Whatever kind of grill you have, we can agree that grilling is brilliant, and you can make your food taste amazing. Nothing quite beats a burger, steak, fish fillet, or some tasty baby potatoes in butter cooked up on the grill.
Gas grills are brilliant, and charcoal grills have many advantages too. Can you use charcoal in your gas grill though?
While the answer may seem somewhat obvious, it is a question that is asked more frequently than you might think, and sometimes there are no straight answers to this.
Generally, it depends on your grill. Let’s take a minute and have a look at the how’s and why’s, clarifying what this means for you.
Using charcoal in a natural gas grill?
The vast majority of gas grills should not have any charcoal added. They are not designed for this.
They are designed to handle heat created by burners, not the kind of heat that is produced by burning charcoal. This is one of the most important things you must note about the difference between these two grills.
There are many reasons for this. First of all, charcoal will fill up a gas grill with ash. This is a big issue and creates a very unpleasant cleanup. It would also likely that if you did this, you would end up having hot burning embers falling out of your grill as well.
The best point to make about why this is a bad idea, is also that the heat created from burning charcoal can cause a rather large amount of damage to the components of a gas grill.
If you were to chuck a load of charcoal into a gas grill, then you will probably end up having to replace a few parts of your grill, if you are lucky. If you are not so lucky, you may have to replace the whole grill.
This is especially common in more modern grills, as the more modern gas grills can be more easily damaged and therefore can be clogged by ash and debris much easier.
It is best to avoid putting any charcoal in these if you want your grill to stay functional and working.
Are there exceptions to this?
With all this being said, of course there are exceptions. While it is ill-advised to put charcoal in a gas grill, there are some gas grills that are made to work with charcoal as a secondary fuel source.
A duel-power grill, of sorts. Much like you can get hybrid cars and so on, you could also get a hybrid grill. These types of grills are great, however they may not be great at handling both fuel types, or they can be painful for your wallet.
While they are not ideal, certainly price wise, they are an option that is available. Some gas grill brands will have optional charcoal baskets that will allow charcoal to be used.
But you should check that your gas grill has this and is compatible with charcoal before you consider putting charcoal into the grill.
If your gas grill does have a charcoal fuel option, then you need to make sure that you consult the manual and follow instructions exactly.
Doing so can ensure that you don’t damage any of the grills compartments at all. Even the simplest of mistakes can end up costing you way more than you would like.
What if my gas grill can’t heat up?
The most common reason that anyone will wonder if they can use charcoal in a gas grill, is if their grill isn’t heating up properly. This isn’t uncommon and when this happens, you may want to resort to other means.
If your gas grill is having a hard time heating up to a decent temperature. If this is the case with your gas grill, then there is probably an issue with the grill that you need to get fixed.
While it may seem more financially viable to just chuck some charcoal in your gas gill, so you can get it up to temperature and keep on grilling, don’t. Because, it is not more financially viable.
In fact, if you resort to this, chances are you would end up spending much more money having to repair or replace your grill from having used charcoal in it, than you would if you simply sent the grill off to get fixed for its original problems.
So, put simply, instead of trying to increase the heat with some charcoal, just try to get it fixed. Spending a couple of bucks here and there will be much better than the costs you could incur if you pop some charcoal in and reap damage to your grill.
Could I convert a natural gas grill to propane?
So, if you cannot use charcoal, can you turn a natural gas grill into a propane gas grill?
Well, sometimes it will be necessary. However, it is not a simple process, but if your natural gas grill is just not cutting it, and you feel like switching to propane will be a better option for you, then go for it.
It won’t be as simple as just unplugging one thing and plugging another in though.
First of all, it depends on the model of grill you have. However, the process usually involves changing out orifices that control the gas flow. The regulator that is in control of gas flow will also need to be changed to an LPG regulator.
If you have a premium grill, then you may have got a conversion kit with it, but it is best to have a professional do this.
Besides that, never put charcoal into a gas grill, unless it is a hybrid grill, in which case if you do, be very, very tentative with how you do so.
And, if you want to use propane on a natural gas grill, convert it, don’t just go using propane, because the performance of your grill will be pathetic.