The Best Fuels for Grilling
When the weather turns warm and your backyard calls, it's time to get the grill and fire up an outdoor feast! Grilling brings friends and family together in a special way, but what makes this cooking method so successful isn't just the sizzling food — it's knowing how to pick out the perfect fuel for grilling.
Whether you're a gas or charcoal lover, selecting top-quality fuels will give you consistent, steady heat that helps bring out delicious flavors from whatever ingredients are on your plate. In this blog post, we'll dive into some of the best fuels for grilling - so grab your tongs and join us as we explore all that barbecue has to offer!
Get the Grilling Fire Started – Your Guide to the Best Fuels for Grilling
Are you ready to fire up your grill? Of course, you are! Whether you're a novice or a pro, grilling is an exciting way to make delicious meals. But knowing which fuel will give you the best results is essential before you get started. Here's a breakdown of the most popular fuel types and what they can do for your cooking.
Natural Gas & Liquid Propane
In a world that never stops, convenience is king. Multiple incomes, fast food, e-commerce, and an age of instant communication around the globe leave very little time for what matters most: that's the grilling! Featuring simplicity and handiness, natural gas and propane-fueled grills continue to rise in popularity and variety. The ability to grill almost anything without ashy messes and temperature control at the touch of a dial is alluring to even the most zealous grilling enthusiast.
The debate over fuels may never be definitive, but let this mantra remain: a man's got to eat, and a man's got to grill! Ultra-portable, propane has been a favorite for years. All things being equal, it is usually preferred above natural gas because it contains two and a half times more energy. Natural gas, however, is steadily rising in preference since it burns cleaner than propane and can be permanently installed in residences. Even the most ardent supporters of charcoal fuels readily install natural gas grills alongside their black beasts because it's simpler to use in a hurry. What is lost in flavor without the mesquite of charcoal is gained in rapid igniting and easy cleanup.
- Pros: Convenience, temperature control, environmentally friendly
- Cons: No smoke, limited power, taste
For years, charcoal briquettes have been the lifeblood of the weekend warrior, game day revelry, and jovial festivities of feasting and drinking. Almost every oxygen-breathing male has employed these chalky black bricks to grill everything from hot dogs to whole turkeys. Simple enough for adolescent cooks harboring pyrotechnic curiosity, charcoal can even fuel kingly food when wielded by Jedi masters.
Readily available at every convenience store on every street corner in every neighborhood, charcoal briquettes are the mainstay of outdoor grilling. Just for a minute, imagine an existence without charcoal: it's dark and cold, there's nothing to eat on July 4th, football probably doesn't even exist, and the utter breakdown of the family unit. Thank God we have charcoal. Praise the "Maker" for hardwood logs burnt in the absence of oxygen, compressed into perfectly uniform bricks for easy, sustained grilling. Give thanks for every burger, brat, shrimp, rib, tenderloin, kabob, chop, leg, filet, scallop, hot wing, ham, pizza, spear of asparagus, whole turkey, paella, and barbecue pineapple upside down cake beautifully charred and prepared. And God bless America!
- Pros: Burns longer, easier temperature management, cheaper
- Cons: Longer to light, possible chemical smell, large ash production
Lump charcoal is lightning-fast and hot, providing a dynamic grilling experience. Imagine piloting rocket cars in the desert or launching jet airplanes off a carrier deck – the pure burnt hardwood composition equates to the raw power faster and hotter than other fuels. Think of it as the rocket fuel of the barbecue world, combining intensity and speed.
Often the preferred fuel of Pit Masters, lump charcoal provides the power and smoky mesquite for a prize-winning throw-down but requires attention and finesse for fine-tuned control. With fires reaching blazing melt-your-face-off temperatures of 1,400 degrees, lump charcoal excels at searing beef or tuna steaks. Conversely, longer cooking of pork, poultry, and thicker meats requires more attentiveness than other fuels since it burns so quickly and the pieces are of varying sizes. Generally, lump charcoal can be used for recipes requiring less than one hour of grilling since most foods call for medium to high direct heat. Many grilling professionals consider lump charcoal superior to other fuels because it cooks faster than briquettes or gas, enables easy and accurate heat control, and barely leaves any ashy mess.
- Pros: Lights quickly, burns hotter, little ash production, easier temperature adjustment, all-natural
- Cons: Burns faster, more expensive, less consistent
Wood Chunks & Hardwood
It's all about smoke! Long before charcoal or lump charcoal was developed, wood-fueled the fires of woodsmen, pioneers, and settlers – pretty much any real man with a beard. What separates grilling from other cooking methods, besides manliness, is the smoke that is generated from burning hardwood. Since real smoke comes from natural wood, lump charcoal (made from burnt hardwood) will produce more flavorful smoke than briquettes or gas fuels, and more so, wood chunks will have the most smoke over other fuels.
Just as essential lumberjack skills are less popular today, wood has lost ground to gas and charcoal fuels. Wood logs are a very unpredictable fuel because of their infinite variances in size and composition. They are only successfully employed by the finest, most experienced grillers. Wood chunks are more manageably sized for household grills, burning slower at a lower heat, creating more savory smoke for intense flavor. Ideal for slower recipes such as ribs and brisket, wood fires allow the smoke to penetrate and cure, imparting the essence and majesty of the outdoors.
- Pros: The flavors, all-natural, intense heat, and it's fun
- Cons: Takes longer, more expensive, embers don't stay hot as long
Wood Chips & Pellet Fuels
Grillmasters have employed wood chips for years to add mesquite flavor and smoke to their signature dishes. Yet with the last train, a young blood and new gunslinger has arrived in town with new ideas and techniques: wood pellet fuels. Both exhibit great talent in smoking, but pellet fuels excel in versatility and design.
Wood chips come in various wood types for many flavors and aromas. Their small size allows them to be used with other fuels, like charcoal or gas, yet also causes them to burn too quickly to make them a viable sole fuel source. Wood pellets are made from compressed sawdust, uniform in size, and available in many different wood types. However, because of their standardized size, they heat up almost as quickly as gas and can be used to maintain low temperatures for extended periods, perfect for smoking. Both fuels have their uses, creating rich smoky flavors that draw desperate men as a saloon draws drinkers and gamblers.
- Pros: Burn fast, versatile, rich smoke, various types
- Cons: Burns quickly, often need another fuel source, little direct heat
Infrared Sear Burner
Mixing science and culinary arts with a sleek, proficient signature, infrared technology boldly goes where no other fuel has before. Striving for perfect synergy between energy efficiency and flavor, the infrared sear burner provides a quick, intense sear, adept at locking in the natural juices and zest. Its warm, orange glow is reminiscent of 1960s science fiction, on a five-minute mission to sear and grill anything and everything without the mess and complications of other fuels.
Infrared burners are an ultramodern, green alternative to other grills and fuels, versatile enough to cook anything from steaks to poultry to vegetables and eradicate the process of maintaining an even burning fire. Resembling futuristic heat lamps, IR burners transfer the heat energy directly to the food instead of heating the air around the food, allowing for grilling in frigid conditions and with the lid open. With intense direct heat of more than 900 degrees, foods are quickly seared, locking in juices faster than other fuels, and any fluids that do drop on the burner are instantly vaporized, eliminating flare-ups.
- Pros: High heat, energy efficient, no mess or ash, grill in cold temperatures
- Cons: Direct heat only, no smoke or mesquite
Your Grill, Your Rules: The Benefits of a Hybrid Grill
Who said you have to choose just one type of fuel for your grill? With the hybrid grills that American Made Grills offers, you can use multiple fuels without needing various grills.
If you're a barbecue enthusiast, you know a grill can make all the difference in the world. That's why the Encore Grill and Muscle Grill are great choices with so many benefits. With gas or propane burners, you'll enjoy a fast heat-up time, and these grills offer more precise temperature control than other solid fuel grills. What's more, the patented fuel trays make it easy to handle a variety of fuel sources, including charcoal, lump coal, hardwood, pellets, and more.
Whether you're in the mood for a classic barbecue or a unique mesquite flavor, these hybrid grills have got you covered. Choose from built-in models or freestanding options, and customize to your heart's delight with unique features like side burners or additional attachments. With American Made Grills, you'll be barbecuing like a pro in no time!
Grill with All the Best Fuels with Hybrid Grills
Hybrid grills give cooks unprecedented freedom over how they cook their meals outdoors – allowing them flexible options depending on the fuel they choose for their cooking experience!
- Natural gas & liquid propane are both easy-to-use options
- Charcoal briquettes offer smoky flavor at an affordable price
- Lump charcoal provides intense flavor without having too much ash
- Lood chunks & hardwoods bring out earthy flavors
- Wood chips & pellet fuels provide steady heat without constant monitoring
- Infrared sear burners give you a fantastic sear every time
The possibilities are endless with hybrid grills from American Made Grills! Give each one a try; your stomach will thank you later!