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View Full Version : Wood burning vs propane vs charcoal


Zedsdead
03-17-2010, 03:05 PM
Can anyone tell me the pro's and con's of each grill in terms of cooking time, taste, health concerns, etc?

I think I'm gonna buy a trager grill but I'm undecided still

bocephus
03-17-2010, 03:12 PM
I think this could be a he!! of a thread, alot of people think what they do is the best, I will say that I have used charcoal, propane and some stick burning, I do not like propane, and havent used it in a long time, I use charcoal for low and slow, and grilling, the stick burning I did I only did twice, I think it would be great, but I need much more practice before I could say. for the best combination of taste and ease, I use charcoal! :-D

Alan in Ga
03-17-2010, 03:19 PM
I use a combo wood and charcoal in the UDS and sticks in the offset. I havent used propane in years. As far as taste I get smokey flavor from the offset and not as much on the UDS but I wouldnt trade either.

deguerre
03-17-2010, 03:26 PM
I really like my GOSM which uses propane - it's forgiving and will get to fairly good oven temps even and is easy to use - but I've never used coal for anything but straight hot and fast grilling...until I found this site. I recently purchased a 22 1/2" Weber OTS which I plan for both low and slow and for hot and fast as well as medium temp indirect cooks. However, I gots lotsa learnin to do!

gsmith
03-17-2010, 03:47 PM
I have a trailer'd stick burner which is 20" diameter, 20" firebox, 40" horizontal with a 20"x20" vertical. I love it but it is a labor of love. I am adding sticks every 15-35 minutes depending on weather conditions. It would help if the firebox was insulated but it isn't so I just deal with it. the other thing is that it likes smaller pieces of wood, I'm talking 1.5"-2" diameter by 14-16" long.

I use charcoal in my 18" WSM with a couple of wood chunks and it works very nicely. Almost a set it and forget it

i don't cook with gas but I do use it to start my fires on the stick burner :lol:

I prefer the taste of teh food from the stick burner and people really love it when I show up towing it as there aren't too many in eastern CT

Lake Dogs
03-17-2010, 03:49 PM
When it gets right down to it, it's personal style and taste. I, personally, prefer a good
smoke flavor that's not overblown (not TOO much smoke so that's all you taste) to
compliment the spices in the rub and enhances the meat flavor and gives us a good
flavorful bark. With that, I use offset stick burners where I mix charcoal & hardwood
(hickory & small amounts of oak). But, that's my personal preference. If you prefer
something different, by all means welcome and best of luck.

As far as cooking time goes, that's more a matter of the temperature you're using
and the meat that you're cooking, not the cooker itself (generally).

As far as health concerns.... It's BBQ. I wouldn't put it way up the chart on health
foods. Meat. Please, dont BBQ tofu, and if you do, dont tell anyone! :-)

deguerre
03-17-2010, 03:54 PM
When it gets right down to it, it's personal style and taste. I, personally, prefer a good
smoke flavor that's not overblown (not TOO much smoke so that's all you taste) to
compliment the spices in the rub and enhances the meat flavor and gives us a good
flavorful bark. With that, I use offset stick burners where I mix charcoal & hardwood (hickory & small amounts of oak). But, that's my personal preference. If you prefer
something different, by all means welcome and best of luck.
Which is really good advice. Whatever works for you and what you like will determine your own personal choice.

Bacchus
03-17-2010, 03:57 PM
Does propane really belong in the conversation? :icon_shock1:

I prefer hardwood lump charcoal, adding a little wood for lo/slo.

Chef Jim
03-17-2010, 04:02 PM
I looked at a Trager many years ago. I liked what I saw but I wondered about getting pellets. It looks to be quite easy to use in that if I remember it is self feeding.

But, are you limited to pellets? I think so.

So IMHO, a smoker that you can burn different wood or charcoal is more convenient. Easier to get fuel in a pinch.

Health concerns? If it tastes good, who gives a chit.

Jim

deguerre
03-17-2010, 04:12 PM
Does propane really belong in the conversation?

I prefer hardwood lump charcoal, adding a little wood for lo/slo.
It does if you are producing smoke with it and it can make for some very satisfying results. :-D

grillzilla10
03-17-2010, 04:35 PM
I have a tow behind grill that has an offset smoker box and two large propane burners in the bottom of it. I can use the smoker box and the burners at the same time to get some of the smoke flavor at any heat I want or need. I know this not bbq but it is handy to hurry up and get finished when there is a major thunderstorm about 45 mins. away . I feel that as much money that I have in my toy ,I feel that I should be able to cook anything from grilled hot dogs to an whole hog (<100 lbs) on it. So I enjoy using all of the above.

MushCreek
03-17-2010, 05:19 PM
I do everything on my UDS now- regular charcoal for most things, but I crank up lump for an intense fire for steaks. My fire basket can be mounted right under the top grate when I want to blast something. We have a Weber gasser for those casual weekday cooks when there's no time for charcoal- my wife loves it. The food tastes better than doing it in a frying pan, so I'm glad we have the gasser.

Ron_L
03-17-2010, 06:40 PM
Does propane really belong in the conversation?

Sure it does. Zedsdead asked about it.

Here is my quick summary...

Propane - Fast startup, easy control of temps, no smoke flavor unless you add a "smoke bomb" (wood chips of pellets in a foil packet or box)

Charcoal (not in the original question, but another valid choice) - Readily available fuel, longer startup, control of temp requires some learning curve (depends on smoker type). Mild smoke flavor but can be enhanced by adding wood chunks or chips.

Wood Burning - Longer startup, can be maintenance intensive (depends on smoker type), stronger wood flavor. In some areas fuel may be harder to get. Temperature control requires some learning curve (depends on smoker type)

Zedsdead, It is interesting that you mentioned that you are thinking about buying a Traeger grill but you didn't ask about pellets. Here is my summary...

Pellets - Fast startup (not as fast as gas, but close). Mild to medium smoke flavor (depends on smoker type and how you use it). Easy temp control. Does require some learning curve to get the most of the the smoker/grill.

barbefunkoramaque
03-17-2010, 07:20 PM
38684
Wood (Stick Burning)

38681
Charcoal Burners

38682
Propane

38683
Pellets

Lake Dogs
03-17-2010, 07:41 PM
Pictures, certainly worth 1,000 words. Thanks Funky!!!

jestridge
03-17-2010, 07:56 PM
I only use wood too cheap to buy propane and charcoal.

Bacchus
03-17-2010, 07:56 PM
LOL. My first LOL of the night, thanks!

barbefunkoramaque
03-17-2010, 08:43 PM
LOL. My first LOL of the night, thanks!

please, no hate mail I am just jok... saying

Odin the Dog
03-17-2010, 09:50 PM
Rip Taylor? Come on you FARKER! This should be the charcoal guy.


38691

Bacchus
03-17-2010, 10:03 PM
Hopefully everyone can take a joke. Heck, Im a "Rip" guy. :-D But yeah, charcoal deserves a more manly Icon.

barbefunkoramaque
03-17-2010, 10:03 PM
But William Holden is not Gay Like Rip Taylor... In the picture is Bill Holden looking at Rip Taylor or at least thinking of how silly charcoal is?

barbefunkoramaque
03-17-2010, 10:04 PM
okay okay charcoal can be Lance Bass sheesh

Bacchus
03-17-2010, 10:08 PM
But pellet is the fairiest of them all?

Zedsdead
03-18-2010, 12:04 AM
So if I bought one of the green egg charcoal grillsi could add some wood pellets to the charcoal when I cooked?

Bacchus
03-18-2010, 12:08 AM
You would add wood chunks, and it doesnt take much. The hardwood lump itself releases a good amount of smoke flavor on its own.

LT72884
03-18-2010, 12:28 AM
I prefer the taste of the food from the stick burner and people really love it when I show up towing it as there aren't too many in eastern CT

How does the taste differ from the WSM than the stick burner? m just curious is all. Is there a diffence between using all natural lump charcoal as a fuel source vs using wood logs? flavor wise that is?

thanx

LT72884
03-18-2010, 12:34 AM
LOL, i met richard simmons once. My mom was teaching a medical seminar at the U of U and he was there as well. lol good times

JiveTurkey
03-18-2010, 12:52 AM
Gassers UNITE!!!

http://i147.photobucket.com/albums/r298/jbone1200/bbq/DSC02175.jpg

tjus77
03-18-2010, 08:51 AM
I use a gasser during the week for quick cooks, not as good as charcoal or lump, but better than a griddle or broiling.

I generally use charcoal in my grill, but occassionaly use lump if I need a longer or hotter burn. Lump to start my offset, then sticks all the way.

When I had my small offset, I used charcoal and small chunks of hardwood for smoke.

I like tending fire, even when I am dead tired or up all night.

Ron_L
03-18-2010, 09:51 AM
So if I bought one of the green egg charcoal grillsi could add some wood pellets to the charcoal when I cooked?

Sure. You could either put them in a foil packet or distribute them throughout the lump like you would do with wood chips. You would get more smoke flavor with chunks, but pellets or chips work.

Mark
03-18-2010, 03:35 PM
please, no hate mail I am just jok... saying

Yeah but you forgot electric:

barbefunkoramaque
03-18-2010, 03:52 PM
thats cuz electric is in fact, not bbq. its heat ringing meat