Gas vs Wood BBQ: The vicious ancient debate amongst men
Throughout history, it has been proven that advancements in technology could be beneficial or detrimental to humanity. For instance, discovering the power of the atom gave us nuclear energy and medical radiation, but it also gave us the atomic bomb.
Similarly, the discovery of the gas BBQ had unintended dire consequences for mankind, with the emphasis on MAN. The intention of the inventor was pure and perhaps the only desire he had was to make life easier for humanity. But what he didn’t see beforehand was the divide that this invention would cause between friends and family alike.
The argument for and against gas BBQs for food prep is as old as the invention itself. There is Team Wood on the one side and Team Gas on the other side and the tensions run high between these rivals.
In this article, we will try to mediate a ceasefire between these two factions by investigating the differences, pros, and cons of both gas and wood BBQs and determine which is the best BBQ.
(Sikkina knives are happy to meet all types of food coming from any type of BBQ- none of them stand a chance against these classic slashers anyway.)
The difference between a gas grill and a wood BBQ
We won’t spend too much time in this section. All you need to know is that the one uses heat from wood or coal to cook food and the other one uses gas. The history of BBQing with wood dates back to our ancestors that were first discovered millennia ago.
It was only in the late 1930s that someone called Don McGlaughlin invented the first gas grill, adequately named LazyMan. In the 1960s gas BBQs became very popular because of the marketing efforts of the Arkansas Louisiana Gas Company.
I can just imagine the members of Team Wood shaking their heads in disgust after reading this section.
The Pros of gas BBQs
The number one benefit of Gas BBQs must be ease of use. You don’t need to get your hands dirty or full of splinters when starting the fire. All you need to do is turn a button or two and push a switch and presto!
There is no waiting time either, unlike with a wood BBQ grill. You don’t have to struggle with waterlogged wood or coals or running low on kindle and all the other hassles you get with wood BBQs. It is perfect for a quick week-evening BBQ when you don’t have the time or energy to struggle with fire.
The gas BBQ allows you to cook with scientific precision. There is a constant uninterrupted feed of heat which you can accurately measure and control to the exact measurements that you require. You can create the perfect temperature to prepare that medium-rare steak you love so much.
While we are talking about perfect temperatures, don't forget to check out our article about The science of cooking the perfect steak.
The Cons of gas BBQs:
The scientific precision mentioned above is only available when the lid is closed. Gas BBQs struggle to retain that same blanket of hot air caused by radiation from the smoldering coals in the wood BBQ. It becomes more difficult when you are cooking bigger cuts of meat and it won't be that easy to get that flavorful crust going.
Gas burns at a lower temperature than wood which might also cause problems for the connoisseurs that follow strict guidelines or recipes to get the perfect piece of meat on the plate.
It is more difficult to smoke food. You can add soaked wood chips to the bottom above the flames to heat some smoke out, but who are we kidding? This is just not the same and quite difficult to manage.
The Pros of Wood BBQs:
When we speak of wood BBQs, we are also referring to use coals to get the job done. One of the perks of using a wood BBQ is the abundance of good heat once you got it all going. By moving the coals around, you could also make hotspots or cool spots in order to cook different things in different sections of your grill.
Indirect grilling is much easier and more effective than with gas BBQs. Indirect grilling is where you move the heat source to the side and the heat is transferred to the food or smoked in the more traditional sense. It is much easier to use the coals and different sizes of smoldering logs at your command to generate radiant heat or smoke.
The atmosphere. Do we need to elaborate on this? Nothing beats sitting next to a crackling fire with a cold beverage in the hand on a warm summer's evening. Staring at a closed silver box is just not the same.
The Cons Wood BBQs:
Starting the fire could be a nightmare at times. Have you ever tried lighting drenched wood? Using the firelighters (fluid or bricks) is sometimes frowned upon because of the chemical aroma in the air after combustion. There would be hardly any trace left of the fire-starters by the time the coals are ready, but some still believe that it contaminates the food.
Controlling the fire is also not as easy as turning a knob. You need to be present and focused on what is happening. Unlike with the gas grill, you can’t just turn it on and forget about it. You need to nurse it all the time until the very end.
Now, Team Wood might say that this is a pro. Being present, concentrating on the moment, and getting back to our tribal roots are believed to be an exercise in mindfulness and releases stress. It is a highly debated point.
The verdict of Gas vs Wood BBQs
After careful deliberation and weighing the pros and cons of both options up against each other, we finally came to a verdict. It wasn’t easy to choose and remain bias all along, but finally, we came to a decision.
The decision was to be like Switzerland… We remain neutral!
Now, now… calm down! There is no need to throw your phone or slam your laptop screen shut. Hear us out, please.
It all comes down to personal preference and if you could afford it, we recommend that you have both at your disposal. If you are interested in the art of creating magic with a wood fire, then why not indulge in specific recipes such as beer-can-chicken, cooking frozen steak, or smokey ribs?
When you have the time, or you need to unwind, you could still make that fire to stare in for hours while sipping away on your favorite drink. But when you are rushed and you want to prepare something quickly but also want to be outdoors, the gas grill would be perfect for you.
Cooking for a crowd is also much easier when you are doing it on a propane grill. You don’t need to worry about checking the fire and the coals all the time and you can still mingle with the crowd while grilling burgers, sausages, corn, grilled chicken, etc. And your grill could easily answer to the call of hungry mouths later the evening too.
I guess future debates would shift more toward which BBQ is more eco-friendly. Which one do you think has a lower carbon footprint? Let us know what you think by sending us an email or contacting us on social media.
At Sikkina we are focused on providing you with high-quality durable tools that would make any culinary experience easier and joyful. No matter if you are on Team Wood or Team Gas, you would still benefit from the quality craftsmanship that Sikkina knives offer.