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Gas grills

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Post Mon Mar 22, 2004 8:09 pm
p027287 raw
raw

Posts: 1
I own a Weber Summit Gold Supergrill with built in smoker box.......and i use it frequently for making brisket and pulled pork etc.......I think it tastes awesome, and I have Steven to thank for teaching me......but i feel like i am missing out by using gas.......

My question is this........even on this Supergrill......is gas inferior for smoking??

Post Mon Mar 22, 2004 10:54 pm
sharky medium-rare
medium-rare

Posts: 72
I love gas Grills... But absolutely. Gas is inferior for smoking. It gives you a little flavor, but charcoal with big wood chunks wins hands down

Post Mon Mar 22, 2004 11:15 pm
YardBurner BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 5370
Location: Damascus, Maryland
Grand Scale might be able to offer some input.

My only thought is if a Summit can maintain a low enough temp to approximate true smoking.

It's not that hard to generate a significant amount of smoke with a gas grill using a combination of soaked chips, foil logs and foil "pillows". (Make a double layer foil pouch, fill with soaked chips, seal all edges tight and poke one hole in what will be the top.)
If you make a large enough packet it will last a pretty long time.

I usually make them about six inches square by 2 or 3 inches thick. The more chips you can stuff into it the longer it will last. And soak the chips really well. They'll smolder longer. With experience you will figure out how long they will last and you can add more as needed.

But at most you will end up with smoke flavoring, not true slow smoking, which is the crock pot of the grilling world. The meat fibers need to break down over a long period with low temperatures.

You could season a pot roast perfectly, cook it too quickly and at too high a heat and it will taste fine but take forever to chew.

Post Tue Mar 23, 2004 12:24 am
ThrRoff well done
well done

Posts: 999
Location: Washington, DC

Opening myself to the wrath of some frequent posters here, I will have to say that one cannot get complete true smoking flavor using gas. (Oh, here comes Grand Scale.) A good part of the flavor seems to come from the whole 12 to 18 hour activity of watching the slow fire. And, I know there are commercial BBQ rigs that use gas, but I don’t think we are talking about those.
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Post Tue Mar 23, 2004 2:13 am
Vinsect well done
well done

Posts: 576
Location: Middle Tennessee
Just out of curiosity, are you spending a fortune in propane running your grill that long?
In my opinion the really great thing about gas grills is convenience. Charcoal and especially real wood chunks offer a superior flavor though.
I personally use both. I think a gas grill is ideal for reheating leftovers and for cooking smaller pieces of meat. Leftovers usually taste even better the second time around if you grill them. For larger cuts of meat like roasts, whole poultry, briskets, pork shoulders etc, I think you'll find that real wood is the way to go.
Consider a Weber One-Touch Gold or Platinum and a firewood rack. Have someone deliver a load of hardwood of your choice. Get a charcoal chimney starter and a polder thermometer. Then head to the grocery store.
If it aint broke, Break it!
Then rebuild it better.

Post Tue Mar 23, 2004 8:58 am
Grand Scale BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 4272
Location: York, PA
I sensed you guys were talking about me.
Now here's the shocker. I agree with the guys. If you are a die hard purest then there is a hierarchy. And Wood is at the top, followed by charcoal. No doubt about it. BUT please do not believe that you can't smoke meats with gas. Can you put out a perfect 10 each time maybe not but I'm here to tell you brother I've put out some mean foods using gas (natural or propane). That said. Your Summit will smoke, and smoke well. It will not smoke as hard, the flavor will be milder and the smoke ring thinner but still good. The trick to staying low is just using the smoker burner and ignoring the rest, if necessary use the burner farthest away from the smoker box on the lowest setting. More on that later. That said a smoker will out preform your Summitt. Heavier flavor and deep smoke ring. I use both depending on what I'm cooking. 4 hours and under go in the Summitt and over that goes in the smoker. It all comes down to personal preference. I like gas, others like lighting things on fire (so do I actually) but for me gas is where its at. Now back to your Summitt, try this, don't think of your smoker box as a smoker box, think of it as a flavor enhancer. I use wood all the time with my gas, I find that even though its not smoking, that by adding a few chunks to the smoker box on high enhances any meat getting closer to the charcoal wood flavor. Its there, I use it. So technically I use wood almost every meal, just in smaller quantities. Now I will never turn down an opportunity to cook on or eat food prepared by "true" fire, just the same as I've never met a person who turned down the opportunity to cook or eat food from gas (at least not at MY house!)

Some guys like Chevys some guys like Fords, both get you from point a to point b.
As long as you're grilling over a flame and putting out good food, to me, the rest is inconsequential.
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Post Tue Mar 23, 2004 11:11 am
Bob-BQN User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 12904
Location: Texas
p027287 Welcome to the Barbecue Bible. Nice grill! Even though the “Gas vs. Wood” fuels have their advocates, most will agree that charcoal and wood fuels improve the flavor of smoked foods. I have both gas and charcoal vertical smokers. Although there is a noticeable difference in the food produced, it is subtle.

If you're curious about cooking with charcoal or wood you might ask to borrow a smoker from a friend and try it out some weekend. You will be in for a fun challenge. There are a few more variables involved in keeping a constant temperature; how much fuel to use, when to add more, open or close the vents, etc. You should at least give it a try…at worst you will only find the answer to your question…or you may find a whole new obsession!
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Post Tue Mar 23, 2004 1:20 pm
PaulP well done
well done

Posts: 681
Location: Beautiful St. Mary's County, Maryland
Grand Scale -- EXCELLENT post!

I regularly lurk at alt.food.barbecue, the home of the barbecue purists. Believe me, thease people are hard-core. I've seen them rip apart someone who happens to call grilling barbecuing. Here's their definition of barbecue from their FAQ ( http://www.bbq-porch.org/faq.asp ):

There are many interpretations of the term 'barbecue' in the world. Some people use it to describe a social gathering and cooking outdoors. Others use it to describe grilling food. For our purpose here, we are using the term to describe meat, slow-cooked, using wood smoke to add flavor. There is equipment designed just for this type of cooking.

Barbecuing is not grilling. Grilling is cooking over direct heat, usually a hot fire for a short time. Barbecuing is cooking by using indirect heat or low-level direct radiant heat at lower temperatures and longer cooking times. The distinction between barbecuing and grilling is the heat level and the intensity of the radiant heat. It is the smoke from the burning wood that gives barbecue its unique and delicious flavor.


THere's nothing in there about heat source. The relevent phrases are: "slow-cooked", "wood smoke to add flavor", "lower temperatures", and "longer cooking times."

Here's another definition from their FAQ:
Lazy-Que
A somewhat-derogatory term used by wood-burning smoker traditionalists referring to those who choose to barbecue by using gas or electricity to fuel their pits and wood chips and or chunks for smoke. The Lazy-Q'ers thereby relieve themselves of the necessity to expend any but the most trivial effort in the act of barbecuing


So even they admit that gas or electricity is an acceptable way to cook barbecue.

As far as there being a difference in taste between barbecue preoperly cooked over gas and cooked over wood or charcoal, I can't tell the difference, and I doubt any of you can in a blind tasting. In fact, many of the teams at barbecue competitions (yes, there are such things,) now use gas to fuel their pits.

So, if your gas grill can hold the temperature at 220 - 250, and you have enough gas and wood chunks, you can produce not just acceptable, but outstanding barbecue.
PaulP
If you don't like the food, have more wine

Post Wed Mar 24, 2004 12:07 am
ThrRoff well done
well done

Posts: 999
Location: Washington, DC

Grand. Nice post and well said.
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Post Thu Mar 25, 2004 2:23 am
Vinsect well done
well done

Posts: 576
Location: Middle Tennessee
Grand Scale, There's not a doubt in my mind that the food from your gas grill is probably better than most folks charcoal grills... since you use it regularly. Having gas AND a smoker, I'm sure you probably do more of both than someone with only one or the other.
I liked what you said about 4 hours and under going gas and over 4 going into the smoker. Gas, charcoal, and wood all have their place. If someone has to build a fire every time they want to cook most people just wont grill as often. I also believe that building a real fire and experiencing the rewarding flavor and aroma of real wood not only sparks up heat and smoke... it also sparks up more passion for live fire cooking.
From personal experience having both to chose from gets me out on the deck a lot more.
Grand Scale, I know we usually associate you with gas grills, but would you say you still probably use your smoker more often than the average smoker owner?
If it aint broke, Break it!
Then rebuild it better.

Post Thu Mar 25, 2004 9:05 am
Grand Scale BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 4272
Location: York, PA
Vinsect that's a tough question. I do enjoy using it. But I haven't used it enough to warrant switching from my 7-in-1 vertical to a horizontal offset. I typically use my smoker every other week in the summer and monthly in the winter. I used the smoker box on my grill constantly. But to "smoke" something I use it about weekly.
I don't consider myself a smoking pro, but I use it often, and planning on using it more this summer. When I switch to a horizontal offset then I'll consider myself something.
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Post Sat Mar 27, 2004 4:16 am
Vinsect well done
well done

Posts: 576
Location: Middle Tennessee
Grand Scale, even though you mainly use gas it sounds like you still use your smoker a lot more than the average joe uses smokers and charcoal combined.
You know the hardest thing about selling grills is selling grills to people that you know won't give them a good loving home. Selling grills is easy. Selling them on using their grills for more than hot dogs, steaks, and burgers is what really gives me a thrill. Occassionally, you can see the light turn on in their head, usually accompaning a statement like "you can grill pizza?!"
If it aint broke, Break it!
Then rebuild it better.

Post Mon Mar 29, 2004 9:09 am
Grand Scale BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 4272
Location: York, PA
Talk the store into running a promo with "How to Grill". If that doesn't get them adicted I don't know what will.

Oh thanks for the compliment.
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Post Tue Mar 30, 2004 4:17 am
Vinsect well done
well done

Posts: 576
Location: Middle Tennessee
Grand Scale, What kind of "How To Grill Promo" did you have in mind?

BTW, if the appropiate people are listening, has anyone talked to Home Depot corporate about us carrying Steven's books? We have a book section and we sometimes have one of Weber's books and a Turkey Fryer cookbook right in the grill aisle.
hint, hint...
If it aint broke, Break it!
Then rebuild it better.

Post Tue Mar 30, 2004 8:46 am
Grand Scale BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 4272
Location: York, PA
The possibilities are endless...
From buy a grill get the book, to product demonstration out of the book (this could be tasty), I was at your competition last weekend and they had a lathe demonstration going on, and if you watched the whole thing you got a 10% discount on a purchase of whatnot. Even offer it as a package with tongs, spatula etc. It is no less important! At the very least tell them about the books.

Good Luck
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