Thursday, August 30, 2012

Charcoal Vs Propane The Great Grilling Debate

If you're a griller of any level, you have a preference for the type of fuel you burn to cook your meals. There are two camps that are common in the world of grilling and barbecuing. You're either a Gas Guy or a Charcoal Guy. What's the difference? Let's take a look at some of the pros and cons for each.

Propane/Natural Gas Grills


Ready for cooking almost instantly

No cleanup of ashes
No charcoal to purchase or light
Clean burning, no smoke or odor
Doesn't impart a flavor to your food

Doesn't impart flavor to your food. While this can be a pro, many BBQ and grilling enthusiasts enjoy the smoky goodness that hardwood charcoal can add to their meats
Propane tanks are unreliable. You may have enough fuel to finish cooking, you may not. A gauge will help alleviate some of this problem
Propane can be dangerous. If you're not keeping a close eye on the condition of your tanks, you could be in for a disaster
You have to lug around a 25lb canister anytime you want to move your grill to a different location
Not well suited for low temperature cooking
This is not an exhaustive list by any standard, just some of the more common pros and cons involved with using Propane as your primary fuel source. Many a fine meal has been created with the assistance of propane and natural gas.



Imparts a flavor to all foods cooked with it. You can supplement your charcoal with hardwoods to further enhance flavor
High temps are a snap with charcoal
Maintaining a lower, longer cook time is possible with charcoal by simply positioning your food away from the heat source
You get the "authentic" experience of cooking over hot coals

Takes longer to get coals up to temperature for cooking
Ash cleanup and disposal
You can't easily regulate your temps by simply dialing down the flame
You have to keep charcoal on hand at all times for impromptu grilling sessions
While I mentioned charcoal is more "authentic" that's really subjective. Gas grills have been around long enough now that it's more a matter of preference than it is anything else. You can create delicious meals with either method, and in the end it all comes down to what you are more comfortable with using in your endeavors.

Just a final word on either method of cooking. No matter which fuel source you prefer, the key to creating great BBQ and grilled foods is technique. Take your time and study the methods you are using. Look to the friends and family who are skilled in the art of BBQ'ing for advice on how to improve your process. As with anything you undertake, grilling and BBQ'ing expertise is earned through trial and error. Learn from your mistakes, and you'll find yourself at the top of the grilling world before you know it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Original Understanding the Benefits of a Wood Fired Pizza Oven

There are probably as many different types of ways of cooking something as there are cultures in the world. Every country, state and region in the world boasts of its own special way of cooking food. One of the ways that have taken the world by storm is to cook in a pizza oven that is fueled by wood. The conventional wood fired pizza oven is gradually increasing in popularity in the world. The reason for this rise to fame is the benefits that such ovens provide. Consider the following.

Wood Fired Ovens Can Attain Higher Temperatures

It is a well known fact that seasoned Italian chefs prefer ovens. The reason why this is so is that wood ovens can attain higher temperatures. This property changes the dynamics of cooking for the better. For instance, in the case of pizzas, these high temperatures allow for the pizza dough to show a rapid rise.

This is desirable because it allows for the pizza to have certain special properties such as being crispy on the outside while tender on the inside. Moreover, the dough also acquires better texture if cooked in a wood fired oven.

They Provide Even Heat Distribution

Another reason why chefs and seasoned cooks like ovens is that their use allows the food to be cooked evenly. This happens because heat inside a wood oven tends to be uniform and not inconsistent anywhere. This, in fact, is a major problem with modern ovens made from metals. The uniform temperatures inside the wood fired oven allow the food to have the kind of consistency that cannot be achieved with modern ovens.

The Food Gets a Smoky Flavor and Aroma

Using wood as the fuel inside an oven adds its own specific charm. For example, food made in a wood fired oven almost always has a smoky flavor. This smoky flavor is further accentuated by a unique aroma that can only be achieved if the food is used with wood as the fuel. It is worth mentioning that this flavor and aroma add to the experience of eating the food, whether it is vegetarian or non vegetarian.

They Are Much More Economical Than Modern Ovens

The majority of high end or authentic Italian restaurants in the world use wood fired ovens. While the primary reason for this is that wood ovens add a certain quality to the food being cooked, there is a secondary reason as well. This is the fact that ovens are significantly more economical than modern ovens.

A wood fired oven, once started, can last for the whole day with minimal use of wood as fuel. Wood fired ovens have this capability because they tend to retain and channel heat very efficiently. In contrast, a modern oven, if used the whole day, can really be expensive. Moreover, wood also tends to be cheaper than electricity on a standalone basis.

They Add Fun to Cooking

Wood fired ovens have also started making appearances in the back yards of many residential properties. In addition to all the qualities mentioned above, such trends are showing up because ovens are ideal for outdoor parties because their use is fun to watch. In effect, these ovens often end up being the star attraction of a party.