Hybrid Grills: Barbecuing with Gas and Charcoal

Which is better for barbecuing – a gas grill or a charcoal barbecue? Among enthusiasts, the debate rages. 

The success of your entire summer depends on you getting it right, right? And everything you read has the same conclusion – that choosing gas or charcoal depends on your personal preferences. That’s not much help if you’re undecided.

It’s the complete control, grilled perfection and convenience that comes with gas… but charcoal grilling, with that smoky taste, that’s the ‘real deal’.

With an Outback hybrid barbecue you don’t need to choose. You’ll always come out on top in this dual-fuel duel.

What is a Hybrid Barbecue?

Hybrid grills have become increasingly popular among outdoor cooking enthusiasts in recent years.

They’re designed for those who want the convenience, ease and the incredible temperature control of our gas grills, while also offering the distinctive taste and traditional grilling experience of a charcoal barbecue.

Swap out your gas burners, place your charcoal briquettes into the charcoal basket, turn on the gas and close the hood. Your coals get heated quickly and you’ll be grilling in no time. Or without the charcoal basket use your hybrid as a standalone gas barbecue.

And that’s the beauty of it. 

Our hybrids are versatile and flexible, allowing you to choose the fuel source you want for each grilling session. That means you’ll be cooking a wider range of foods – from delicate fish that require precise temperature control to meaty steaks that benefit from the smoky flavour of charcoal and need a quick sear.

But why are so many people split when it comes to cooking with gas and charcoal? 

Charcoal Cooking is Authentic…

Cooking with charcoal is a popular option for many people, and there are several reasons why:

  • Charcoal grills provide a smoky flavour that cannot be replicated with gas alone. This smoky flavour is highly desirable for many people and is often associated with traditional outdoor cooking.
  • Charcoal grills can be used to cook a wide range of foods, from steaks and burgers to vegetables and even desserts. The smoky flavour of charcoal can enhance the flavour of almost any type of food.
  • Charcoal grills can get hotter than gas grills, which is beneficial when cooking certain types of food. The high heat of a charcoal grill is great for searing meat or creating a crispy crust on pizza.
  • Charcoal is generally less expensive than gas, making it a more cost-effective option for outdoor cooking.
  • Many people enjoy the ritual of lighting a charcoal grill, as it is a traditional and time-honoured part of outdoor cooking.

So, traditionalists say that cooking with charcoal provides a unique and flavourful experience that cannot be replicated with gas. While charcoal grills can require more effort and take longer to heat up than gas grills, the results are considered worth it for those who appreciate the smoky flavour and the ‘authentic’ experience of charcoal cooking.

What About a Gas Barbecue?

Why do other people swear by gas barbecues? 

  • One of the biggest benefits of cooking with gas is the convenience it offers. Gas grills heat up quickly and temperatures can be easily controlled.
  • Another advantage of cooking with gas is the level of control it provides. Gas burners can be adjusted quickly and precisely, allowing for greater control over the cooking process and making it easier to achieve perfect food every time.
  • Gas burners are generally easier to clean than charcoal grills, as there are no ashes or residue to dispose of.
  • Gas is a relatively energy-efficient fuel source, and many gas grills are designed to be efficient.
  • While gas grills don’t provide the smoky flavour of charcoal grills, many people still enjoy the flavour of food cooked on gas grills. Gas grills can also be used with wood chips or smoking boxes to add additional flavour to the food.

Overall, it’s the convenience, temperature control, and easy cleaning of gas barbecues that are key reasons why people prefer gas over charcoal grills. Gas is just less fussy. It’s like cooking indoors, but outdoors. Some also argue that the taste difference between gas and charcoal is negligible once you’ve added toppings and other sides.

Hybrids. What Else Should I Know?

Your hybrid grill offers the best of both worlds – the convenience of gas alongside the flavour of charcoal. This makes it a versatile option for outdoor cooking, as you can use gas for quick and easy grilling, and charcoal for getting that rich, smoky flavour.

While traditional charcoal grilling can be time-consuming and requires more effort to get started, using gas to light the briquettes delivers quick and easy heat. This makes it really handy for weeknight dinners or last-minute grilling sessions, when time is limited.

Many Outback hybrid models offer additional options like built-in rotisseries, side burners, side tables and chopping boards too.  

And there’s Outback’s integrated Multi-Cooking Surface system. Here your porcelain-coated cast iron interchangeable grill can be switched to use the Outback pizza stone, griddle, paella/skillet pan or our other cooking surface add-ons for extra versatility in your cooking experience. 

And you can choose from three, four or six burner options, depending what size cooking area you need.  

Converting Your Hybrid Grill

Converting your hybrid grill from gas to charcoal is easy:

  • Remove the cast iron grates and place the patented charcoal tray into the grill.
  • Place the briquettes and put the grate back in place. The bottom of the tray should be covered.
  • Turn on the burners and wait for around 15 minutes with the lid closed. Your charcoal will be nicely lit and ready to use for cooking.

If you’re converting from charcoal to gas, simply remove the charcoal tray and replace with the flame burners. Then replace the cast iron grates.

Or Buy Two Grills?

If you do not have a hybrid grill, you can still cook with gas and charcoal at the same time by using two separate grills placed side by side. This method requires a bit more space and coordination, but it can be done. 

But what a lot of fuss, when there’s the perfect hybrid barbecue waiting just for you.

Create The Ultimate Outdoor Dining Experience

With all Outback barbecues, quality is built in. Choose from exceptional charcoal barbecues and stunning firepits or create the ultimate dining experience with a 4 burner or 6 burner barbecue, in eye-catching stainless steel. With Outback it’s so easy to enjoy the outdoors season after season.

With premium barbecues and stunning, summer-and-beyond firepits, Outback has a range that includes some of the world’s most trusted products for the best in outdoor living.

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