A question that often comes along for many of us “flavor enthusiasts” is: Is Gas Grill Healthier Than Charcoal?
We will address many of the benefits and potential health issues between the two options so you can decide which you’ll use with confidence.
Why We Love Charcoal Grills
Charcoal Grills bring a unique, rich, smoky taste to the table that is unmatchable. They are cost effective. Charcoal grills really bring the authenticity and simplicity to the event of grilling that we can all love and appreciate. I personally love watching the charcoals turn grey. Charcoal grills make for a healthy option when trying to consume less fat. The fats on meats drip away from the meat rather than soak into it if you were cooking them in a pan or skillet.
Why We Love Gas Grills
Who doesn’t love the convenience of turning a handle and clicking a button to get things going? Gas grills are quite convenient to use. You simply get them going and have knobs to change the intensity of the heat. Typically, gas grills are available in larger sizes with multiple racks which provides you with more cooking space. Meats still produce natural smoke when sizzling on the grill which does in turn enhance the flavor compared to cooking in a pan or skillet. When it comes to temperature control and overall cooking control, gas grills are usually favored.
What Are the High Temperature Cooking Problems?
HCA’s (Heterocylic Amines) are produced when proteins are cooked at very high temperatures. HCA’s have been discovered to give cancer to lab animals. There has been no study indicating the same results for humans. This gives the gas grill a huge health advantage over the charcoal grill due to the fact that you are able to have much more control over the amount of heat and flame that the foods are exposed to. With charcoal grills, it is much harder to control this and therefore leaves it at higher risk of creating more HCA’s present in the food. Gas grills are favored when it comes to temperature control.
What Are the Dangers of Charcoal?
First off, if you are using petroleum-based lighter fluid, you are adding a health risk on the spot separate from charcoal. It itself produces Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) and leaves petroleum residue on the food and in your precious lungs! The average bear does use lighter fluid in order to get their coals burning so make sure you do some research for alternative solutions to get your coal burning. You can check out electric coal starters (typically $10-20) for a healthy approach of lighting your coals. Charcoals are also a little more unpredictable when it comes to the intensity of the flame which can put you or others at harm of fire and/or risk of burn. Charcoal also produces carbon monoxide, a deadly gas if inhaled directly. Make sure to separate yourself and be in a well-ventilated area if doing charcoal grilling to further decrease health risks.
Which One is Healthier?
As it may be known that many cooks prefer to use charcoal to cook to further enhance the flavor of their feasts, it is a route that should be less traveled. To prevent some of the harmful carcinogens and HCA’s, it has been a practice to marinate your meats for 30m or longer to reduce the negative effects absorbed into the food by cooking with charcoal. It may actually reduce up to 90% of the harmful chemicals absorbed that have been told to cause cancer. 10% is still more than I’d like to play with personally. On rare occasion, charcoal is a great choice for flavor filled entrees.
Gas Grills are much more healthy. There are no known chemicals being absorbed into your foods except the equivalent risk of HCA’s (when food is cooked at high temperature). However, the temperature control on gas grills gives you the opportunity to eliminate that risk entirely. Gas grills still provide the same benefit of charcoal grills when it comes to leaving the cooked product with less fat. However, there are less physical risks and many less health risks involved when using a gas grill.
Is Gas Grill Healthier Than Charcoal?
Is Gas Grill Healthier Than Charcoal? Yes. There are certain ways to minimize the health risks involved with charcoal grilling e.g. marinating, using alternative options to ignite the coals. However, there are too many factors that make it a health risk to actively cook with charcoal. If used in moderation, it is probably just fine to grill with charcoal. If you are a grilling enthusiast, using a gas grill is essential. You provide yourself with an overall superior product, especially when it comes to your health.