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Can You Use Charcoal In A Gas Grill?


Why Use Charcoal In A Gas Grill

Did you know that you can use charcoal in a gas grill? In fact, using charcoal instead of propane can give your food a whole new flavor. Using charcoal as a primary source of heat also has some other benefits, like reducing the risk of gas leaks if your gas cylinder runs out unexpectedly. At the same time, using charcoal in a gas grill will put more strain on its heating components and increase maintenance needs. Here is everything you need to know about using charcoal in a gas grill and vice versa.

Can You Use Charcoal In A Gas Grill?

Yes, you can use charcoal in a gas grill. However, you will need to place the charcoal on one side of the grill and then place the food on the other side so that it cooks evenly. Additionally, you may need to adjust the settings on your grill depending on how much charcoal you are using.

Why Use Charcoal In A Gas Grill?

1. Charcoal Adds A New Flavor To Your Food

Using charcoal as a primary source of heat instead of propane is excellent for adding a new flavor to your food. Charcoal burns slower and provides more consistent heat than propane, which gives food a richer flavor. Also, using charcoal will make the grill smoke more, which will also add some unique flavors to your food.

2. Less Chance Of Gas Leaks If The Cylinder Runs Out

If you are using propane as the primary source of heat on a gas grill, you will have no other choice but to use it until its cylinder runs out. However, if you use charcoal instead of the propane tank on the same grill, you can still enjoy grilling when it runs out since you can replenish it with new briquettes and lighter fluid. This way, there is much less chance that you’ll experience gas leaks in your home if for some reason the gas cylinder runs out unexpectedly.

3. Charcoal Adds A Little Bit More Challenge To Your Grilling

Using charcoal in a gas grill will surely add a little bit more of a challenge to your grilling. You have to get the charcoal going, and you have to keep it burning at all times. Also, you have to be careful with the briquettes since they can burn very hot, which can be dangerous if you are not careful with them. This is especially the case if you use propane as well and don’t want the charcoal briquettes to get too hot.

4. Charcoal Briquettes Are Cheaper Than Propane Gas Cylinders

You will save money by using charcoal in a gas grill because it is much cheaper than using propane. Instead of buying expensive propane cylinders for your gas grill, you could buy a bag of briquettes for about $3 or so and then use them for many grilling sessions until they run out completely. This is especially relevant if you have a large family and you use your grill often.

The Benefits Of Using Charcoal In A Gas Grill

1. More Flavor

Charcoal is a more natural fuel than propane. It burns at a lower temperature, which means it produces less smoke and fewer fumes. This makes for a tastier, healthier meal. It also means that you’ll need to add less liquid flavoring agents like marinades to your food. Charcoal also imparts a more subtle smoky flavor that can’t be replicated by propane or other gaseous fuels.

2. Increased Heat Capacity

Using charcoal in your gas grill allows you to increase its heat capacity significantly in comparison with gas alone. Charcoal burns at much higher temperatures than propane, allowing you to cook larger amounts of food or cook meat faster without drying it out or charring it on the outside before it’s fully cooked on the inside. The higher heat capacity will also allow you to sear meats directly over the coals as opposed to using an indirect cooking method that requires using an upper rack for searing.

3. More Even Cooking

Propane burns at a much lower temperature than charcoal and is therefore not as efficient at transferring heat to the food being cooked. Because of this, propane grills require cooking with indirect heat, which means that you must cook at a lower temperature in order to prevent burning the food on the outside before it’s cooked through on the inside. The charcoal will burn hotter than propane and transfer more heat to your food, allowing you to cook faster and at higher temperatures without having to worry about burning your meat or vegetables.

How To Use Charcoal In A Gas Grill

1. Clean Your Grill

To ensure that the food you are grilling is free from grease and other contaminants, it is essential to clean your grill thoroughly before using it. If your gas grill has a removable grate, remove it and wash the grate in warm soapy water. If your gas grill doesn’t have a removable grate, scrub the cooking area with warm soapy water. Use a brush if necessary to remove stubborn stains and debris. Rinse the cleaning solution off with hot water and dry the cooking area with paper towels or microfiber cloths.

2. Light Charcoal Briquettes

Most gas grills come with an ash catcher that sits below the burners where charcoal briquettes are placed while they are lit. To light charcoal briquettes in this kind of setup, simply light them like you would light any other firewood – use a match or lighter to ignite one end of each briquette until they are all lit up (see picture below).

3. Place Briquettes In The Ash Catcher

Once the charcoal briquettes are lit, place them in the ash catcher. If your gas grill has a grate, place them on the grate. Your grill’s manual may recommend placing the briquettes on top of a layer of foil to protect the cooking grate from getting discolored by ashes. If you are using a gas grill with a removable grate, you can place your food directly over the charcoal briquettes before covering it with its lid and cooking as normal.

4. Cover And Cook Food As Normal

Once you have placed the charcoal briquettes in your grill, cover it with its lid and cook your food as usual. Gas grills can be used to cook foods that require high temperatures like steaks or burgers while charcoal grills can be used to cook low-temperature dishes like barbecued chicken or slow-cooked ribs. Just make sure that you follow all of the safety precautions in your grill’s manual.

5. Add Charcoal Briquettes As Needed

Once you have finished cooking and your food is ready to be served, remove the charcoal briquettes from your gas grill, place them on a metal tray, and allow them to cool down completely before disposing of the ashes. You can use a charcoal chimney or a small trash bag to remove hot ash. Alternatively, you can wait for the ashes to cool down naturally before removing them from the ash catcher with a metal hook or tongs. After removing the ashes, you can put fresh charcoal briquettes in your gas grill and start cooking again. If you want to use this method of grilling all week long, you will need to add more charcoal briquettes as needed.

How To Use Propane With Charcoal?

1. Use The Right Charcoal Briquettes

Using charcoal with propane is possible, but you need to make sure that you use the right briquettes. Propane will work with charcoal briquettes without any issues, but they need to be made specifically for use with gas grills. These briquettes are designed to burn at a higher temperature than regular ones and will not produce as much ash or soot as regular ones. These types of briquettes are also less likely to produce sparks or flare-ups than traditional ones.

2. Use A Chimney Starter For Easy Lighting

Start your coals off in a chimney starter and then place them in your grill once they are fully lit and glowing red hot in color. You can also start your coals off in the grill itself by placing them on the bottom grate of your grill and turning on the heat once they have started burning well. This method will take a little longer to get your grill up to temperature, but will not require you to take the grill lid off to light your coals.

3. Use A Lower Heat Setting Than Normal

Using charcoal in your gas grill will require you to use a lower heat setting than you would normally use with propane. Charcoal burns at a higher temperature than propane, which means that you need to turn down your heat if you want to get your food cooked through while still retaining its flavor and juiciness. If done correctly, using charcoal in a gas grill can actually produce better-tasting food than using propane on its own. However, cooking with charcoal can be more difficult and may require some trial and error to get it right.


Charcoal can add a new flavor to your food that most gas grills can’t achieve. It also gives you more control over the temperature than a gas grill, but that doesn’t mean that you have to use both grills at the same time. If you’re cooking for a small group, a charcoal grill might be easier to manage.

Jacob Lindsey

Jacob is a home remodeling guru having worked over 15 years in construction in Reno, NV, mainly focused on home renovations. He likes taking ideas from his clients and making them a reality.

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