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NG vs. Propane tradeoffs

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  • mug15
    Charter Member
    • Aug 2014
    • 6
    • Las Vegas, NV
    • Large BGE
      BBQ Guru Temp controller
      Still looking for "clean" hardwood charcoal supply source

    NG vs. Propane tradeoffs

    I recently retired and am upgrading my outdoor cooking tools and will add a gasser for convenience and rotisserie mainly. Most cooks will be for the two of us, but a couple times a month we will host a group. My PK360 will be the main cooker (steaks, burgers, etc. with the gasser only for emergency situations that need speed - late for dinner AGAIN!!!!) and a WSM for smoking L&S. Therefore I expect to use the gasser only a few times a month.

    NG heats the house and we have a dedicated outside pipe (probably closed off for the entire 20 year life of the house - we have lived here 5 years). Noting where I live (110-115 most days in July/Aug) I was thinking a NG line extension would be safer? If I go with Propane do I need to protect if from the sun? (note car garages get to beastly hot temps in the summer here as well). Also I am getting old and I have back issues that will worsen over time, and maybe lugging canisters to Lowe's and back (only 5 mins away) is not a longer-term good idea. I also realize that NG is a fraction of the cost of propane on a per cook basis.

    That said, I worry about the design elements of set up (we will need to run additional 20-30 feet of pipe - I assume it will need to go underground so we will have to break and then replace some concrete? If not, does the pipe extension just run along the ground? (creating a tripping risk when cooking on dark winter mights?) Also I read in this thread that people have trouble with the regulator and sometimes have to fully "reboot" everything? Or lose pressure and struggle to get the gasser (supposed to be convenient!) up to cook temp?

    Anyone gone through this decision process who can at least point out what the key decision factors are? And do I call the gas company first or trust that someone from an internet search will know what they are doing and not create problems?

  • surfdog
    Club Member
    • Mar 2016
    • 612
    • Sunny SoCal
    • Weber Summit Charcoal Grill Center - Weber Summit Platinum D6 - Blue Rhino Razor - Dyna-Glo XL Premium Dual Chamber - Anova WiFi - Thermapen Mk4 - ThermaQ High Temp Kit - ThermaQ Meathead Kit - ThermaQ WiFi - ThermoWorks IR-GUN-S - ThermoPop - ThermoWorks TimeStick Trio x2 - Christopher Kimball timer - NO, I do not work for ThermoWorks...I just like their products.

    Well, one thing to consider is that Propane has 2500 BTUs per cubic foot vs 1000 BTUs from NG. So getting high temps is decidedly easier/faster with propane.

    And while NG might cost less long term, depending on how often it’s used...one must consider that properly installing a gas line can add an additional $200-300. And it’s not something you’ll want to get wrong.

    As for storage, my parents live in the high desert of CA...and their tanks simply live outside... One is covered under the grill and the others more or less in shadow areas.


    • jfmorris
      jfmorris commented
      Editing a comment
      The BTU difference is why the orifice open is typically larger for NG, so that you are burning more gas to get the BTU output of the burner the same. Grills sold setup for NG already take this into account.
  • jfmorris
    Club Member
    • Nov 2017
    • 2142
    • Huntsville, Alabama
    • Jim Morris

      • Weber Genesis II E-410 w/ GrillGrates (2019)
      • Weber Performer Deluxe 22.5" w/ GrillGrates & Slow 'N Sear & Drip ‘N Griddle & Party Q (2007)
      • Weber Genesis Silver A w/ GrillGrates (2002)
      • Custom Built Offset Smoker (304SS, 22"x34" grate, circa 1985)
      • Lodge L8D03 5 quart dutch oven
      • Lodge L10SK3 12" skillet
      • Anova
      • Thermoworks Smoke w/ Wifi Gateway
      • Thermoworks Dot
      • Thermoworks Thermapen Classic
      • Thermoworks RT600C
      • Whatever I brewed and have on tap!

    I've had experience with both NG and LP/propane grills, and have a NG grill hookup that I have not used in at least 20 years, for a couple of reasons. For starters, the grill I had converted from LP to NG was a crappy $200 big box special that rusted out, and I then just shifted to cooking entirely on the offset smoker, which has a charcoal pan for the main cooking chamber. Later when someone gave me a 2 year old Weber Genesis Silver A (2 burner grill), I decided I liked the convenience of being able to move the grill around to other parts of the back yard. The natural gas hookup is behind my fireplace, on the end of the house, where the gas line goes into the side of the chimney, to feed gas logs.

    While some brands of grill are fully supported for converting between the two gasses, some brands, such as Weber, need to be purchased in the setup you want from the get go. I think Weber does not support conversion mostly for liability reasons, as it is as simple as replacing the regulator hose assembly with a gas hookup hose, and replacing the brass orifices with ones with a larger opening, or drilling out the opening in the existing orifice when going from LP to NG.

    There is something to be said for not having to lug around 20 pound LP tanks, and lately I have thought of pursuing a conversion again on my Weber, or at least getting something like a Camp Chef Smoke Vault 24" smoker that could take advantage of that outdoor hookup.

    Anyway, back to your questions.

    1. NG pipe

    You do not want that installed above ground just laying on the ground. It would be a tripping hazard. Having it run along an outside wall would be fine. but you don't want the pipe laying out in the ground. It could be damaged, start leaking, etc. It needs to be buried if out away from the house.

    Note that you can use the right flexible hose to the hookup, preferably with quick connect fittings on both ends, and have the grill 10 or 20 feet away from the hookup, and then you just have the rubber hose to hide along the edge of your deck or patio.

    Note that you can probably expect estimates of $700 or more to get that pipe extended. More if it means busting up and repouring concrete. A friend over the weekend was telling me his woes trying to get a licensed plumber or gas fitter to extend his gas line a whopping 18" from outside his fireplace, into his fireplace, to hook up gas logs. Most folks wanted $700 or more, he finally found someone who did it for $200. And all that job consisted of was drilling a hole from inside the fireplace to the outside of the house, and running a pipe through that and hooking to a new shutoff and nipple on the bottom of the existing nipple right outside the fireplace. Me? I would have done it myself! But I've been doing stuff like that for 30-40 years.

    2. Sun and heat issues for LP tank

    Your grill won't get hot enough in the sun to cause an LP tank to explode. My grills sit out in the Alabama heat in the sun, usually with a cover but often without, and the spare LP tank is usually next to the grills. We had about 120 days above 90F this year, and days above 100, and I've never heard of the tank being in the sun as a concern. Now, they may paint those tanks white to reduce the heat absorption for that very reason.


    • jgreen
      Charter Member
      • Oct 2014
      • 2478
      • Winnipeg Manitoba Canada
      • Cookers:
        Broil King XL
        Broil King Smoke
        Weber Kettle 26
        Grilla Pellet smoker
        Capital 40 natural gas
        Napoleon Pro 22 kettle

        Maverick 733
        Thermapen (ok..4 thermapens)
        Thermo works DOT (or two)
        Fireboard (probably my favourite)
        Thermworks Smoke (or two)

        SnS (original, plus and XL)
        DnG pans, 6 or 7 of these
        and, maybe some other toys as well

      Where my grill sits, I was able to get nat gas run to very close to the grill. I have had for well over ten years and love the convenience of never running out of propane or going to get tanks filled. I do find the heat a bit less, but the unit has a really good sear burner so if i need more heat i just put the food on the sear burner.


      • SMOG MAN
        Club Member
        • Jan 2016
        • 289
        • San Diego, California
        • Rec Tec 680
          Weber Performer
          Weber Rotisserie for kettle
          Weber Summit
          My old worn out Gasser for burgers

        I installed a about a 40' natural gas extension line from my meter to an outside grilling station, put it underground, added a shut off at both ends and used a quick coupler at the cooker end. I converted my propane cooker which required calculating the larger orifice size and drilled them out to convert my propane grill to natural gas. It all works very well. I investigated/followed the code requirements for the line, tested for leaks and keep it off when not in use. I am glad I converted.


        • Red Man
          Club Member
          • May 2018
          • 673
          • Western Washington

          I ran a gas line to my patio for my Genesis. The btu per cubic foot difference is accounted for by a larger natural gas orifice. Even with the larger volume of natural gas getting burned, it’s still much cheaper. Don’t run a gas line along the ground, either buried or along a wall.


          • Troutman
            Club Member
            • Aug 2017
            • 6489
            • Republic of Texallence

            • OUTDOOR COOKERS
              22" Weber Kettle - Red Premium Limited Edition
              6 Burner Weber Summit Gasser
              22" and 18" Weber WSM Smoker
              18” Jumbo Joe
              36" double door Lyfe Tyme offset stick burner (SOLD !)
              Pitts & Spitts Pellet Pro 2436
              BBQ ACCESSORIES
              Classic Thermopen
              Thermoworks SMOKE
              Fireboard Pro with Pit Viper fan
              Grill Grates
              SNS for the 22" Weber kettle
              A-MAZE-N Smoker 12" Tube & Tray
              Weber stainless veggie basket
              Weber stainless fish basket
              Weber stainless rib rack
              Phat Mat cooking mats
              Barbestar BBQ Cooking Gloves
              For Beef (brisket, beef ribs, large clods/roasts) = 100% mesquite, oak or hickory
              For Chicken & other fowl = competition blend, cherry/oak/hickory
              For Turkey = 100% hickory or competition blend
              For Pork Shoulder = mesquite, oak or hickory
              For Pork Chops or Ribs = 100% applewood
              SOUS VIDE
              Anova Immersion Circulator 900 watt & 12 & 18 quart Rubbermaid containers with hinged sous vide lids
              INDOOR COOKWARE
              Generic Calphalon non-stick cookware set of pots and pans
              12" & 14" All-Clad Stainless skillets
              Cast Iron 12" skillet by Victoria
              La Creuset Cast Iron 7 quart Dutch Oven - Yellow Round
              La Creuset Cast Iron 7 quart Dutch Oven - Cherry Oval
              Old Revere Wear Copper & Stainless Pots (handed down)

              JA Henckels 15 piece Stainless Knife Set
              Victorinox 12" Fibrox Pro Slicing Knive
              Victorinox 6" Curved Boning Knife
              Set of Dalstrong Japanese Steak Knives

            Well that all sounds like great advice, which I hope you will follow, so with that I will just "pass" on the "gas" question and leave it at that


            • droopie69
              Charter Member
              • May 2015
              • 161
              • Cordova, TN

              I have a NG Napoleon grill I got for about $400 off from Amazon open box deals. It said possible damage on the kid. It was the grease splatter pan that sits in the bottom grease pan. It was smashed flat. I bent it back into a tent shape and appreciated the savings. I love it. I tapped into the gas fireplace on the other side of the wall. There's a tv shelf above the fireplace and I opened it up, got easy access to the gas line, and tapped into it for about $25 in pipe and fittings. It's fast to get going and cook. No tanks to refill. I love it.


              • FlashHokie
                Club Member
                • Dec 2017
                • 25
                • Cary, NC
                • Weber Spirit II 310 Natural Gas Grill
                  Weber Performer
                  Weber 22" Kettle
                  Stok Drum Charcoal Grill
                  Coleman Road Trip Sportster
                  Blackstone Dash Griddle/grill
                  Broilmaster P3X (deceased 😪)​​​​​​
                  Favorite Beer Type: IPA

                Reach out to your gas company and they should be able to give you an estimate on the hookup. I was able to get my Weber setup for $100 which included running a new line.




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