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Gas and charcoal hybrid BBQs: a good idea?

Which? reveals first impressions of the Char-Broil Gas2Coal hybrid barbecue

One of the first questions anyone buying a new barbecue has always faced is which fuel to go for, gas or charcoal? But Char-Broil has launched a new barbecue this summer that puts an end to this problem, because you can use it with either gas or charcoal.

We managed to get our hands on the £390 Char-Broil Gas2Coal hybrid barbecue to find out if it is really better than an ordinary barbecue.

Visit our list of Best Buy barbecues to find out which gas and charcoal grills we recommend.

Char-Broil Gas2Coal Hybrid BBQ

The main problem with charcoal barbecues is that it takes a while for the charcoal to get white-hot and ready for cooking – nearly 50 minutes for one charcoal model we’ve tested.

But the Gas2Coal allows you to use the barbecue’s gas burners to get the charcoal going quickly. You simply set the charcoal up in a special tray over the burners and put the gas on at full whack for 10 minutes, then check the coals are white-hot before you start to cook.

We tried cooking a selection of meals using charcoal or gas to find out whether the Gas2Coal is simple to use, and more importantly whether it cooks great food no matter which fuel you use.

Which? barbecue expert, Victoria Pearson was impressed with its charcoal-cooking ability:

‘We cooked a succulent meal of steak, sausages and sweetcorn in a speedy 50 minutes from first lighting the charcoal, and enjoyed the smoky, caramelised flavour of the evenly cooked food.’

Visit our Char-Broil Gas2Coal Hybrid BBQ review to read our initial verdict of how gas and charcoal-cooked flavours compared.

How to get a smoky flavour from a gas barbecue

When you cook on a traditional charcoal barbecue, fat drips down off your food, vapourising on the hot coals below to create smoke that gives your food a delicious barbecued flavour.

Fat dripping down onto a naked gas flame tends to ignite, producing an unappetising oily soot on your food instead. So gas-grill makers have developed several different systems for vapourising fat drips including lava rocks, infra-red grills and metal vapouriser bars or ‘flame tamers’ (metal burner-shields).

We’ve tested all three of these systems in our test of gas barbecues from popular brands including Weber, Outback and Cadac.

Lava rocks

Infra-red grill

Vapouriser bars and flame tamers

To find out which gas barbecue impressed in our tests visit our gas barbecue reviews.

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