‘King of the Hill’ Fans Reignite the Propane vs. Charcoal Debate

The fight between ‘taste the meat’ and ‘taste the heat’ didn’t burn clean
‘King of the Hill’ Fans Reignite the Propane vs. Charcoal Debate

When Hank Hill tells us that it’s better to “Taste the meat, not the heat,” is his primary allegiance to our taste buds and the greater barbecue tradition, or is he simply speaking as a pro-propane propagandist?

In all of King of the Hill, questions of morality, philosophy and politics are often approached with mindfulness for the nuances of such important debates, but one issue sticks out as decidedly one-sided. The question of which grill fuel gives barbecuers the best eating experience is treated as such a forgone conclusion that, when Bobby, Peggy and Luanne dared to cross over to the char-side, Hank had to turn to God to save his family. No matter what his only son may have to say about the “rich, smokey flavor” of the forbidden heat, in Hank’s house, charcoal is an even graver contraband than narcotics, and the only acceptable fuel is clean-burning. 

However, King of the Hill fans are not bound to barbecue rules as stringent as the restrictions on Arlen’s first family of propane and propane accessories. Over in the King of the Hill subreddit, fans recently discussed which barbecue fuel they like the most in the pointedly titled thread, “Is propane actually better, or is it simply King of The Hill propaganda?” As it turns out, sometimes people do like to taste the heat.

“I prefer the taste of charcoal, but I like the convenience and ease of propane,” one fan opined, while another added, “You don’t get the rich, smokey flavor with propane, according to Bobby.” Of course, the charcoal champions were met with resistance from propane proponents, with one of the latter shooting back, “You shut your mouth. Now we're gonna sit here… and pray.”

Of course, the world of barbecue has more than just two factions. One charcoal fan admitted, “Propane is obv better than the bastard gas Butane, but as far as cooking a steak, charcoal is absolutely better than propane.”

“It’s clear everyone prefers charcoal,” a commenter concluded once the coal dust had settled and the briquette brigade clearly outnumbered their opponents. Unfortunately for Strickland Propane, the grilling world was aligned with Bobby and Peggy when it came to propane versus charcoal.

If that crushing defeat wasn’t enough, one cheeky Redditor added, “I only have a George Foreman Grill.” Even the novelty grills got their knocks in.


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