting take.  Here's the link (some of the language is a bit blue, FYI).

I've only included an (edited) excerpt, read the whole section if you want to know his conclusion after discussing the merits of gas.  As an Egg owner, I don't know whether to be proud or upset at a description of someone who would get one:

Charcoal grills, by contrast, are cheaper. That's about where their benefit to the convenience-minded ends. You have to keep track of how much charcoal you've got; you have to have some method of ignition (lighter fluid or a chimney starter or a bunch of newspaper or some kindling or whatever the hell); you have to light the fire well in advance of the time you're planning on actually cooking on it (in order to give the open flame time to die down and retreat inside the charcoal so that it doesn't incinerate the food you cook over it); unless you're splurging on some ridiculously expensive hobbyist contraption like a Big Green Egg, you won't have much control over the temperature (nor even, with many basic charcoal grills, the ability to know the exact temperature of the cooking surface at all). If you're cooking several rounds of stuff—say, burgers and franks and chicken and veggies, for a big cookout with lots of people—you have to have a plan for the order in which you're going to cook the stuff, so that you can pair the different foods with their proper cooking temperature and get them all cooked before the charcoal is exhausted. It can be a pain in the ass.

And yet. Food that has been well-cooked over charcoal just tastes go***** incredible, in a way that gas grills, for all their many merits, cannot match. (On the other hand, you can ignore thebut gas grills make your food taste like propane! people, because that's not really true unless your sh** is broke.) On top of that, many larger charcoal grills can be used to produce indirect heat, which means you can use them to smoke and/or slow-cook stuff, which is great.


  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,948
    I'd have to say, for the sake of your sanity and IQ, don't read the cr*p from that site again.

    So the id**t says an Egg is for hobbyists? Dumb as saying a pick up truck is only for hobbyists, cause nothing under 5 tons is worth calling a truck. Maybe as stupid as saying a fly-fisher is just a hobbyist w.  over priced gear, when real fishers use drag nets.

  • Village IdiotVillage Idiot Posts: 6,958
    Well, he is very opinionated and very direct, but a lot of what he says is true.  I was looking for a rope to lynch him when I read :

    "And yet. Food that has been well-cooked over charcoal just tastes go***** incredible, in a way that gas grills, for all their many merits, cannot match."

    He is right that the Egg is more "inconvenient" than a gasser, but screwballs like us don't mind that in order to get the taste superiority of the Egg.

    Dripping Springs, Texas.
    Just west of Austintatious

  • henapplehenapple Posts: 15,986
    unless you're splurging on some ridiculously expensive hobbyist contraption like a Big Green Egg

    16 years ago I paid $1000 for a top of the line gasser... Last year $950 for the lbge and a few accessories. Duh. Why do people always put down things they don't like or understand? His loss.
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • FoghornFoghorn Posts: 6,496

    @henapple, we should probably all keep this in perspective.  Pretty much anybody who can afford a BGE is not part of the masses.  Most people are trying to decide between a cheap gas grill vs a cheap charcoal grill.  For 90+% of the population - therefore the vast majority of his readers - spending over about $500 on a grill is unthinkable. 

    There will alway be exceptions, like a lower middle class guy/gal who spends $700 or more for a BGE or a Weber gas grill because of that individual's life priority.  But, there is no doubt that relative to the majority of the population, we are a bunch of rich foodies.

    XL BGE, Klose BYC, ProQ Excel, Weber Kettle, Firepit, Grand Turbo gasser, and a portable Outdoor Gourmet gasser for tailgating

    San Antonio, TX

  • henapplehenapple Posts: 15,986
    @ foghorn... Priorities might be some of it. Some like to throw a steak on a gasser and some on an egg. I've cooked great food on a gasser but enjoy the egg so much more. It's a passion for me much like a Harley or a boat. Some people just aren't into cooking or exploring new options. I'm not rich by any means or even well off but enjoy the investment in my egg. It has ignited a desire to learn food. I would not crack on anyone forcooking anyway they please... So why is this guy? He's a douche.
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • SkiddymarkerSkiddymarker Posts: 8,347
    To be honest I like my old gasser for things that I might have to cook in the kitchen. Love the egg and for the main event, usually the meat or a pizza it is the best, period. 
    +1 on VI's statement that to get that almost to die for taste, somethings cooked on the egg are worth the inconvenience. On the other hand, I like to play with my toys, so maybe it's not inconvenient at all. 
    Delta B.C. - Move over coffee, this is job for alcohol!
  • henapplehenapple Posts: 15,986
    One more thing. Yes you can fire up a propane grill and cook quick. I never cook on the egg if I'm in a hurry. It's fun time. I spend enough time rushing around all day. Egging is therapeutic... A release from the stress and a great time for a cocktail and cigar.
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • EggcelsiorEggcelsior Posts: 14,015
    While ignorant, at least his priorities are straight(sorry for the language, but I am not one to censor someone else's writing)

    Also, crucially: Cooking over an actual by-God charcoal fire (as opposed to the tidy, tightly controlled, incidentally outdoor stovetop of a gas grill) is lots of **** fun. It's something to learn, it's not particularly challenging, and, um, fire! It's a thing to know how to do, where cooking over a gas grill is just like being in your kitchen, only a bird might **** on your head.
  • tazcrashtazcrash Posts: 1,852
    Also by no means rich, but the family loved the food off the large so much we saved, and got it a little brother.
    For me cooking on the egg is not creating sustenance to live off of. That can be accomplished with a microwave dinner.  It's about preparing, and serving, maybe experimenting and eating good food. 

    Don't get me wrong, I just refurbished my gasser, and still use it for quick weeknight meals, but it's not as fun or interesting or tasty as egging.
    Bx - > NJ ->TX!!! 
    All to get cheaper brisket! 
  • KennyLeeKennyLee Posts: 784

    Some might think I lost it, but I actually got rid of my gasser completely and sold it to someone on CL.  The fact is that since I got my Egg almost a year ago, it hadn't been fired up even one time.  And we cook out at least a couple times a week.  I just could never bring myself to use the gas grill any longer because the quality of food was so much better coming off the Egg and it was just taking up space on my patio.  And it was a nice grill too, not one of those sub $200 ones that lasts a couple of years.

    And I get the convenience of gas, but the amount of time I liked to let my gasser get heated up and ready to cook and getting the fire going and the Egg ready to cook was pretty negligible, maybe 5-10 minutes difference and certainly not worth it. 


    Cedar table w/granite top

    Ceramic Grillworks two-tier swing rack

    Perpetual cooler of ice-cold beer

  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,948
    edited May 2013
    One more post for me on the topic.

    The best brisket I've ever had was cooked over a pit fire dug in the lot behind an apartement building, but cooked by a guy from KC. The best ribs I've ever had were cooked in a 35 gal homemade drum offset by a guy cooking under a shade tree behind a liquor store. The 2nd best ribs were from a pit(hole) surrounded by asphalt shingles tended by hippies who started cooking at 4 a.m.

    I know that good 'Q does not have to come from a cooker that cost a fortune. Or even a from one that cost good piece of change.  I do know that skill and patience are a requirement.  The deadspin writer does not seem to have either.

    The writer focuses on knowing "How fast and cheap can I get back to the party?" Imagine. Having to go to all the trouble to entertain 20 people, and give them really good food, and not having make a plan.

    I do realize that most of my fellow citizens are living hand to mouth. Most cookers outside of electric skillets and 'waves are wild luxuries.

    But here's the really sad thing. If I could have found one of the guys who cut and welded drum cookers, and sold them out of their backyard for $90, I would not have an Egg today. But, I haven't seen anyone making those for the past 10 years. Bye-bye welders.

    Faced w. that, I saved for 2 years. I hemm'd and haw'd, and the dealer knocked $50 off the price. Some of the best money I have ever spent.

    My guess is that the deadspin writer has his priorities in disarray.

  • Plano_JJPlano_JJ Posts: 448
    I like the whole process, not just the end result. I love to light that egg and smell that lump burning and I love the instant you put that meat on the grid and smell that rub starting to cook. If I want quick, I will go to Mickey D's. Yesterday, I was enjoying a cold one in the gazebo and the smell of lighter fluid crossed my nose, then the smell of something burning. I was cracking up.
  • Plano_JJPlano_JJ Posts: 448
    I look at it this way.  Since I've gotten the egg, we rarely ever eat out.  I've probably saved enough to cover the cost of the egg.  You don't have to clean up and drive anywhere and sit around and wait for potentially bad food or service in a potentially noisy or crowded environment.  You can stay at home and take your time and enjoy the whole process.  Have some friends over and just relax.  Plus all the benefits of learning to cook and experimenting with new flavors.  Add in all the food, lump, spices, etc and I still think I'm ahead of the game and enjoying the meals more.  Priceless.
    Cant say it any better than that.
  • I really hate to say that people have their priorities mixed up, because I'm not walking in their shoes.  I do know that God has blessed my family immensly and because of that, I can afford to slow down and smell the roses (or pork roasting).

    Damascus, VA.  Friendliest town on the Appalachian Trail.

    LBGE Aug 2012, SBGE Feb 2014

  • FoghornFoghorn Posts: 6,496

    "I really hate to say that people have their priorities mixed up, because I'm not walking in their shoes."

    Agreed.  That writer's priorities are not the same as mine.  That doesn't mean that either of us is mixed up - just that we have different priorities.  I just think that the writer's priorities on this topic are aligned with the majority of the population.  We Eggheads are a very small minority - who have a common prioritization in our lives - and that is great for us.  But that doesn't mean that everybody else is "mixed up". 

    Many of them just haven't seen the light yet and it is up to us to show it to them. 

    XL BGE, Klose BYC, ProQ Excel, Weber Kettle, Firepit, Grand Turbo gasser, and a portable Outdoor Gourmet gasser for tailgating

    San Antonio, TX

  • yzziyzzi Posts: 1,793
    Written from a guy who doesn't enjoy cooking...
    Dunedin, FL
  • SmokeyPittSmokeyPitt Posts: 9,864
    That was an interesting article.  To be fair...he does weigh both sides and his conclusion is:

    Oh, f--- it. He should get a charcoal grill. Godd--- it, it's just a lot more rewarding.

    I do think he is a little misguided about the egg being ridiculously expensive.  One thing you have to consider is that most folks will buy a $300 grill every few years, and the egg will last a lifetime.

    Which came first the chicken or the egg?  I egged the chicken and then I ate his leg. 

  • henapplehenapple Posts: 15,986
    It's not that he doesn't want an egg... Just that he has the wrong idea of who and what we are. I agree with the eating out part... We rarely do. I never egg in a hurry.
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • U_tardedU_tarded Posts: 1,562
    dead spin does mostly comedic articles semi.  satire if you will, last year they ran a series of articles titled why my NFL team sucks.  it was hilarious.  

  • td66snrftd66snrf Posts: 1,367

    If this guy thinks BGEs are ridiculously expensive he hasn't priced any high end gassers.


    XLBGE, LBGE, MBGE, SMALL, MINI, 2 Kubs, Fire Magic Gasser
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