Why Does Charcoal BBQ Taste Better?

When it comes to barbequed meats, there has been a debate lasting for decades. This centres around whether charcoal or gas BBQs offer the best taste. In this article, we are going to explain why charcoal BBQs taste better.

Meat cooked on a charcoal BBQ tastes better because the drippings are vaporized and added back into the food. Charcoal BBQs also burn much hotter than their gas counterparts. When these drippings fall onto the coals beneath, smoke is created. This smoky aroma has a positive impact on taste.

Join us as we delve deep into why charcoal BBQs offer a better taste. We explain all of the potential factors, based on scientific findings.

Why Does Charcoal BBQ Taste Better?

Why Charcoal BBQs Create A Better Taste

The biggest reason for that signature charcoal taste is the drippings from the meat itself. These drippings are full of proteins, oils and fats, which combust upon contact with the coals beneath. After being vaporized by the heat, they rise back into the meat. As a rule, you will get increased flavour as more drippings are released.

Interestingly, some of the perceived taste is also caused by how the food smells. This is understandable, as we know that both smell and taste are closely connected senses. Again, the drippings are the main culprit here. As they combust on the coals, smoke is created and added to food above. This adds a smoky aroma, which positively impacts the experience of biting into the meat.

Different charcoals can offer a different taste, allowing you to further experiment until you find the perfect flavour. Hardwood lump charcoal is praised for adding the most taste to meats, but is more expensive than briquettes. Lump coals can also be made from different types of wood, all of which will impact the flavour of your food.

You don’t have to stick to one type of coal, either. Some people opt to use chunks of wood on top of the lit coals. Alternatively, you can stack unlit charcoal on top of the hot coals. The idea behind these two methods is to slightly reduce the heat and consequently, not burn any of those precious drippings. They will heat up slowly and evaporate, infusing with the food above.

Why Does Charcoal BBQ Taste Better?

Other Benefits Of A Charcoal BBQ

Of course, the benefits aren’t limited to the taste of the meat. Here are some additional areas where charcoal BBQs have the advantage:

Cooking Speed – As we’ve mentioned previously in this article, charcoal burns much hotter than gas. This is because each coal is mainly carbon. You can cook food faster with charcoal, meaning you don’t have to keep your guests waiting.

Relatively Inexpensive – When compared to purchasing a gas BBQ, charcoal alternatives are much cheaper. They are best suited to anyone that doesn’t consistently grill, as the initial cost is less. Keep in mind, however, that charcoal will cost slightly more to use per session.

Temperature Control – Charcoal BBQs are great for a method of cooking known as two zone grilling. This is when all charcoal is placed on one side of the BBQ, creating separate cooking areas. One will use direct heat, while the other will cook food using indirect heat.


Hopefully, this article explains why charcoal BBQs taste better. Meats cooked over searing coals have a more distinct flavour and aroma. With charcoal, you can also experiment by using different briquettes to find a flavour that perfectly matches your taste buds. At the end of the day, it’s all science!


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