Charcoal barbecues: what to know before choosing

Source: Le Petit Persan

The first signs of warmth and spring are synonymous with swimming or holidays for some, but for barbecue lovers, the return of the sun means the first grills, the good dinner with friends and families at the cottage. Several types of barbecues are on the market, from gas barbecues to electric barbecues to charcoal barbecues. The latter is known for its use in camping, but it makes a big come back in the back yards for a few years. Cooking with a charcoal barbecue is generally practised by lovers of traditional flavours who appreciate the charcoal taste it gives to the meat and the different possibilities of cooking.

Before buying a charcoal barbecue

When shopping for a charcoal barbecue, it is important to know the different parts and know how to recognize a quality barbecue. Here are some things to watch for.

  1. Charcoal cooking is a matter of air control. It is therefore important to have a waterproof barbecue that has a lid and two ventilation hatches that will control the temperature.
  2. Watch for materials used in manufacturing. Ceramic BBQs are generally more expensive, but have a shelf life of up to 20-25 years. Steel barbecues are good alternatives, but it's important to look at the paint. A spray-painted steel will tend to flake off while a baked paint is more resistant.
  3. In order to have optimal cooking, it is important to have a thermometer to better control the temperature. Several models are available with an integrated thermometer, but it is also possible to buy one at a lower cost.
  4. The shape of the tank plays an important role in cooking. A good bowl should be oval shaped, being taller than it is wide, which allows for better heat circulation.
  5. In order to choose the most suitable grill for you, you must first identify your needs. How many people do you cook for regularly? Do you want the barbecue to be mobile?
  6. There is a big difference between charcoal and briquette cooking. Although we may be tempted to use the latter option because the ignition is faster, it is advisable to opt for the coal since it gives a better taste and it is without risk of toxicity since it is without chemical additives.

To enable you to make an informed purchase, you need to know the different advantages and disadvantages of cooking with a charcoal BBQ.

Advantages

Source: Centro Fuoco

It is undeniable according to the amateurs that the cooking on charcoal impregnates the food of an authentic flavour. In addition, its special characteristics make it possible to cook at very high or very low temperatures and allows efficient and long-lasting cooking. Several types of direct and indirect cooking are possible as well as the use of accessories that allow the cooking of less common foods.

The drawbacks

Source: Kamado Joe

There are some disadvantages to charcoal BBQs. It must be known that to reach its optimal temperature, it takes several minutes for the barbecue to be warmed, so plan the time when you want to cook. However, some accessories can accelerate the ignition time. Another disadvantage is the need for regular cleaning which can sometimes be difficult. When you buy, check to see if your BBQ has an ash container that will make cleaning easier. Finally, the mastery of cooking on charcoal requires a little practice to reach the desired temperature.

Types of cooking

There are two types of cooking possible on the charcoal grill. It is possible to cook directly on the flames. This type of cooking can grill and caramelize the outside without burning the room. This type of cooking is used to grasp food and for intense grilling.

Indirect cooking involves raising the temperature in the centre of the food to cook without burning and to eliminate bacteria. This is slow cooking. As its name suggests, foods are not placed directly above the flame. This type of cooking is used to cook poultry, game, delicacies such as fish, vegetables and even desserts.

Finally, it is also possible to use its charcoal barbecue as a smoking room by choosing a suitable model. Some accessories may also be used for this purpose.

Charcoal barbecues companies

The top three companies producing backyard charcoal BBQs are the Big Green Egg, Weber and Kamado Joe BBQs.

Source: The Big Green Egg

Weber

Source: Benson Stone

Source: Landscaping

The accessories

Dozens of accessories are available to maximize the cooking possibilities on the BBQ. Thus, you can easily cook pizzas with a round stone designed specifically for this cooking. There are also various roasters, warming grills and ignition kits. Not to mention the chicken racks and planks that allow you to cook delicate foods in an impeccable way.

Finally, before opting for a charcoal barbecue you must know the advantages and disadvantages that implies. On the other hand, once he is in your class, you will not be able to do without his versatility and the good taste he gives to food!

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