Gas Grilling vs. Charcoal Grilling

Grilling pic

As a mental health technician at Temple University Hospital-Episcopal Campus in Philadelphia, Todd Belok strives to maintain a safe, therapeutic environment for patients. Outside of his job, Todd Belok loves to cook and is particularly skilled on the grill.

One of the most heated debates among grilling enthusiasts is whether to use a gas grill or a charcoal grill. The answer is not a simple one and depends on what you want in a grill.

As for price, there is no clear winner. Both gas and charcoal have standard options in the $125-$300 range. While you can buy a cheap charcoal grill for about $30, the quality may be disappointing. One caveat is that charcoal is typically cheaper than propane gas.

As taste goes, charcoal is the clear winner. A charcoal grill gives the meat a smoked flavor that cannot be reproduced on a gas grill.

As to convenience, the gas grill pulls ahead. Starting a gas grill is as simple as pressing a button, while a charcoal grill requires you to arrange and light the charcoal and wait up to 20 minutes for the coals to be ready.


Master Chef Alton Brown

Master Chef Alton Brown pic
Master Chef Alton Brown

A licensed emergency medical technician, Todd Belok works as a mental health technician for Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia. In his spare time, Todd Belok enjoys cooking and is a fan of television chef Alton Brown.

Brown began learning to cook by watching his mother and grandmother. He continued this interest while he was a film student directing and photographing videos. Between takes, he found himself watching cooking shows that he felt he could improve upon. This realization led to his decision to attend the New England Culinary Institute.

After graduating, Brown pursued his dream and ultimately made a pilot show for WTTW in Chicago. The show became the basis for Good Eats, a program that combined food science and humor. Aired on the Food Network for 13 years, Good Eats was conceived as a cross between Monty Python and Julia Child. Reflecting the show’s success, Good Eats earned a Peabody Award and a James Beard Award.

When he ended Good Eats in 2011, Brown appeared on Iron Chef America, The Next Iron Chef, and Cutthroat Kitchen. He has written four books, including I’m Just Here for the Food, which became one of the best-selling cookbooks on 2002. Brown’s latest book, EveryDayCook, is scheduled for a September 2016 release.

Tips for Beginning Home Brewers

Home Brewing pic
Home Brewing

An experienced health professional, Todd Belok cares for patients as a mental health technician at the Episcopal Campus of Temple University Hospital. In his free time, Todd Belok enjoys brewing his own beer.

In order to produce a quality home-brewed beer, the beginning brewer must start with a good recipe. The recipe should be approachable, and as such, should have a minimal number of ingredients. Recipes for beer that include 4 percent to 6 percent alcohol by volume (ABV) typically fall within this category, while also supporting better fermentation.

All ingredients should be of high quality, particularly the malt extract. Many experienced brewers choose to save half of this extract for the last 10 minutes of the brew, particularly if the recipe is for a light-colored beer variety.

Equipment should be cleaned with a rinse-free sanitizer, as bacteria can seriously affect the taste of the final product. Poor sanitation can also lead to the growth of unwanted yeast, and one of a home brewer’s most important tasks is the regulation of yeast growth. Temperature control can help immensely with this process, but it is also crucial that the home brewer avoid excessively worrying about minute calculations. Often, the natural process of fermentation corrects most issues.