Cooking with Fire Part 2: Gas Cooking and Grilling

gas grilling

They say modern man really started advancing along the evolutionary track when they invented fire.  While that may be true, at Steak University we think things really started heating up when they learned how to grill meat over the BBQ.  If you’re a frequent reader of our scholarly and entertaining articles, you probably have already read part 1 in our grilling fuel series: Cooking With Charcoal.  Well, just like your momma said, it takes all types in life.  Today it’s time to fire up the barbie with something a little more modern: gas.  Cooking on a gas grill certainly has its plusses, and minuses and benefits to charcoal grilling.  With great fuel control comes great responsibility, though, which is why we are also bringing you some of our favorite gas grilling tips to make sure your next BBQ adventure with your gourmet Chicago Steak Company steaks ends in success.

The Benefits of Grilling on a Gas Grill

Cooking on a gas grill may make some traditional grilling enthusiasts squirm, but there are a variety of benefits from embracing modern technology.  To name just a few:

  • Quick Prep Time – With gas grilling there’s no need to pre-heat coals and wait for embers. Simply turn on the dial and “poof” you have flame and heat.
  • Consistent Heat – Charcoal is a finite source of fuel. This means that temperatures will rise and lower as the fire burns up the remaining wood, leading to variations of temperature over an extended time.  This may be fine for short grilling of one or two steaks, but when grilling on a gas grill for a large party the gas will keep your flame hot as long as your tank is full.
  • Easier Heat Control – Adjusting the heat when grilling with charcoal is possible, but it takes a bit of trial and error and a good amount of finagling with BBQ lids and grate heights. With gas, simply turn the burner down for cooler temps or to adjust on the go for sides or thinner cuts of beef.
  • Easy Clean Up – Last but not least, charcoal can get a bit messy and requires not only cleanup of your grate but emptying your coals in a safe manner after they’ve cooled. If you like easy, no fuss cleanup, gas grilling is certainly for you.

Gas Grilling Tips

Now that we’ve touted the benefits of cooking on a gas grill, let’s talk prep and tips.  First, you’ll want to select a gas grill for your backyard, if you don’t own one already that is.  We suggest keeping things simple with a double burner model for beginners.  A heavy-duty grill is also a must for withstanding high temperatures and multiple uses and cleanings.

For prep, you’ll want to be sure that your gas tank is full.  If you haven’t used your grill in a while you should probably pre-test the flame to avoid finding out you’re on empty in the middle of a cooking cycle.  Pro BBQ fanatics will tell you that one of their best gas grilling tips is to always keep a spare tank around for quick changeouts and continuous flame action.

Finally, when it comes to how to cook on a gas grill, follow the same instructions as if you were cooking indoors on the stove.  Grill your steaks for no more than 2-3 minutes per side, depending on thickness, and cook to a perfect medium rare (120 – 130° F).  A digital read thermometer is especially handy of grilling on a gas grill.  A good pair of tongs, a cool drink and serving platters are the only other items you’ll need to be grilling like a pro in no time.

The Final Word on Cooking on a Gas Grill

When it comes down to it, both charcoal and gas grilling have their advantages.  Each method provides a distinct flavor and experience.  A true steak connoisseur knows better than to discount either method.  Try gas and charcoal grilling out for yourself and experience the differences and commonalities between flavor and convenience of cooking.  Who knows, maybe you’ll end up a lover of both and will find yourself upgrading to a charcoal and gas grilling hybrid BBQ.  But that’s an article for another day…