BBQ Charcoal Vs Wood

Unsure whether to use charcoal or wood for your BBQ? This is a common question that many avid cookers tend to ponder over. We take a look at the differences between the two, as well as helping you to decide which is the best option.

Charcoal is more popular than wood when having a BBQ, and for good reason. It can reach a higher temperature than wood, allowing you to cook faster. Charcoal burns cleaner, gives off less smoke and is slightly cheaper to purchase. Charcoal is also responsible for that signature BBQ taste.

When it comes to cooking on a BBQ, charcoal is capable of meeting your needs. With the right device, you can adjust the airflow to find an optimal cooking temperature. Join us as we further explore the charcoal vs wood debate!

BBQ Charcoal Vs Wood

Using Charcoal For Your BBQ

As we touched on previously, charcoal is a reliable and cost-effective fuel for BBQs. It’s particularly useful for cooking with direct heat, something that wood is unable to provide. This is when the food is placed directly over the heat source, the coals in this case. Wood cannot reach the same temperature as charcoal, as it would simply set fire and burn into ash.
Here are some other areas in which charcoal can excel: 
  • Cost – Charcoal is a cheaper to buy and is readily available in most countries. A 20kg of charcoal could last you as long as 6 BBQs, provided they are relatively small.
  • Flavour – When someone mentions BBQ food, that smoky taste is likely your first thought. This is achieved through using charcoal.
  • Ease Of Use – In terms of both lighting and maintaining a suitable temperature, charcoal is much easier to operate with. Wood requires a great amount of care and knowledge to keep it from combusting.

Perhaps the only downside to using charcoal is the amount of cleaning required after cooking. Sometimes, ash can stick to the grill of your BBQ, meaning you’ll need to scrub it profusely to avoid burning your next batch of food.

Using Wood For Your BBQ

So, with charcoal seemingly being the superior option, why would you ever opt for wood? There are two main reasons. The first of which, is the sustainability aspect. In most cases, wood is slightly more sustainable than charcoal. Using wood directly means that it does not have to be burned in advance, which is the process used to create charcoal. Keep in mind however, that if the burning of wood is naturally occurring, there isn’t really much difference between the two fuels.

Another possible reason for utilising wood in your BBQ, is the broad variety of tastes that can be achieved. Different types of wood allow for different flavours. Some provide a sweeter taste, such as Mesquite and Apple Wood, which others can add a smokiness to the food.


There’s no doubt that charcoal is the preferred BBQ fuel, adored by millions around the world. It holds a vast number of advantages over wood, including overall cost and practicality. If you’re not sure what fuel to use for your BBQ, picking up a bag of charcoal is likely your best bet!

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