Can You Burn Wood In A Charcoal BBQ?

A barbecue party is a pretty good occasion to gather your family and friends. You love making BBQ for your loved one. Besides, you have become an expert in charcoal BBQ.

Therefore, you would like to use wood to make barbecue food. Can you burn wood in a charcoal BBQ? Sunset Bar and Grill has prepared the answer for you via the article. Let’s find out the answer!

Can you burn wood in a charcoal bbq?

Totally yes. You can use wood chips or burn any type of softwoods, hardwoods in a charcoal BBQ. There aren’t any reasons that can stop you from using wood instead of charcoal. Just make sure that your barbecue is in good shape, then you can use wood instead of charcoal if you like.

Burning woods in a charcoal BBQ

Burning woods in a charcoal BBQ

You can use wood chips, softwoods, or hardwoods to cook. But you also have to remember that wood won’t burn as hot as charcoal. It means that when you use wood, you have to take longer for your food to be done.

Please keep in mind that using wood chips or softwood may be hard for you to control the fire in the first place if you do not have any experience. On the other hand, using wood to cook BBQ will create and reserve the tasty flavors of food.

It will have a special flavor while you cook on real firewood. Some kinds of aromatic wood such as hickory, apple will enhance the odours and flavors of your dishes. Even if there are no chemicals released while you use wood, the fact woods’ aroma still can make the food become tastier.

Advantages of using wood in a charcoal BBQ

Furthermore, we will show you some advantages that you can have while using wood in a charcoal BBQ:

  • Better flavor and odour

As we said above, using wood will bring the food’s odour and flavor to the next level. You can have different flavors depending on the species of wood. The aroma of the wood will tickle your taste buds and make the food more enjoyable.

  • Easy to clean up

Even if wood might be harder to control than charcoal, it will be pretty easier for you to clean up afterwards. You won’t have to deal with black particles on your hands and clothes like using charcoal. Besides, you can also clean your barbecue easier.

  • No potential harmful fumes

Using wood to cook means that your food will not be exposed to any potential harmful fumes. Charcoal might release some chemicals that could be pretty bad for your health. Also, sometimes while cooking with charcoal, your food will have a bitter flavor.

Steps to barbecuing with wood

What you need to prepare is a charcoal barbecue. Also any kind of wood chips, wood chunks that you like. A lighter is also needed. When you have everything done, please follow these instructions carefully:

  • Step 1: Build a wood pyramid or wood hut

Arrange the wood chips or wood chunk in the forms of a pyramid inside the charcoal barbecue. If you don’t want a pyramid form, you can build it into a hut. Remember to use the smallest wood chunk or chips. Because if we will light it first. You can also put up some branches or newspapers if you want.

Built a pyramid wood form before light the fire

Built a pyramid wood form before light the fire

  • Step 2: Light the fire

Use your lighter or a match on the smallest pieces of wood. When you see the wood starts to burn, let it burn for a while.

  • Step 3: Arrange the woods to maintain the fire

The fire will spread slowly. It’s time for you to remove the wood if you see there is a large fire. You can add a little more wood chips if the fire is not strong enough.

After you finish doing these steps, you can now enjoy your cooking time.

Frequently Asked Question

1. Why types of wood can I use in a charcoal BBQ?

There are many types of wood for you to choose. But remember that we recommend you to wood chunks or wood chips over logs or splits. You can also choose hardwoods instead of softwoods if you want too. Hardwoods will burn longer than softwoods. Now, there are some popular types of wood you can use:

  • Hickory: this wood has a very unique nutty flavor. Barbecue experts say that this wood has the richest flavor and a beautiful rosy color. It’s the best wood to use for barbecuing pork, lamb, and beef.
  • Oak: Oak is like Hickory. It also has a nutty flavor. But this wood will give your meat a nice, golden and brown color. We recommend you mix Oak and Mesquite wood together. It will create a unique flavor.
  • Applewood: If you are a fan of sweet and ashy flavor. Applewood is a great choice for you. This wood is the best for barbecuing bacon. It will paint the meat brown and yellow.
  • Walnut: Who doesn’t love smoke flavor while eating barbecue? Walnut will give the meat an intense smoke flavor that everyone loves. But remember you should not use this type of wood with tender cuts or seafood.

2. Can I both use wood and charcoal at the same time?

Actually you can. It will be the best combination in some situations. You can handle the fire easier and the wood also increases the food flavor. You just need to start a fire with a few pieces of wood and then add your charcoal to the barbecue.

Using charcoal and wood to barbecue

Using charcoal and wood to barbecue

3. What should I avoid doing if I use wood instead of charcoal?

There are a few thing that you should probably avoid while using wood:

  • Do not put the food in too soon. You should maintain and control your fire into a good shape then start to place your food in the barbecue. If you put it in too soon, the food will not get the wonderful color it should have.
  • Don’t use spruce and pine. We know that it’s pretty easy to find but they can produce resin that destroys the taste of your food. And it’s not good for your health either.
  • In case that you are using both wood and charcoal: You should not add wet wood over charcoal. It will immediately bring the temperature down. Add the wood on the side, and remember to use wood chips or chunks.

4. Which BBQ burns hotter: wood or charcoal?

Charcoal will burn hotter. A charcoal barbecue can reach higher temperatures. It can be up to 600 degrees Celsius while wood barbecue can be around 300 and 400 degrees Celsius.

That explains why using charcoal will cook faster. But you have to be extra careful because it can burn your food pretty quickly.

5. Are using wood chips healthier than charcoal?

Actually, there is no evidence to say that using wood while barbecuing or grilling is healthier than charcoal. Yes, using wood can add more unique flavor and odour and tickle your taste buds. But it doesn’t mean that this method is healthier than other grilling or barbecuing methods.


After reading this article, you don’t have to worry or wonder “can you burn wood in a charcoal BBQ”. We hope to provide the best answer for your question. Also, we hope that after reading this article, you can have a wonderful time cooking barbecue while using woods with your loved one.

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