I have been having BBQ parties ever since I could remember. And it didn’t take me long to learn from my dad to grill. And I love grilling on cool days.
Imagine the heat from the grill keeping you warm while you cook for the entire family, having a laugh. I could do this every day!
Did you know that at least 7 in 10 people own a grill at their respective homes in the U.S.? And about half of these grill owners invest in grilling accessories, which include the type of fuel they want to use.
Commonly, charcoal is used in a charcoal grill. However, a lot of grill owners use wood in a charcoal grill to get that unique smokey flavor that you can’t get from charcoal.
Read More : Can You Use Wood in a Kamado Grill
So can you burn wood in a charcoal grill?
The thing is, you can burn wood on a charcoal grill, but you just have to maintain a few things if you have no experience, which you’ll get to learn about in a bit.
Can You Use Any Wood for BBQ?
Yes, you can actually use wood for BBQ-ing any type of food like vegetables or meat. Not only can you do it, but you will also get a better smokey flavor if you use wood.
And there are wood grills specifically for grilling food with wood. However, you can also grill your food with wood on a charcoal grill.
Wood grills and charcoal grills have different mechanisms and advantages. With a charcoal grill, you need to light the fire first, then wait for a bit before you can start your cooking.
On the contrary, you can cook with a wood grill right after you light the fire on the wood that you are using.
And when charcoal girls can essentially get hotter than wood grills, which can cook your food faster. However, it can be a bit tricky to control the fire if you use wood on a charcoal grill.
The best thing about grilling with wood is that the smoke from the wood produces a unique smokey flavor that you cannot achieve with charcoal.
Can You Use Wood Chips in a Charcoal Grill?
You can use wood chips in a charcoal grill to cook your food. And the best time to use wood chips is when you use both wood and charcoal to grill.
When you are using both fuel types, I suggest you don’t use wood logs in your charcoal grill because it can complicate things. Rather you should use wood chips.
You can use charcoal for cooking the food and wood chips to bring out the smokey flavor. This is the best method of grilling the tastiest food.
However, you need to keep the charcoal and the wood chips separated. Just keep them together without mixing them with each other.
You could round up your charcoal in the middle and surround them with the wood chips to smolder slowly.
Or you can use a smoker box and wait for the charcoal to burn out before you add your wood to the box.
If you don’t have a smoker box, just wrap your wood chips in aluminum foil twice, sealing them tightly.
Then, make a few holes in the foil before you add it to the fire after the charcoals have ashed. This way, you can get the best of both worlds.
Is Grilling with Wood Bad For You?
Grilling with wood is bad for you. Scientists have found through their research that grilling on fire with wood or anything else can lead to cancer.
For decades, researchers have known that cooking food on fire can release carcinogens or cancer-inducing properties.
When you grill your food over a flame using wood or other types of fuel, it releases chemicals that are called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or PAHs.
These chemicals or PAHs can cause cancer in your body parts like your skin, your stomach, your liver, or other parts.
This is because when tested on animals, PAHs have caused these types of cancers in the test subjects.
However, when these PAHs mix with nitrogen, let’s say from a piece of meat, they become NPAHs or nitrated PAHs.
These NPAHs are known to cause cancer even more than the PAHs that scientists work with within their laboratories.
Thus, when you grill food like meat with wood or any other type of fuel, it will create these NPAHs that present the risk of several different types of cancer in your body, which can be the cause of your death.
So even if you can’t give up grilled food so easily, try to cut down on food that is cooked over an open flame.
Grilling with Wood Vs. Charcoal
Grilling with wood has different advantages than grilling with charcoal. Even though grilling with charcoal is more common, wood has more benefits.
Now I’ll take about the benefits of grilling with wood compared to grilling with charcoal down below.
When you grill with wood, it is easier to handle than when you grill using charcoal. If you make one wrong decision, you might end up with black powder all over you when you use charcoal.
On the other hand, with wood, you don’t have to deal with this mess as it is much cleaner than charcoal.
When you use wood to grill your food, it burns hotter than charcoal. The most important benefit of using wood is that it burns for a longer period than charcoal ever would.
Wood can even create a steadier flame than charcoal. The drier your wood, the more you get out of it.
Charcoal can only burn for half an hour or even a full hour. But wood can go for longer than that.
I already talked about the smokey flavor you would get from using wood to grill your food. You will never get that same effect if you use charcoal.
Charcoal burns hot and faster than wood, which doesn’t produce any unique flavor. But the smoke coming from wood makes the smell and taste of your food completely different.
Charcoal is barely used for anything but grilling. But with wood, you can use it not just for grilling but also for other things.
Easier to Light
Lighting fire to the wood is really easy, as you will only need a match, some kindling, and tinder to start your fire. Sometimes, you don’t even need more than a match if the wood is really dry.
On the contrary, it’s really a struggle to light the fire to charcoal and keep it burning even when it’s soaked in fuel.
Wood is all-natural, as you can just cut down a tree and turn it into firewood. But charcoal needs to be made by burning wood slowly in an oxygen-deprived environment, which is a big hassle.
The unique smokey taste is not all that you from your food if you grill with wood. You will also enjoy the sweet smell of the smoke from burning wood that you can’t get from charcoal.
Combining with Charcoal
Even though grilling with wood has its advantages, you can try combining charcoal with wood to grill your food.
In this way, you can get the benefits of using both types of fuel and creating amazing food.
You can use wood to grill your food on a charcoal grill if you want to. Even if you don’t have the experience, it’s not that hard to cook with wood.
I would suggest that you use both wood and charcoal on your charcoal grill to reap the benefits of using both types of fuel.
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