So what are the main benefits of charcoal barbeque grills over their now popular gas alternatives? - a common question asked by many entry level grillers and bbq lovers.
While gas grills has become very widely used today for their convenience and fast cooking, conventional charcoal grill and smokers still can not be replaced for their unique cooking characteristics.
To properly answer the question above, we need to both look at the benefits of a barbeque charcoal grills and their effect on our health to weight out the pros and cons. Then you can decide for yourself whether charcoal grills are worthy outdoor experience for you and your family.
Pure barbecue lovers quite often prefer barbecue grill with charcoal burner for its authentic taste and richly infused smoky flavor meat. Steaks, thin slices of meat like bacons, bratwurst, brisket, salmon and other fish dishes also retain their moisture and tenderness due to slow smoke-cooking process that is usually enclosed within charcoal smoking unit.
During this long cooking session, (typically between two hours to even one or two days), fat and unhealthy grease also get their chance to drip out of barbecue - a process which can also be referred to as "meat sweating". So while preserving moisture and vital nutrition, such as vitamins, charcoal barbecue grill also helps to reduce fat intake and avoid many high cholesterol level related illnesses such as heart decease.
While many purists would say that charcoal is the best pick to fully experience outdoor barbecue grilling, there are also environmental and health concerns related to barbeque grills and smokers.
Because charcoal requires burning of wood, it creates hydrocarbon and carbon monoxides which pollute the air. In addition, in 2003, scientists from Rice University after some study found that poly-unsaturated fatty acids as the result of burning charcoals also contributed to the atmosphere pollution in Houston.
Another impact on health is the risk of cancer. Grilling meat from charcoal barbeque grills can potentially produce hazardous carcinogenic compounds, called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic aromatic amines (HAA). These chemicals are created when fat dripped from meat come into contact with burning charcoal, then they evaporate in form of smoke and get deposited back into charred parts of barbecue meat. The hotter the cooking temperature is and the longer the smoking session lasts, the higher the risk of food poisoning. This phenomenon can actually happen when you broil and pan-fry meat as well.
The first solution is to use natural charcoals instead of commercially processed charcoals that are pre-soaked with poisonous chemicals and petroleum bases. Whether you burn lumps or briquettes, they are still the same. One of such so-called natural charcoal brands is "Noram de Mexico’s Sierra Madre 100% oak hardwood" which can be bought at Sam’s Clubs across the States.
You can also raise your own awareness of food safety and learn how to recognize the warning signs usually used in the food industry. A site called Food-Safety-and-You.com has a great resource of all things related to the safety of food and cooking to help you avoid buying toxic products.
Many experienced barbecue lovers and experts advise us to cook charcoal barbeque grills on low temperature and reduce the cooking time to minimal as possible. One of many ways to lower temperature and keep grilling time short is to use charcoal smokers with completely sealed lids, such as charcoal kettle grills. These types of barbecue smokers are often very affordable (you can one for just under $50, like the Weber One touch Silver) and the same time considerably portable grills that are designed for ease of transportation on your backyard.
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