Grilling with wood chips instead of charcoal is a very popular method of cooking. No matter what kind of food you’re grilling, charcoal will provide a sufficient amount of heat, whether it’s hamburgers, steaks, chicken breasts, or anything else. Therefore, you might be wondering whether cooking wood can be used as an alternative to charcoal or if it can be mixed with charcoal.
Throughout human history, cooking over wood has been a timeless tradition. Even though modern conveniences such as microwave ovens and gas grills make cooking over wood easier, it offers incredible flavors and is fun. Our article will explore how to grill with cooking wood, and provide some excellent tips on how to accomplish this.
Cooking wood can be used for grilling
Grilling with wood chips instead of charcoal is an excellent method of generating heat, but it adds virtually no flavor to a meal. Almost entirely made up of carbon, charcoal is an excellent source of fuel for grilling. The heating element can reach extremely high temperatures once lit, enabling you to sear meat at temperatures between 500 and 800 degrees.
Many people believe that cooking wood cannot get as hot as charcoal, but this is only true when using lower-quality wood. For example, if you use hickory cooking wood from Cutting Edge, you can cook at insane temperatures! When using damp and decayed wood, however, you might have trouble getting the fire hot enough.
People have been cooking over wood for centuries, long before charcoal was invented for this purpose. As a matter of fact, briquette charcoal didn’t appear until the end of the 19th century. Swoyer earned a patent for briquette charcoal in 1897. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) assigned the patent to Zwoyer. Other entrepreneurs followed suit by manufacturing their own types of briquette charcoal in the years that followed. Cooking wood, however, was almost exclusively used for Grilling with wood chips instead of charcoal before modern was invented.
If you are used to Grilling with wood chips instead of charcoal, then we recommend that you start with cooking wood chunks, since they are the most similar in size and function to charcoal. Another good option is cooking wood splits, which are 8 inches long and 1-2 inches wide. This works well for small grills.
Charcoal and wood can be mixed
The most popular way to cook food today is to grill or smoke it over a mixture of wood and charcoal. You start by heating charcoal on the grill and then add a few chunks of cooking wood just before adding the meat. When you cook meat, veggies, bread, or cheese, a few pieces of wood can make a big difference in flavor.
Start by lighting the charcoal when you are mixing charcoal with cooking wood. Adding wood to a grill or smoker once it has reached the ideal temperature is followed by adding the food. You’ll be able to start enjoying delicious smoky flavor right away if you’re using good-quality wood! You may read out our review article on the best wood for smoking ribs.
The advantages of grilling with wood
There are several advantages to Grilling with wood chips instead of charcoal. Cooking with wood is more flavorful than cooking with charcoal. There is no guarantee that charcoal produces a bad taste. Most people will agree, however, that grilled food tastes better when the wood is used rather than briquettes or lump charcoal. You’ll taste the flavorful smoke released by the burning wood as your food cooks.
Additionally, cooking wood is completely natural, so your food isn’t exposed to harmful substances or fumes during the cooking process. It is not uncommon to find charcoal that has been presoaked in lighter fluid. You might end up with a harsh and bitter taste if you use charcoal soaked in water. Even unsoaked charcoal can contain substances that produce an unpleasant flavor when burned. For example, briquette charcoal contains sawdust and wood scraps bound together with cornstarch. On the other hand, cooking wood consists of all-natural wood without any additives or fillers, making it a safer and more desirable type of fuel.
Charcoal is messy, let’s face it. You will probably get black particles on your hands and clothes when preparing your grill with charcoal. You can permanently stain your clothes with charcoal if the stain is not dealt with immediately. However, you do not have to worry about staining your clothes when handling wood when cooking. Grilling with wood chips instead of charcoal used for cooking purposes must be clean and free of compounds that may cause stains.
While cooking with wood, you’ll probably notice that it emits a pleasant smell. There is a distinct aroma associated with each type of wood. If you grill on your patio or outdoor living space, the aroma will engulf your senses to enhance your grilling experience. When your neighbors smell your amazing cooking, they may come knocking!
Grilling with wood has some disadvantages
Cooking with wood presents some disadvantages? It really doesn’t matter if you use quality wood or not. Burning dry and dense wood produces amazing flavors and will burn hotter for longer.
However, you will struggle with wood that is damp. Wet wood makes pitmasters struggle to light their cooking wood, and once it is lit, the smoke from the wood has a musty flavor. It is not liked by anyone. Grilling with seasoned wood can also result in the wood having mold and fungus in it. What a disgusting thing to do!
There are specific places where we can purchase wood that is free of bugs, mold, fungi and has an extremely low moisture content…
Grilling with the Right Wood
The type of wood you choose for your grill depends on the type of cooking you will do. At Cutting Edge Firewood, we offer a wide selection of kiln-dried cooking wood. It is the most rigorous kiln-drying process in the industry. We cut the trees and place them quickly into the kiln for 48 hours at 250 degrees. Regardless of its density (seasoned wood will decompose), the wood comes out extremely clean and dry after its killing.
Whether you choose our chunks, splits, or logs, you will have an incredible experience when you cook with Cutting Edge Firewood.
Make sure you consider the type of tree the cooking wood came from vested. Softwood species contain more moisture and resin, so hardwood species are more preferred. Furthermore, hardwood trees can produce more heat and burn for longer periods of time. Thus, hardwood trees are better for grilling than softwood trees such as oak, cherry, and hickory. Cleaner burning produces better-tasting food. Cutting Edge only offers hardwoods!
Cooking Wood on the Grill
Charcoal and wood chunks mix well for most people. Getting started with wood cooking is easy with this method. Here’s how you can cook with only wood, however, if you’re ready to step it up a notch.
Prepare your grill by arranging the wood chunks, sticks, or logs in the fuel compartment below the grate when you’re ready to grill with cooking wood. Oakwood provides great heat and subtle flavor, so it’s an excellent replacement for charcoal. Then you can proceed to light the grill once the bottom is filled with cooking wood. To light, the Excelsior fire starters, place them under the wood, and light them with a match. We can easily light our dry cooking wood with these all-natural fire starters that burn for several minutes. Be sure to place a couple of pieces of kindling underneath the cooking wood if you’re using logs.
The wood can then be treated just like charcoal from then on!
To get the best grilling results with cooking wood, follow these tips:
- We recommend using oak as an alternative to charcoal, but you can also use other species as a flavor enhancer.
- To increase the heat, open your grill’s dampers all the way. Close the grill’s dampers to reduce the heat.
- As your cooking wood burns to ash, add new pieces to maintain a stable grilling temperature.
- Consider using the reverse sear technique for a smoker’s flavor. Adding more time to the smoke process will give you better results every time.
- Try different types of cooking wood to see which offers the best flavor.
- Cooking wood shouldn’t be treated with lighter fluid.
- Cooking wood shouldn’t be soaked in water. Although this sounds like a good way to extend its burn time, soaking cooking wood in water will only hinder its combustion while creating excessive steam.
Grilling with wood chips instead of charcoal isn’t the most dependable method. Cooking with wood offers a number of advantages over grilling meat and veggies with charcoal. Using the right kind of wood can give you a great experience when you grill with charcoal or with nothing but wood.
The premium kiln-dried wood from Cutting Edge Firewood will help you create the perfect grill. It will allow you to cook delicious, restaurant-quality food, whether you choose hickory, pecan, white oak, or cherry. You can browse all of our cooking wood here.