My friend Brian gave me shit once because I own a gas grill. If I remember correctly, it was something about me being less of a man because I take the easy way out when grilling. Brian has a keen sense of timing as this discussion took place while I was cooking him dinner. On my gas grill.
We never had a charcoal grill growing up, so I never did experience the frustrations of wet coals, building fires or any of that. I remember my father nearly setting himself on fire with an Aim-N-Flame, lighting the grill from underneath. He would go to trade shows as a building materials/garden supply manufacturer’s rep and trade stuff with other vendors at the end of the show. This is how we ended up with a lot of things in our house, namely lawnmowers, patio furniture and grills. We had one of the first button-ignite grills. And, when the ignitor died at the end of the season, Dad just got another one next year.
My first grill was a Char Broil gas jobber that lasted about five years. When the igniter finally died on it, I would flick lit matches into the open lid. One night, in about 2004 or 2005, I tossed a lit match into the open grate. The Wife described seeing a fireball out of the corner of her eye. I was okay, but my hair was a little singed. When we moved to our house, I left the old grill behind and bought my current CharBroil Commercial. For better or worse, it has served me well. One slight issue with some flashback. Grease built up into the valve and I once had fire coming out of the knob.
The convenience of gas notwithstanding, the primary reason for gas is the ability to generate far more heat than charcoal. You have to tend and stoke a fire to get a charcoal grill up to 600 or 700 degrees Fahrenheit. With a gas grill, you ignite and wait 30 minutes. I preheated my grill for 45 minutes this weekend. The result:
I rest my case.