Gas vs Charcoal Barbecues: Ultimate BBQ Questions

The flame war between charcoal and gas BBQs has raged on for years. But what exactly is the distinction between these two grills? How are they different from each other, and which type of BBQ grill should you go for? To help you choose the perfect BBQ, we’ve put together a helpful list with lots of tips!

The Taste

Grilled meat, sausages, and kebab skewers on a flaming BBQ grill.

(Image Credit: Rawpixel)

When it comes to flavour, a charcoal BBQ gives off a traditional, typical, and smokier flavour. As meat drippings meet the flames, they vaporise, infusing the meat with a rich, smokey aroma. This adds depth and character to your barbecue. If you appreciate the authentic flavours associated with outdoor cooking, go for charcoal.

Gas grills, in contrast, offer a distinct flavour reminiscent of bacon. The secret lies in their design, featuring a ceramic or metal slab that covers the same. This, in turn, produces more steam during the cooking process. This infusion imparts a bacon-like essence to your dishes. Moreover, it leaves your meat juicier compared to the drier environment of a charcoal BBQ.

Cooking Time

Grilling meat on a barbecue.

(Image Credit: Needpix)

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If you’re gearing up to host a BBQ party and aiming for a swift start to the cooking process, a gas grill is your top choice. These grills boast a rapid heating feature, allowing you to commence cooking in no time. Within a mere 10 minutes, it can reach an optimal temperature. This ensures you spend less time waiting and more time enjoying the company of your guests. Most importantly, the delicious aroma of sizzling barbecue. This makes a gas grill an efficient and time-saving solution.

Tip: For small gardens, a single or double-burner gas grill provides ample cooking space. Opt for compact designs like tabletop models. In larger spaces, consider 3 burger gas BBQ or more (e.g. six burner barbecue) to accommodate more food. Look for features like side burners for versatility. Adjust the size based on your garden’s dimensions and entertaining needs.

On the flip side, a charcoal grill demands more time for preheating. This could potentially delay your serving time, especially if you’re in a hurry. But if time allows and you aim to impress your authentic smokiness, it becomes a worthy choice. The longer preheating time is worth it for the unique and genuine smoky flavours in your meals. A kettle BBQ, for one, makes a great choice if you value taste more than speed.

Temperature Control

Steak cooking on an open-flame grill.

(Image Credit: Flickr)

Enjoy the flexibility of temperature control when using a gas grill. Similar to your kitchen stove, it allows you to adjust the heat levels effortlessly. This provides you with the freedom to cook at lower or higher temperatures as needed. In unexpected rain during your outdoor bash, one remains unaffected by strong winds. You won’t have to worry about the gusts blowing away your source of flame! This flexibility makes it a great pick if you want control and reliability in various weather.

When using a charcoal grill, maintaining a constant temperature adds up to the task. Otherwise, you’re likely to burn or overcook your barbecue delights. The flame also requires vigilant supervision for optimal results. To ensure precision in your cooking, consider utilising an instant-read meat thermometer. This handy tool allows you to gauge the internal temperature of your food accurately. It guarantees that it reaches the desired doneness without any guesswork.

Always pay attention to temperatures to make your grilled food taste better. This ensures a tasty and well-cooked barbecue, regardless of your grilling skill.


Cooking on charcoal and gas grills involves potential risks that require careful consideration. Charcoal BBQs pose the risk of igniting charcoal when exposed to wind. This emphasises the need for cautious usage in breezy conditions. Meanwhile, gas grills, if not properly maintained, may be susceptible to explosions. This is particularly the case when the gas valve is neglected.

Temperatures exceeding 160 degrees Celsius can also elevate pressure within the gas tank. This can create a hazardous situation that could result in an explosion. To ensure safe grilling, always follow proper usage guidelines. Maintain your equipment regularly and be vigilant about potential risks associated with both. Prioritising safety measures enhances your grilling experience while minimising potential hazards. In conclusion, when both are used properly, they’re safe, and there’s nothing to worry about.

Tip: Always keep a fire extinguisher nearby while grilling. If flames unexpectedly occur, having one nearby ensures a fast and effective response. Safety first!


BillyOh Texas Charcoal Smoker BBQ
BillyOh Texas Charcoal Smoker BBQ

Consider the cost factors when choosing between gas and charcoal BBQs. Best gas BBQ UK are typically pricier due to added features such as side burners and storage racks. At BillyOh, gas BBQs range from £200 to £700, depending on the model, design, and number of burners.

However, for those seeking a budget-friendly option, charcoal barbecues are a great choice. On the same platform, these BBQs are priced at £50 – £200, offering a cost-effective alternative. Consider what you like, your budget, and the features you want to decide on the best grill for your needs.


In the gas vs charcoal barbecue debate, both options have their merits. Gas grills offer convenience and speedy heating. Meanwhile, charcoal grills provide that authentic smoky flavour. Evaluate your priorities: convenience and control or traditional taste? Consider your budget and preferences. The ultimate choice depends on what suits your grilling style and preferences.

Discover the range at BillyOh for both gas and charcoal BBQs. Explore our other options, including BBQ smoker UK, hybrid BBQ grill, and fire pit BBQ models.

Up next on your reading list: What Is a BBQ Smoker?