Leña o carbón para hacer una barbacoa

Wood or charcoal – which is better for your barbecue?


To light a fireplace or barbecue, there are two fuels available: wood and charcoal. Many people think that charcoal originates from the wood that is burned and that they are two almost identical fuels, but this is not entirely correct.

In the case of lighting a fireplace, there is no doubt, the best option is to use wood. This is because in a fireplace the main objective is that the fire lasts for a long time. We recommend you read our post “What is the best firewood for the fireplace?” where we tell you about the types of firewood and what is the best combination for your fireplace.

Visit our wood-burning stoves and fireplaces shop here

If you want to light a barbecue, it doesn’t matter what the fire is, the key is the embers. At this point…which option is better: ready-made charcoal or normal wood?

Firewood, the perfect fuel for specific occasions

Wood is a fuel that takes longer to make embers and depends to a large extent on the type of wood used. For barbecues, when we choose to grill with wood, the perfect wood is olive wood for vegetables and holm oak wood for meat, fish or rice. This last option has the great advantage that it is very easy to control by removing or adding logs.

Lighting the fireplace with wood

The use of firewood for the barbecue should be at a specific time, as it provides a very smoky flavour that we do not obtain with charcoal. It should be noted that each firewood is different and, knowing the different types of firewood, can offer us many options for our barbecue.

Tip: Add wood chips soaked in water, juice or beer to flavour the food to your liking. 

Charcoal, the perfect fuel for a variety of barbecues

Charcoal is a very easy fuel to light, produces less smoke and needs less time to generate the embers, usually half an hour. It is perfect when we are going to cook various kinds of food on the barbecue.

Lighting the barbecue with charcoal

The biggest advantage is that it is ideal for cooking different foods at the same time. Although flavours are mixed, these foods have a very peculiar smoky flavour.

The perfect barbecue

The first thing to choose is: wood or charcoal? With the above information you will have no doubt which fuel to choose. The best advice we can give you is to try and enjoy testing until you find your perfect combination.

Experienced barbecue experts even mix the two fuels. For example, to cook good barbecued rice in the first place, we can generate those embers and heat quickly with charcoal. However, when cooking the rice, you could add orange wood to the charcoal to raise the temperature.

Making a varied barbecue

In conclusion, experiment with both fuels. Each brings something different to the table. The important thing is to get to know them and to know the advantages of each one.

Note: We recommend the use of both fuels for barbecues always in an outdoor space, especially the use of charcoal. 

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