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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 08-19-2010, 12:44 PM   #1
jlondon
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Default Questions: why a gas grill? Natural gas or propane tanks?

So we are in the process of having our natural gas line hooked up to our kitchen, and the contractor doing the work asked if we'd like to have it piped out to a gas grill outside. So I thought I'd seek some guidance from the brethren.

I have only EVER cooked on wood or charcoal grills, and I have always thought that the only real "benefit" of a gas grill is the instant flame/reliable fuel source.

Am I wrong? Are there OTHER benefits to having/using a gas grill?

Related, once a gas grill is to be used, what are the PROS and CONS of using propane tanks or having a natural gas hook-up.

Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated.
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Unread 08-19-2010, 12:47 PM   #2
MRI_Guy
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I have a gas grill on my wooden deck. The advantage of that is that cinders won't fall out of the grill and burn my house down.

I keep my smokers and charcoal grills downstairs in a bed of lava rocks.

I use the gas grill a fair amount because the deck is right off of the kitchen and I am often too lazy to run up and down the stairs to grill burgers.
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Unread 08-19-2010, 12:59 PM   #3
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i agree with mriguy, convinence is the primary reason to have a gas grill. we use it like an oven in the summer to avoid heating up the kitchen. it's perfect for when you come home from work and don't have the time/energy to fire up the charcoal grill as easy as that might be. my wife won't get charcoal going on her own, but she has no problem lighting and cooking on the gas grill. it's a no brainer if you can run a gas line. i think propane burns hotter than natural gas, but never having an empty tank or having to get a tank filled is pretty much a dream come true.
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Unread 08-19-2010, 01:00 PM   #4
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Gas/propane will cook the same. The grills just have to have a different fuel port to convert between Ngas and propane, I believe. At least that's how it works for Ngas vs propane indoor ranges/ovens.

There is the convenience thing, to be sure. I gave up on my gasser long ago and have never replaced it. Only RARELY do I wish for the "cooking within 5 minutes" that you get from a gas grill. Usually when it's farkin' HOT and I'm staring at the charcoal chimney, waiting for the coals to get lit so I can cook the steaks for about 5 minutes and then shut it all down. But.......not that often really.

The benefit of piping your Ngas out to the grill is that you'll not have to purchase propane tanks anymore. It's always a direct feed from the gas meter.

Up to you and depends on how you cook more often.
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Unread 08-19-2010, 01:05 PM   #5
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I would go natural gas for sure if it's an option, propane tanks are a pain and most likely end up costing more.

I love my gasser, the convenience can't be beat and we use it about 4 nights a week.
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Unread 08-19-2010, 01:07 PM   #6
Darko
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Yeah the only reason I had natural gas piped outside was so that I don't have worry about propane running out in the middle of a cook. Although I use charcoal 90% of the time, it's nice to have the slight convenience of the gasser.
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Unread 08-19-2010, 01:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny_Crunch View Post
I would go natural gas for sure if it's an option, propane tanks are a pain and most likely end up costing more.

I love my gasser, the convenience can't be beat and we use it about 4 nights a week.
+1

Never having to fill a propane tank would be great

My gas grill is what I use most weeknights. My old one was up to temp in 3-4 minutes, my new one takes about 10-15 (lined with firebrick). I can come home, pull out meat, let the dogs out (who did that? ) then fire up the gas grill on my way back in.

I love my gas grill and I'd never go without one - but I'm also from CA so I grew up with gas grills and most people only have gas grills.
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Unread 08-19-2010, 01:19 PM   #8
lfurl43142
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I have a natural gasser on the deck outside the kitchen and the Webers downstairs on the patio. I use the gasser when I dont feel like messing with fire (rarely), or it is really cold. My wife doesnt like when I roll the snow blower through the kitchen to clear snow off the deck, but she does like what comes off the grill which always tastes great in the dead of winter. You dont have to worry about cold weather with natural, but I hear it may affect the way liquid propane works.
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Unread 08-19-2010, 01:21 PM   #9
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Last house where I lived, I remodeled the kitchen, having NG run to it for a cooktop, and while I was at it, I had them run the NG to the outside since it was just a few feet. My thinking was that if I ever want to convert an LP cooking appliance to NG or run an NG outdoor fireplace, I can because it's there, and the cost difference was very minimal. Truth be told, I never used that pipe in the two years I lived there after completion, but I don't regret it.

When I bought my current house (new construction) and was specking it out, I once again said to run NG to the deck so that I can use it to fuel cooking or heating stuff. I've only been there a month and haven't used it yet, but I'm glad I had it run because it's future proofing. My only complaint is that they put it on one side of the deck, and right after I moved in I decided to pour a concrete patio on the other side, so I'll still probably have to have a plumber come out and put in a second nipple by the patio. No big deal.

If you have the option, it shouldn't cost much more, and I'd recommend doing it now so that you don't have to worry about later. It's an investment. As for why NG over LP? Cost, convenience, and surety. NG is much, much cheaper, you never have to run NG tanks to be refilled or exchanged, and you never have to worry about NG running out in the middle of a cold night or long cook. I think LP purns hotter. I'm not sure if that's because there are more BTUs in LP, because LP runs at a higher pressure, or a combination of the two, but that's the fact as I understand it. I wouldn't worry about it too much for a grill though.

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Unread 08-19-2010, 01:33 PM   #10
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I think everyone has pretty much summed it up. With gas, you lose some flavor and a lot of the fun of building the fire, but on the weekends, its kind of nice to walk outside and start cooking immedietly. Its also a lot less cleanup.
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Unread 08-19-2010, 01:40 PM   #11
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the natural gas is a lot cheaper than LP. if you already have a LP grill, it is a simple procedure of drilling out the gas orifices just a little. i forget the size but you can google it and get all the info you need. the reason for the larger orifices is that nat gas has a lot less pressure than LP. of course if you got to purchase a grill, just by the nat gas model. be sure to get one with a side burner, because it is great for lighting your charcoal chimney!! good luck.
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Unread 08-19-2010, 01:49 PM   #12
jlondon
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Thanks everyone for the guidance. This is VERY helpful. It does, indeed, sound like a no brainer to have the option put in.
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Unread 08-19-2010, 01:50 PM   #13
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There is a time and place for everything and you need one of everything to be ready.

I don't mind charcoals stacked in my garage, ash pans that need dumping, or black stuff all over my hands before I cook... but it can be a lot of work when the sun starts setting before 5:00 pm and it is cold and drizzling this winter and you only need to cook a half dozen chicken breasts or something quick. Chop up the chicken with onions and peppers and throw in a cast iron skillet on the side burner and make some sizzling fajitas. It is better than pan frying and keeps mess outside. Call me lazy, but I tend to grill much more when grill has gas (propane bottles seem to stay empty ) than just charcoal option. I am resorting to pan searing lots of stuff lately... everyone is always in a hurry and hungry NOW.

Get natural gas and no more empty bottles!! Get good gas grill (Weber Genesis or better) and be ready quick.

P.S. I recently thought my grill was broken and it was stupid propane tank safety shutoff malfunctioning (almost new tank)... I am over it... getting natural gas soon!! Several gas burning devices including burners caution people about the shutoff valve that has to be "reset" by waiting several minutes.
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Unread 08-19-2010, 04:04 PM   #14
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most certainly run a line out to your deck for future cooking options (I did when we built the house 5 years ago). You will definitely need a propane to NG conversion for your grill..they take different parts and one will not work with the other, but most grills can go either way
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Unread 08-19-2010, 04:24 PM   #15
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here is a pretty good page showing how to convert one.
http://www.terrylove.com/wwwboard/messages/9929.html
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