Gas Grill Or Charcoal Grill: Which One Is Healthier? When it comes to flavorful barbecued food items, especially meats, barbecue lovers seem to be forever divided between gas grills and charcoal grills. While as “flavor enthusiasts” we are mostly concerned about the taste, there are numerous other factors associated that must be evaluated before pinpointing one as better than the other. Care to know which of these two is healthier? Here’s your answer –
Reason We Love Charcoal Grills
If you are someone who absolutely loves that rich, smokey flavor in their barbecues, then charcoal grills are indispensable for you. Charcoal grills offer you unmatched authenticity alongside extreme ease of usage. Charcoal grills also cook extremely healthy delicacies. While cooking on charcoal grills, the fats on meats drip away from the meat rather than soak into it. Hence, when comparing it to alternatives such as cooking on pans or skillets, charcoal grills are better options any day.
Reason We Love Gas Grills
If you are not an expert cook and just love the ease of access provided by gas stoves, gas grills are perfect options for you. Thanks to their heat setting knobs, you have authority over the amount of heat you require at various stages of cooking. Since the gas grills are available in larger sizes and have multiple racks, it provides the chef with ample cooking space, much more than traditional charcoal grills.
Although it does not provide the charcoal-like smoky flavor, since gas grills also produce natural smoke, the flavor is enhanced manifold in comparison to cooking on a pan or a skillet. Further, when it comes to having a control over temperature alongside an intrinsic control over cooking, gas grills are favored over their charcoal counterparts.
Problems Faced During High-Temperature Cooking
We have all heard that meats should be cooked above a certain temperature. However, it must also be noted here that meats, when cooked at exceedingly higher temperatures, tend to become poisonous. When proteins are cooked at higher temperatures, they tend to give way to Heterocyclic Amines or HCA.
When these HCAs were tested under laboratory situations, they had been caught giving cancers to the lab animals. Although there has been no proof of HCA giving human beings cancer, prevention is always better than cure. However, looking from this perspective, the gas grills enjoy supremacy over their charcoal counterparts manifold.
In a gas grill, you enjoy the liberty to change and tweak the heat settings and direct flame coverage as and when you feel like. On the contrary, in charcoal grills, it is an extremely difficult task to control the heat settings. As a result, there’s a higher risk of creating HCA in meat when cooking on a charcoal grill.
Is Charcoal Dangerous For You?
This is an important category that needs to be read in detail. Firstly, whether or not charcoal is dangerous depends on the lighter you are using. In case you are using a petroleum-based lighter fluid, there is a greater health risk involved therein that is separate from charcoal.
The petroleum-based lighter is guilty of producing VOC or Volatile Organic Compound that has been found to leave petroleum residue on the cooked food and also in your lungs! While the flame can be lit in various other ways, the average person uses a lighter to make it easier and faster. So, in case you are also using this method, try doing research on the various alternatives to get your coal burning. We promise the alternatives are also pretty hassle-free. For example, there are electric coal lighters available nowadays, which typically costs between $10 and $20.
Apart from being healthy, they last you much longer compared to the petroleum-based lighters.
Next, charcoals also tend to become pretty unpredictable at times for it uses open flame that is hard to tame and kept within control. This high intensity flame, can put everyone present in the barbecue at the risk of getting a burn or creating a fire. Apart from this, burning charcoal emits carbon monoxide, which is a pretty deadly gas when inhaled directly.
The best way to tackle these problems is to cook in a properly ventilated area when grilling meats over charcoal. This decreases all the health risks associated with this form of grills.
Which Among The Two Grills Is Healthier?
While gas grills may tend to be healthier alternatives to charcoal, many chefs still prefer using the good ol’ charcoal grills to enhance the palate of their spread. However, studies claim that it should be a route lesser traveled.
If you are cooking on charcoal, make sure to marinate your meats properly over 30 minutes or longer to prevent HCAs and numerous harmful carcinogens from getting activated. Marinating also reduces the negative elements from absorbing into the food. In fact, proper marination before cooking over charcoal may actually reduce the absorption of up to 90% of the carcinogens that might be found in the meat.
All in all, you can definitely cook with charcoal keeping the side-effects in mind. But if you ask our opinion, we would ask you to make charcoal-grilled meats a rare-occasion treat. After all, we can’t deny the flavorful entrees charcoal grills produce!
Having said that, there is no doubt that gas grills are much healthier alternatives. To start with, gas grills does not act as a known passage of harmful chemicals into the food that is being cooked. Of course, there is a risk of HCAs since the barbecues are generally done on higher temperature.
However, since you have supremacy over the temperature settings on gas grills, it provides you with a possibility of eliminating the risk of HCA entirely. Gas grills have the capability of providing almost similar benefits of charcoal grills when it comes to cooking meat with lesser fat. However, when compared to the latter, the gas grills accompany lesser risks – both physical and health-wise.
Is Gas Grill A Healthier Alternative To Charcoal?
Does grilling on gas ovens mean healthier food in comparison to their charcoal counterparts? Yes. However, there are numerous ways you can minimize the associated risks of using charcoal grills, like proper marination and use of alternative means to ignite charcoals. However, if you are actively cooking over charcoal, there might be a list of health complexities that you may invite eventually. If you can use the same in moderation, it is probably okay to grill with charcoal once-in-a-while.
Meanwhile, If you are a grilling enthusiast and grill food often, it is always recommended that you use a gas grill. After all, your health matters and you should always use superior products when it comes to food and health.