Let's talk grills and grilling


Agreed - go with the 4 burners over 2.

And the salmon and vegan things look great!


We moved from Propane to Charcoal several years ago, got a nice Master Forge grill that i like a lot. We just prefer charcoal for a lot of reason (using all natural lump charcoal most of the time.)

However, I just grilled some chicken breasts, marinated, and I had a heck of a time getting the grill to the desired searing temperature and keeping it there. I got what I thought were the right number of coals on the hot side of the grill, nicely started in my chimney starter (btw if you’re new to this, make sure your chimney starter had good vent holes, makes all the difference!) But it took forever to get to temperature, even after adding some more charcoal, Then of course it wanted to slide right past my target temp, so I’m playing with the vents, etc. I had to fiddle with it a lot more than I wanted to with a house full of guests.

So I’m reading about these pellet smokers, talked with a friend who has one, and I’m really interested. Lived in Texas at one time next to a guy with an old fashioned smoker, and he made AMAZING briskets and smoked turkeys, But I saw all the effort it took, with him sometimes getting up in the middle of the night to tend to it.

SO - how much do I need to spend to get a good pellet smoker? And does it need to be plugged into an outlet?


Mine was 600 bucks, including shipping. The link to RecTec is upthread. As noted above, they do make a smaller one (and larger) as well. Imo, you won’t find a better value. Yes, it is plugged in to power.

Having said that, searing at high temp is not the strength of pellet smokers. If you want no-fuss low and slow, that’s the tool for you, not so much for searing, though they make searing kits to help with that.




Last year I got a metal fire pit for my wife. It was a good deal and it seemed it. A few weeks later I got a grill top for the fire pits and I haven’t looked back.


Good God, I didn’t catch his avatar. That is egregious! He should be forced to change it!


Does charcoal count as propane accessories?


(Bows head and slowly backs out of the frame…)


I wish we could do that here. Last time I had a fire pit (steel) our crappy neighbor called the fire department on us and they came roaring down the street like the whole city was burning down - only to find we were burning some twigs/branches to cook some hot dogs. They threatened to fine us $250 so we had to get rid of it. We’d had some really nice steaks the week before cooked over it.


What the hell? You do have a crappy neighbor, that’s for sure.

Luckily, the ordinance in our neighbor isn’t strict on firepits, so it’s a go.

The only down side is that it’s always open so you really need to cook over the flame since you don’t have a nice enclosed space to cook. Great for hotdogs, sausages and burgers, but I usually bake my chicken and other thick foods in the oven before throwing them on the grill.


This is true.

BTW the best steaks I ever cooked in my life were done on a fire pit. I wish I could replicate that on gas grill.


It’s not as efficient as a BBQ, but it is more fun. I haven’t tried steak yet.


I miss cooking on a fire, but I’m really adjusting to the gas grill now. I know I’ve harped on this a bit, but just being able to crank it up and go after it heats up a bit can make a huge difference when there’s a sudden late shift in dinner plans.

Tonight I needed to get dinner on the table as close to 6pm as possible and had made another pizza, but needed to supplement it with some protein. There were a few vegetarian sausages in the fridge, so I cranked up the grill and threw them on and they were done exactly when the pizza was done cooking. And holy cats! They tasted so much better than they’ve ever tasted in the skillet, which I’ve done many times with greens or mushrooms or whatever.

Even though it was only a gas fire, it made a huge difference, and as a side benefit, also calmed some nerves.



I’ve been grilling on charcoal for a while, have a decent large master forge charcoal grill with adjustable coal rack (i.e. crank handle to raise and lower it), little chimney vent up top and two side vents. Use a good chimney starter to light the coals. Use 100% charcoal chunks. Yet I still have a heck of a time getting the heat to a desired temp and keeping it there.

I was trying to get the heat to 425F and keep it there to sear some skinless chicken breasts, and it just wasn’t getting there in spite of a full starter load of charcoals. Added more, and it went up, slowly, but then it flew right past the desired temps. I was trying to use the rack height and the vents, but I could not get it to hit 425 and stay there.

I have that problem in general: getting to a desired heat in a decent amount of time and keep it there. Are there some tricks to mastering this?


That’s why you cook with propane. Taste the meat, not the heat.


I have always been a wood and charcoal guy because I love the ceremony of it all. The charcoal chimney starter, letting the wood burn to get the heat right, the food preparation. Honestly, the effort makes the food taste better (there is a great study on how people are believe food taste better by just adding a bit of ceremony, whether it’s a prayer or some of sort of flourish).

Anyway, part of me believes that propane us cheating the ceremonial aspect of it, and part of me wonders if propane tastes all that different from cooking on a stove.

But mostly the cheating aspect.


I love grilling with hardwood charcoal. It does burn fast though. I find a combination of hardwood and regular charcoal works well together.


Trigger warning:

What if I told you that instead of low and slow smoked bbq I Sous Vide and then use a gas smoker to essentially reheat my food?


I would ask why? Does the smoke add to the flavor.

Also, is it fun? I have to admit, the pryo in mean will always prefer chaotic flames of work and charcoal over the more regimented and controlled flames of gas.


As long as you sear it with a torch afterwards this is optimal.