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tailgate grills AP Photo/Ron Jenkins

For a question that is commonly asked across the country, it’s time to end one ultimate debate once and for all. When you tailgate for your favorite football team’s game, which type of grill do you use? Is a gas grill better than a charcoal grill? There is a correct answer here.

Chances are you might already have an answer in the back of your mind, and there is no way to convince you otherwise. Then there are those who grill their food at home instead of waiting until game day to get the job done. All of that is fine, but let’s grade it out first.

Whether your personal preference is to fire up the propane tank or use hot coals on a regular basis, what takes place at a tailgate party is a completely different story. The good news is there are great portable grills from brands such as Coleman and Weber to make the magic happen if you don’t want to haul the big, heavy duty stainless steel one to the stadium.

RELATED: University President Issues Apology for Taking Beer Bong at Football Tailgate

There are certainly different levels of tailgaters, too. Some simply want to get the burgers and dogs done. Others treat it like a gourmet masterpiece. There is no bad way to tailgate, but let’s take a look at some big factors here and decide which bbq grill is the best to use at your next with a football point system:

Safety: 2 Points

Most of these topics will not necessarily be football related, but safety is universal and a great place to start. Whether your cooking area is as big as a table top or you have a tiny cast iron of just a few square inches near the parking lot pavement, making sure everyone is safe is a major factor. The winner here is gas. A propane grill has better temperature control and less carbon monoxide. Both of those components give it the slight edge because a charcoal grill is far from out of control.

Official score: Gas Grill 2, Charcoal Grill 0

Field Goal: 3 Points

When setting up for a field goal on the football field, there is a process. What hash mark do you put it on? Is everyone lined up correctly? Are the laces out? A similar process can be used for the grill master. The goal is to be as efficient as possible, and, once again, the nod belongs to gas. No matter the cooking area, using natural gas lights faster, you can control the cooking speed, there is a much quicker cooling time, and it’s easy cleating and to haul around. Charcoal grills, on the other hand, can take a while to get hot coals, the cooling time is much longer, and it’s a pretty messy clean up at the end of the day.

Official score: Gas Grill 5, Charcoal Grill 0

Touchdown: 6 Points

At the end of the day, the quality of the food matters, and having good taste and flavor is how you score on the big play. That’s exactly why charcoal takes the lead. Want to throw some wood chips in there for flavor? It’s easier. Need some indirect heat? Light the full load of charcoal and leave one side open. It’s a great heat source and that smoke flavor is so good, too. This is hard to argue against. The food just tastes better and that’s the main content of a quality tailgate.

Official Score: Gas Grill 5, Charcoal Grill 6

Extra Point: 1 Point

Do we have a tie? There’s no way this can end a tie, right? The build-up is killer, isn’t it? Here’s the deciding point: If you are looking to purchase the best grills, the cost is going to be an important factor for some. Although some stadiums across the country prohibit the use of portable charcoal grills, especially if you refuse to cover the cooking area, it is definitely the cheaper of the two options. Add in the fact it’s better food quality, it’s either go big or go home. Not to mention, a bag of charcoal is cheaper than propane cylinders over time.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with portable gas grills, especially with their heat control and easy cleaning, but if you are looking for a cheaper product that produces better food on the cooking space, go with the charcoal grill as long as it’s allowed. It’s the best of the best option.

Final score: Gas Grill 5, Charcoal Grill 7

READ MORE: The New Texas Tailgate Was the Can’t-Miss Football Party of 2018

Author placeholder image About the author:
With over 10 years of sports writing experience, Brett has covered some of the top local, regional, and national sporting events in the Heartland for both print and digital platforms. He is a graduate of Kansas State University and resides in Austin, Texas.
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