Charcoal or Gas: Which is the Best Way to Grill?
by Eric Steinman
In the beginning there was fire, and humans learned to cook on this fire and…it was good. Some time thereafter there came choices and then, everything went to hell. The two basic choices were between charcoal and gas, and the opinions are staunch and fierce. Dubbed “the grate debate,” many BBQ lovers swear by one or the other (I have never really known anyone whose door swings both ways on the debate) and will give you a laundry list of reasons why their preferred method is superior to the other.
So seeing as July The Fourth is upon us, I thought this was a good time to end the debate here and now. The absolute best way to grill is…entirely subjective. Obviously, for anyone that has dabbled in the world of gas, gas grills are more expensive, but far more convenient than charcoal grills. They start up like a car (with about 10 minutes to fully heat) and the clean up is minimal. Some swear that the regulation of temperature is far more precise with gas, whereas charcoal grilling requires more finesse and technique to maintain heat regularity. However with the primitive nature of charcoal comes other benefits; namely the taste. Charcoal enthusiasts swear by the superior flavor of food coming off the charcoal grill (some say meat tastes better on charcoal, whereas non-meat items do just fine on gas), and many people do agree. Gas grills, while providing those cool parallel grill marks, just don’t provide that same smoky flavor that people demand from charred flesh (coincidentally, that coveted flavor may also be an indicator of carcinogens). Nevertheless, there is no accounting for taste, but there is accounting for money. While charcoal grills cost significantly less than their gas-fueled counterparts, the price of charcoal is significantly higher than the price of propane, used to fuel gas grills. For gas grills it breaks down to about $1 per hour of grilling (depending on the volume of gas you purchase and where you purchase it) whereas the average price for an hour’s worth of grilling is about double or triple that. And what about the environmental impact of burning six quarts of charcoal vs. an hour’s worth of propane? Well, I think you could figure that one out.
Still, the argument will rage on as long as there are things to grill. What is your feeling about gas vs. charcoal? Is the flavor all that different? Is charcoal antiquated? Is gas a soulless way to grill? Please weigh in and have a safe BBQ weekend.
8 Dog Safety Tips for the 4th of July
July 4th is around the corner, along with the fireworks that inevitably come with this holiday. Almost all humans with dogs in the United States declare this day the worst day of the year for them. Veterinarians say that July 3rd is usually the most-trafficked day in their offices, with clients coming in to get drugs for their dogs. A few years ago, I found a lost dog on the 4th of July. He was obviously a well-fed, groomed, and trained dog that escaped his yard when he heard the fireworks. When I called our local Humane Society, I was informed that it is the busiest time of the year for them, as more dogs are found wandering loose on July 4th than any other day of the year in the U.S.
Tips for providing a safe July 4th for your Canine Household:
1. Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise earlier in the day.
2. Keep your dogs inside during fireworks, preferably with human companionship. If it’s hot, air conditioning will help. Bringing your dogs to a fireworks display is never a good idea.
3. Provide a safe place inside for your dogs to retreat. When scared of sounds they can’t orient, dogs often prefer small enclosed areas. (I once had a dog who climbed in the bathtub during windstorms.) If your dog is comfortable in a crate, that is a good option.
4. Keep the curtains closed, and if possible, also the windows.
5. Make sure all your dogs are wearing ID tags with a properly fitting collar. (Dogs have been known to become Houdini around the 4th of July.)
6. Leave your dog something fun to do – like a frozen Kong filled with his favorite treats.
7. Sound Therapy: Through a Dog’s Ear is specially designed classical music clinically demonstrated to calm canine anxiety issues. The Calm your Canine series has even replaced drugs for thousands of dogs on July 4th.
8. Desensitization combined with Sound Therapy: The Canine Noise Phobia series includes the above mentioned music along with progressive sounds of fireworks and positive reinforcement training protocol by Victoria Stilwell.
Prayer for the Fourth of July
Gods of liberty, goddesses of justice,
watch over those who would fight for our freedoms.
May freedom be given to all people,
around the world,
no matter what their faith.
Keep our soldiers safe from harm,
and protect them in your light,
so that they may return to their families
and their homes.
Goddesses of liberty, gods of justice,
hear our call, and light the sky,
your torch shining in the night,
that we may find our way back to you,
and bring people together, in unity.