Paul has been passionate about preparing, cooking, and eating healthy food for over 30 years. Born in the UK, he now lives in Florida.
Grilling is a common cooking technique that can produce tasty and healthy food. It's a particularly popular way to prepare hot fare for eating at outdoor social gatherings.
While there are certainly some downsides to grilling, this article lists and looks at seven advantages of the cooking technique.
7 Advantages of Grilling Food
Here are seven pluses of grilling:
- Less fat
- Flavorsome food
- Outdoor life
- No indoor smells or heat
- Social atmosphere
- No special skills required
I explore each pro in more detail below.
1. Less Fat
Meat fat tends to fall away with the grilling technique. This makes it a healthier option than, say, frying, where the food is cooked in a pan and sits in oil, leading to greater fat absorption.
A similar situation holds true for grilling vegetables, too. While they generally need to be brushed or sprayed with a minimal amount of oil, there's nothing like the amount of fat that's involved with frying.
2. Flavorsome Food
A huge part of the appeal of grilling is the distinct taste that the technique creates. Burgers are perhaps the classic food associated with grilling, but many other foods, including chicken, fish, beef, and vegetables, can benefit from grilling.
Much of the flavor that grilling produces comes from the Maillard reaction. This occurs when amino acids react with the sugar molecules and then break down to create new tastes. This process takes place on the surface of the food and produces the charred brown crust that enhances flavor.
There are different types of grill and each produces distinct tastes. For instance, grilling with charcoal produces a different flavor to one that's achieved using propane. Grilling over an open fire will also give different results, adding a smokiness to the taste.
3. Outdoor Life
In contrast to most food preparation, which occurs indoors, grilling typically happens outdoors and provides a completely different environment and setting for cooking and eating. It gives people an opportunity to feel the sun on their skin and breath some fresh air. This, coupled with a more open feel, can improve people's moods and make it easier to circulate socially.
Cooking outside can also be more convenient. While the food prep times aren't much different, the actual food cooking times are generally quicker (once your grill is ready to use). Another benefit of grilling is that there are usually less pots and pans to clean up when you're finished.
4. No Indoor Smells or Heat
Cooking for people indoors generally involves creating strong smells in the kitchen area, which can spread throughout the house and then linger.
Heat can also be a problem, especially in the summer months, as, once generated, it can become trapped inside the property for hours.
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As grilling is typically done outdoors, these two problems are avoided.
5. Social Atmosphere
Grilling is associated with social eating. It's actually a great way to make food for informal group events, as it can contribute to an atmosphere that's convivial and celebratory, but still casual.
Many public holidays, such as Memorial Day, 4th July, and Labor Day are occasions for firing up the barbecue in the United States, but almost any party or special event can be enhanced by grilling.
The sounds and smells of food being grilled create an appealing sensuous ambiance for socializing. Grilled fare is almost as much fun to cook and be around, as it is to eat.
6. No Special Skills Required
Grilling doesn't require any advanced cookery skills and can be mastered by just about anyone. It's so user friendly that even someone with little or no experience can turn out delicious food.
Grilling burgers, for instance, just requires that both sides of the burger are cooked evenly, and that the meat isn't either undercooked, or overdone.
Vegetables can require a little more prep. Normally they're brushed in oil and seasoning, or they can be marinated in a tasty sauce.
For the more adventurous, there's a multitude of recipes out there to follow.
Almost any food can be grilled. While most people stick to the barbecuing staples, such as meat, poultry, seafood, potatoes, and other vegetables, there are many more unconventional recipes that can be tried.
You can potentially grill almost anywhere. There are multiple portable options. Grills also come in different sizes and there are different types, charcoal and propane powered products being the most common.
You can even just grill over an open wood fire, although this will alter the taste of the food, giving it a smoky flavor. It can also be challenging to control the flames and heat levels of an open fire.
Here are some common questions and answers regarding grilling:
Propane vs. charcoal: which is the best type of grill?
Propane grills are certainly the most convenient, as they're quicker to fire up and get going, plus controlling the heat is less challenging. Propane grills are also generally considered healthier, easier to clean, and more efficient.
The advantages of charcoal grills, on the other hand, generally revolve around them being able to reach higher temperatures and being more affordable. Some people also prefer the smoky flavor of the food they produce.
Can you grill food on an open fire?
Humans have been using the flames and embers of open fires to cook for many thousands of years. You can grill, fry, or boil using an open fire as a heat source.
It takes time to get an open fire going, though, and it can be a major challenge to maintain a consistent temperature for cooking. The resultant food can also possess a smoky flavor, which is not to everyone's liking.
Which fuel is best for grilling: natural gas or propane?
As with most comparisons, it really comes down to personal requirements and preferences.
Propane is certainly a more energy-efficient fuel than natural gas, meaning that it produces more heat per unit than natural gas. That also makes it better for high-temperature grilling.
Natural gas is generally less expensive as a fuel, though, especially if you already have a mains supply. That said, natural gas grills tend to be more expensive than propane ones, so initial costs can be greater.
Natural gas is the most convenient, as you can just fire up the grill whenever you wish, without having to worry about having to buy, replace, or return fuel tanks. The downside is that there's not the same portability that you have a with propane grill, which you can usually move to wherever you desire.
My Favorite Grill: Char-Broil Performance 4-Burner
If you're looking for a reliable four-burner grill that's suitable for regular use at outdoor social events that's also not too pricey, my suggestion would be the Char-Broil 463377319 Performance 4-Burner.
I've owned one of these for over two years and have used it on multiple occasions at group occasions and family gatherings. The Char-Broil is fueled by propane, making it quick to fire up and easy to control the heat. The even cooking makes it easy to make delicious food every time.
For sure, there are better grills out there, but not for under $300. That makes the Char-Broil excellent value for money, in my opinion.
- There are some ugly grills out there, but the Char-Broil isn't one of them. I love the sleek look of the stainless steel finish. It's also practical, as it makes the grill easy to clean.
- The grease pan is porcelain-coated and can be easily removed when you need to clean it. The overall design of this grill is rugged and practical.
- It holds the temperature when you cook at high heats.
- This grill is built to last. The previous Char-Broil I owned lasted over seven years and I wouldn't be surprised if my current one exceeds that.
- It's excellent value for your buck.
- It does require assembly when it arrives in the box. It took me some time to put together—the instructions weren't the clearest I've seen—but it was worth it in the end. Once fully assembled, it's worked without any issues.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Paul Goodman