Does Gas Grill Taste Like Charcoal?

This article discusses if gas grills taste like charcoal. Taste is one of the things that are considered when deciding between charcoal and gas grills. While a gas grill is convenient to use as compared to charcoal grills, there are some things it cannot be replaced like the smoky taste that comes from charcoal grilling. Can this taste be replicated in a gas grill? We will find out the answer below.

Does gas grill taste like charcoal? Cooking on a gas grill will not have the same distinct flavor that is associated with cooking using charcoal grills. This is because the smoke that comes from the coal like oil and grease drip into it affects the taste of the meat. A lot of people argue that the taste of the meat is part of the reason why having a BBQ is so enjoyable.

There has been an age-old debate whether cooking with a gas or charcoal grill is better. Is one better than the other? What is the difference between gas and charcoal grills when it comes to taste? Can I put charcoal in my gas grill? These are some of the questions that we will discuss. Read the rest of the article below for more tips and information.

Does gas grill taste like charcoal
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Taste Difference between Gas and Charcoal Grills

Charcoal grills provide a smoky aroma and flavor to the meat as compared to gas grills. This is mostly because charcoal makes more smoke than gas. The smoke comes from the food drippings that hit the hot coals. Most of the meat drippings are fat, water, marinade, and protein in the meat. The drippings that hit the coals vaporize. As it vaporizes, it condenses on the meat which results in a smoky flavor.

How to Get Charcoal Flavor on Gas Grill

The difference between a gas grill and a charcoal grill is that gas grills do not provide a smoky flavor to the food. One of the reasons why people use a charcoal grill is that the smoky flavor makes it more appetizing and appealing. If you have a gas grill, can you be able to replicate the smoky flavor of the meat? Below are tips and guidelines on how to get that coveted charcoal flavor on gas grills.

Tip 1: High Heat

Charcoal can provide temperature zones. You can have extreme heat directly over the coals and moderate heat away from the coals. You can replicate this with your gas grill. Set a part of the grill at high temperature and a part of it at low temperature. By doing this, you will create Maillard reactions in proteins that affect the flavor of the meat.

Tip 2: Smoke It

Another tip is to smoke the meat on your gas grill. To do this, place a smoker box that uses wood chips on your gas grill to add flavor. You can also add vegetables along with the meat. Make sure to tightly close the lid of the smoker.

Tip 3: Place the Cover

Keep the cover on when using a gas grill because it builds and maintains the heat. If you want to have good char on your meat, maintain the heat by keeping the cover on as much as possible.

Tip 4: Crank Up the Heat

By building up the heat, you can have amazing char on your meat. Before you start searing the meat, use a baking sheet over the grate to build up the heat. Usually, the heat lasts for about thirty seconds. Make sure to slip the meat on the grate as you remove the foil. This will result in an unmatched sear.

Grilling With Smoke Vs. Smoking

Smoking is different from grilling with smoke. Smoking involves cooking bigger cuts of meat at a low temperature for long times. This is done by using chunks of hardwood to create hot smoke. In the smoking method, the heat of the smoke cooks the food. On the other hand, grilling is cooking the food at a higher temperature with the use of hot air generated by coals or gas. We have also shared this article that discusses if it is cheaper to grill with propane or charcoal. You can check out the article for more tips and information about the topic.

Can I Put Charcoal in My Gas Grill?

Most grills should not be used with coals. These types of gas grills are designed to handle the heat that is created by burners. Using charcoal on these types of grills will only fill your gas grill with ash. There is also the risk of hot burning embers falling out of your grill. Furthermore, heat from burning charcoal can damage the components of a gas grill. For instance, the burners can get damaged and can be clogged with debris and ash. We have also shared this article that discusses if a smokeless grill is healthy. Check out the article for more information about smokeless grills.

Can I Add Smoke to a Gas Grill?

What makes charcoal grills popular for grillers is the distinctive smoky flavor. While a gas grill is easier to use, it lacks natural smoky flavors. The good thing is that you can add a smoky flavor to food cooked on a gas grill. Below are the tips and hacks on how to add smoke to a gas grill.

Prepare the Grill

Make sure that you practice using your grill and that you are comfortable operating it before you add any modification. Be familiar with how hot the grill can get. Practice doing quick meals before you move on to smoking. Next, place the grill in an open area before trying smoking. Take note that smoke can make it difficult to breathe when placed in an enclosed area. Also, choose wood chips for flavor. Different woods provide different smoke flavors, so ensure that you match your wood choice with the food that you want to cook.

Create a Smoker Box

Once you have prepared your grill, the next step is to create a smoker box. Purchase a foil baking pan that will serve as the base for your smoker box. Choose the size of the foil pan according to the size of your grill. Measure the number of wood chips that you will need for the food that you are cooking. Next, soak the wood chips in water for an hour. Getting them wet produces lots of smoke. After soaking, place the wood chips in the foil pan and cover it with a heavy-duty foil. Once the pain is covered, pierce a few small holes in the pan. You can also check out this article titled, what is the point of an indoor grill? We have discussed the pros and cons that you can get from using an indoor grill.

Start Smoking the Food

Place the smoker box on one corner of the grate and start preheating your grill. Wait until the wood starts to smoke. While the food is grilling, do not let it touch the smoker box as it might not cook evenly.

Make sure to keep the grill closed for as long as possible. Cook the food according to the recipe that you are following. Check the wood chops and replace them every thirty minutes. When the food is cooked, pull it off the grill and allow it to sit for a few minutes before cutting and serving.

✅ Video – How to Add Smoke to a Gas Grill

FineCooking shared the video below on YouTube. It discusses how to add smoke to a gas grill. In the video, the process of adding smoke to a gas grill is shown. The process is simple and all that you need is a foil and some wood chips. Watch the article for more tips and information.

Can I Convert My Gas Grill to Charcoal?

You can convert the gas grill so that it can be able to burn charcoal. This is a great option if the gas grill is no longer working and you do not want to purchase another grill. Below are the steps on how to convert the gas grill to a charcoal grill.

Clean the Grill

Check the grill for any rust. You can purchase a new rack if the current one is in poor condition. This is to make sure that even though the mechanical component of the gas grill is not used, the grill can still maintain constant heat which is important in grilling. Take note that if the interior part of the grill has rusted, it can no longer be converted to a charcoal grill.

Uninstall Gas Components

The next step is to uninstall the gas components of the grill. To do this, remove the gas tank first and disconnect the hose. Also, remove any tubes and pipes that connect to the gas line.

Install Sheet Metal

Once the gas components have been removed, install a piece of sheet metal to the grill. See to it that the metal is large enough to cover the bottom of the grill base. Attach the sheet metal to the bottom of the grill to cover the burner hole and secure them with screws. This also allows charcoal or wood chips to be placed inside the grill without falling through. We have also written this article titled, are smokeless grills safe? Check out the article to learn more about smokeless grills and how safe they are when it comes to cooking indoors.


In this article, we have discussed if a gas grill tastes like charcoal. We have found out that a gas grill will not provide the same taste as that of a charcoal grill. On the other hand, there are methods that you can use so that you can replicate the smoky flavor on your meat. We hope that this article has answered your questions and has helped you learn more about the taste difference when cooking with gas and charcoal grills. Thank you for reading!

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