Gas or Charcoal Grill?

06/02/2011 07:09 pm ET | Updated Aug 02, 2011

The Splendid Table's® How to Eat Supper, By Lynne Rossetto Kasper

Dear Lynne,

What kind of grill do you think is best, gas or charcoal?

Marie in Chicago, IL

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Dear Marie,

The word "best" is tricky. What I prefer, both for taste and challenge, is cooking over wood charcoal, or hardwood, which I've burned down to the hot coal stage. The grill I yearn for is a large, shallow, rectangular box with vents. It's made of stainless steel, and takes charcoal or chunks of wood. It has a steel rack you can raise and lower and a domed lid attached to the base by a hinge so you can do covered cooking. And it costs the earth.

The poor man's version is the shallow box charcoal grill which works well, as does the kettle grill that's sitting outside my kitchen door right now.

All that said, gas grills couldn't be bettered for convenience. You come home from work, flip it on and cook. Clean up is easy too. If you don't mind the clean up and have the time to wait the 20 minutes or so for coals to get to the right temperature, go for the charcoal model. Otherwise, use gas and some wood chips.

Host, The Splendid Table®, American Public Media's national food show and co-author of The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper: Recipes, Stories and Opinions. Ask questions and find Lynne, recipes, and station listings at, on facebook and twitter, or 800-537-5252.

Copyright 2011 Lynne Rossetto Kasper