When we want to light a fireplace or a barbecue, we have two types of fuel available that at first glance seem the same, but each presents characteristics that must be taken into account. You may think that coal is nothing more than partially burned wood, but that is not entirely correct.
In the case of a fireplace, there is no doubt that wood is the best option, as the idea is to keep the fire burning for a long time. However, things change when it comes to making a barbecue, where the embers are what really matter. Therefore, to know how to make a barbecue, you have to ask yourself whether it is better to use regular wood or charcoal prepared for lighting.
Comparison between charcoal and wood for use in barbecues
The choice between charcoal and wood for a barbecue depends on your personal preferences, your ability to handle fire, and your environmental concerns. If you prefer an authentic smoky flavor and are environmentally conscious, wood may be the best option. If you are looking for ease of use and high temperatures, charcoal may be more suitable.
Wood can provide a more authentic and smoky flavor to food than charcoal. Choosing the right wood, such as oak, apple, cherry, or walnut, can add unique flavors to the food being cooked. Charcoal, on the other hand, provides a more neutral flavor, but can still give a smoky touch to the food.
Charcoal heats up faster and provides higher and more uniform temperatures compared to wood. This can be useful for cooking foods that require high temperatures, such as steaks. Wood takes longer to reach high temperatures and can be more difficult to control.
Ease of Use
Charcoal is easier to light and maintain than wood. It also produces fewer sparks and less smoke, which can be beneficial for those who prefer a cleaner barbecue experience. Wood requires more attention and skill to maintain a constant temperature and can generate more smoke.
Wood is a more sustainable and renewable energy source if obtained responsibly. However, unregulated logging and excessive use of wood can have a negative impact on forests and the environment. Charcoal, on the other hand, is a non-renewable resource and its production contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.
Charcoal, better for varied barbecues
If you are going to prepare a barbecue in which different foods will be cooked, charcoal will be the best option for several reasons. The first is that when it comes to lighting the fire and having the embers ready, this fuel is more effective. In about half an hour, you can have great embers, perfect for grilling as well as for roasting vegetables inside them. Just wrap each vegetable in aluminum foil and put it directly on the embers, letting the heat do its job. This way you can cook several things at once.
In addition, the charcoal barbecue is perfect for classic gatherings among friends. Those in which everyone is invited over to enjoy good times. In these gatherings, it doesn’t matter if the flavors mix a bit, and charcoal will give a very characteristic smoky touch.
Wood, ideal for specific preparations
The case of wood is different. First because it takes longer to make a good ember depending on the type of wood used. And then, because there are certain woods that will give a different flavor to each food, so some are more appropriate than others depending on what you plan to prepare.
For example, oak wood is perfect for rice and fish, while olive wood is better for vegetables. Others such as pine or orange wood provide a special taste to meats. Therefore, they are more suitable if you plan to prepare a themed barbecue, so to speak. Choosing the types of wood is important in these cases.
When is wood or charcoal better?
If you are going to prepare a barbecue in an indoor area that does not have much ventilation, charcoal is more recommended than wood. Wood releases certain compounds when burned, such as benzene or sulfur, so it is necessary to have a place with more clean air or a barbecue that has a system to extract fumes and renew the air.
In any case, enjoying a barbecue is a great pleasure, so choose the best fuel to prepare it, but above all do not give it up. Nothing tastes better than a meal prepared this way.