When it comes to grilling, if you ask me, I prefer charcoal to gas simply because it truly delivers real smoky flavor.
Gas grills can be more convenient, but if you can treat yourself to a charcoal chimney. Which reminds me of the way my dad would grill “asados” for the entire family.
SEE ALSO: Healthy recipes for a BBQ celebration
A ritual that would take an entire day, starting very early in the morning to get the meat and prepare the grill.
What I did learn from my dads parrilladas?
Always go to a butcher and get fresh meat.
Dont ever buy the pre-packaged produce.
Take your time to prepare the grill, the differences between direct heat and indirect heat, and never rush the meat.
Here is my Charcoal vs. Gas list to help you decide whats best for you.
Grilling with charcoal gives the meat a very distinct smoky flavor.
Electric grills add almost no extra flavor.
An electric grill is easier to clean and to use, nothing beats the convenience of an electric grill, but as you know, it doesnt provide with the real fire flavor.
While hardwood grills will give you better flavor than gas, they are the hardest to work with. And when we think about convenience, consider too how you plan to grill. If you want to grill something last-minute with almost no preparation or hassle, then a gas or electric grill might be the best option.
Charcoal grills need to sit outside. Electric grills are safer in smaller areas. Gas grills produce flare-ups and need to be in a larger space.
Last but not least, consider how much you want to spend on this summer cooking tool. Gas grills are overall more expensive than electric grills, charcoal being the less expensive. Yet charcoal is more expensive fuel than gas.
In a nutshell
Charcoal Grilling: While it might not be very convenient, it offers the best flavor.
Gas Grilling: It is quick, easy and convenient to use and clean. Yet it doesnt add any flavor.
Direct heat vs Indirect heat
One of the biggest mistakes people can make is cooking over direct heat.
Tip: Build your flame on one side of the grill and grill over indirect heat to avoid flare-ups.
If using a charcoal grill, open vents on bottom of grill, then light charcoal. When charcoal is grayish, hold your hand on top to determine heat.
Hot: Hold hand over the area for about 1-2 seconds
Medium-Hot: 3-4 seconds
Low: 5-6 seconds
If using a gas grill, pre-heat burners on high for 10 minutes (covered). Then, reduce heat if necessary.
If using a charcoal grill, open vents on the bottom and lid of the grill. Light charcoal and when lit, dump them across bottom rack, leaving space in between coals slightly larger than the size of the item to be grilled. (See above to determine heat.)
If using a gas grill, pre-heat all burners on high, covered, for 10 minutes. Adjust heat according to item to be grilled and recipe. Right before grilling turn off middle burner, if you have 3 burners.
What to grill
Whatever your palate desires. From meat, fish, poultry, vegetables, fruits, even pizzas, empanadas and arepas! Yet if I have to choose skirt steak has been always my favorite cut of meat to grillwell-marbled cut, full of flavor, juicy, and not as expensive. When it comes to vegetables, anything goes.
Tip: Keep them simple. Just add some salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil. Grilling will develop natural flavors and will release natural sugars.
Here is my Grilled Skirt Steak Recipe with my dads original Chimichurri Sauce:
Argentine grilled skirt steak with authentic chimichurri sauce
Following the way my dad used to make it, the true Argentine fashion, the steak is simply seasoned with just salt and pepper so the quality of the ingredients is key. Tip: Remove it from the cold a few minutes before seasoning and grilling.
2 pounds organic grass fed skirt steak (about 3 to 3½ inch thick pieces)
2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
Prepare grill for cooking over direct heat with hot charcoal (see details above).
While grill is getting ready, pat steaks dry and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.
Grill steaks on lightly oiled rack (covered is using gas grill), turning once and, if necessary, moving to avoid flare-ups6-8 minutes for medium rare.
Transfer steaks to a cutting board. Let them rest covered with foil for about 5 minutes. Slice them diagonally. Serve with chimichurri Sauce (recipe follows), grilled vegetable salad or Russian potato salad.
There are hundreds of versions of this traditional South American sauce. It is also delicious with empanadas, salads, over pasta, with grilled vegetables and even fried tomatoes.
Makes: Over ½ cup
½cup fresh flat parsley, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup fresh lemon juice or red wine vinegar
2 medium shallots, minced
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes
Sea salt or Kosher to taste
Stir all ingredients in a bowl.
Refrigerate if you are not going to use right away.
Serve at room temperature. Last for about 2-3 weeks refrigerated in an airtight container.