Uncommon Knowledge: Does charcoal or gas make better BBQ?

BBQ Briefcase | UncommonGoodsThis is a debate that rages on in barbecue country, with passionate advocates on both sides. But when a blind taste test was conducted, it was discovered that most people can’t actually taste any difference between the two. It’s a tie! The exception appears to be in cases where the food in question needs to be cooked for a long time—and then charcoal appears to have the upper hand. What gives it that slight advantage? Smoke. Some gas grills have built in “vaporizers” that create smoke from dripping grease, but it’s not the kind of smoke that imparts much flavor to the food. But on the other hand, charcoal doesn’t get a free ride for flavor, either. A lot of quick-starting charcoal has added chemicals or is made using sawdust and glue, which can add an unpleasant taste to your foods. It seems that, in the end, either charcoal or gas can be great as long as the barbecuing is (eh-hem) well done.

BBQ Briefcase, $83

Written by Nathan

Nathan is a copywriter, who helps create our product descriptions as well as our weekly emails. He is also a nationally award-winning musical theater writer, whose work includes an adaptation of Lois Lowry’s novel The Giver. Nathan has also been a classical violinist, tutored Kazakhstani jewelers in entrepreneurship, created large-scale games played across entire city blocks, served as a missionary in South Korea, conducted experiments in sonoluminescence, co-founded an exotic fruit-growing business, was a theater critic for Tucson Weekly, and as a teenager composed a women’s jazz quartet that is currently performed around the world.

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