Food quality, simplicity of cleaning, cost: the plancha and the barbecue stand out in many respects. Here is what you need to remember to make the right choice for convivial moments when the warm weather arrives.
Barbecue or plancha: cooking is the nerve of war
Each year it is the same struggle between two cooking schools: that of barbecue and that of plancha. You still have to understand the difference between these two tools to choose your side.
The barbecue, traditionally with charcoal, allows grilling food in the heat of embers, to give them a special smoky flavor. The food is cooked on a grill, held high above the heat source. With gas, charcoal or electric, the barbecue is mainly used to cook meat.
The plancha is more versatile. Appeared in the 19th century in Spain, it then took the form of a large stone slab on which a wide variety of food was cooked. Today, the plancha looks like a kind of pan. Heated at high temperature, it allows you to cook food without adding fat, while retaining maximum flavor. It is mainly used to cook fish or vegetables.
Barbecue: more taste and complication
If you like the smoked or even grilled taste of food, it is best to turn to the barbecue, especially for charcoal cooking. Ideal for meats, the machine has the advantage of not being very expensive. Count 50 euros for a good small portable charcoal or electric barbecue.
However, the barbecue requires a bit of technique. To reconcile good taste and health, it is advisable to set the grid to a height of at least 10 cm from the embers and to avoid the fall of fats and gravy on the charcoal.
You will also need a little time, a good barbecue requires on average 10 to 15 minutes of preheating, especially for charcoal models.
The barbecue generates more smoke during cooking and its maintenance is less easy than that of the plancha. Grease falling on embers can create very high flames. At each use, you must empty the charcoal tank and scrape the grid or the plate with a brush. Isn’t this the price to pay for a lunch on a patch of grass in the sun with friends?
Plancha: practical but more expensive
The handling of the plancha is much simpler and it can be used with a wide variety of foods. Beware, however, of the choice of your coating, essential for tasting your future small dishes. The steel plancha restores and keeps the heat very well and allows optimal cooking. The chrome one is also excellent, but beware of cast iron planchas, whether or not enamelled. This material is more susceptible to rust, flaking or cracks.
Another advantage of the plancha, its practicality, the object is not very large. It is also very easy to clean and the temperature rise is faster than with a barbecue. In addition, it emits much less smoke than its competitor. However, all of these benefits come at a price. A good plancha costs between 400 and 600 euros.