Cooking with gas grills takes the guesswork out of flame or charcoal cooking. Chefs can grill the perfect steak without the mess of wood or coal, and adjust temperature with the touch of a button. If you're a first-time chef, get a gas grill and you'll look like you've been cooking for years – you'll learn how to grill safely and easily when you're cooking with gas.
Gas grills use propane to fuel their heat sources. Because of this, they tend to be more expensive than charcoal to buy ($50 for a hibachi, up to $15,000 for a deluxe grill/smoker online), but are actually less expensive to maintain and operate over time. Gas grills are heated by gas burners. Often, they'll have another heat source, like steel bars, ceramic briquettes, or lava rocks. These ensure that heat from the burners is evenly spread over the grilling surface, so that the temperature remains steady on all parts of the grill. Many gas grills also offer side burners, for cooking sauces, heating up cold food or cooking food that requires milder temperatures.
While you get an evenly cooked piece of meat when you use a gas grill, sometimes juices and oils from the food will pool in the heat sources. This can cause dangerous flare-ups. If you are going to buy one of these grills, make sure to get a quality one that will funnel the grease away from the flames, preventing flare-ups and creating smoke. This smoke is what gives barbecued food its delicious flavor. You won't have to flavor your meat with too many spices to get that savory taste.
Infrared gas grills
The hottest thing going in grills right now is infrared. If you want the best of the best in grilling technology, this is it. Infrared gas grills can reach cooking temperatures about 700 degrees Fahrenheit, allowing you to cook even the thinnest steak charred on the outside and rare in the middle. In an infrared grill, the gas burner is separated from the cooking compartment. Instead of cooking the food directly, the gas burner heats a ceramic block to very high heat, and heat radiates off this block to cook the food. These grills heat up very quickly and deliver very even, persistent heating.
An infrared grill is a powerhouse sure to impress the more-is-better crowd, but there are downsides. It will take some time to get used to cooking on your infrared grill, so be prepared for some overdone (read: burnt) meals. More delicate fare such as fish and veggies may not hold up under the extreme heat. Some manufacturers make grills with both and infrared and regular grilling options, so that you can have the best of both worlds.
To light a gas grill safely:
Quality gas grills will light up easily and contain heat while keeping the handles cool. Make sure you're very careful when lighting a gas grill and never leave the gas on. Never grill indoors with a gas grill, and keep children away from the grill at all times. This way you'll be able to grill delicious food without any accidents. Check out our safety tips for outdoor gas grills before lighting up your grill.
Have fun and be safe when gas grilling, and all you'll have to worry about is not burning that steak!