Grilling is an age-old tradition that many families have enjoyed for generations. Whether you are a seasoned pro or a novice griller, the debate between charcoal vs. wood grilling is something that many people have an opinion on. While both methods have benefits and drawbacks, the decision ultimately comes down to personal preference. In this blog post, we'll explore the pros and cons of charcoal vs. wood grilling to help you decide which method is best for you.

Settling the debate between charcoal and hardwood

Charcoal vs. Wood Grilling: Which is Best for Your Barbecue Feast?

When it comes to outdoor cooking, there's no denying that grilling has become an American pastime. Whether hosting a large gathering or enjoying dinner with your family, nothing beats the taste of grilled meats and veggies. But with so many options available, how do you know which grilling method is best for your barbecue feast? 

One of the most common debates among grill enthusiasts is whether charcoal or wood grilling is superior. While both methods have pros and cons, there is no "one size fits all" answer to this question. Let's explore the differences between charcoal and wood grilling and discover which might be better for your next cookout.

Charcoal grilling

Charcoal Grilling

Charcoal grilling has been around for decades, and the method has become a favorite among many grillers. One of the benefits of charcoal grilling is that it gives food a smoky flavor that is hard to replicate with other grilling methods. Charcoal grilling is also popular because it is usually cheaper than wood grilling. Additionally, charcoal grills come in a variety of sizes, making them perfect for small or large gatherings.

While these benefits are undoubtedly appealing, charcoal grilling has some drawbacks. For example, charcoal grilling can be messy and time-consuming. Lighting the coals can be a hassle, and maintaining the perfect temperature can be challenging, especially for novice grillers. Additionally, charcoal grilling requires more effort when cleaning up afterward.

Wood chips, chunks, and logs

Wood Grilling

Wood grilling is another popular method that is beloved by many grillers. One of the main benefits of wood grilling is that it gives food a unique flavor that cannot be replicated with other methods. Additionally, wood grilling is considered healthier than charcoal grilling because no chemicals or additives are necessary to start the fire. Another advantage of wood grilling is that it produces less ash than charcoal grilling.

However, there are also some drawbacks to wood grilling. The cost of wood can be much higher than charcoal, making it a less economical choice for some grillers. Additionally, wood grills can be more challenging to find and are often more expensive than charcoal grills. Finally, wood grilling can be harder than charcoal grilling, as getting the temperature right requires more skill and patience.

Factors to Consider

When deciding between charcoal and wood grilling, several factors must be considered. For example, charcoal may be the better choice for a quick and easy grilling experience. However, if you are searching for a more unique flavor and are willing to put in more effort, wood grilling may be the way to go. Additionally, budget may be a factor in your decision, as wood grilling can be more expensive than charcoal.

Charcoal or Hardwood - You Decide

Charcoal vs. Wood Grilling: Pros & Cons

Whether you're a seasoned pro or a grilling newbie, you've likely heard the debate about charcoal vs. wood grilling. Both methods have their loyal followers, but which one reigns supreme? Here are some pros and cons of charcoal vs. wood grilling and help you decide which one best fits your grilling needs.

The Encore Hybrid Grill


One of the most significant differences between charcoal and wood grilling is the flavor each method imparts to your food. Charcoal grilling is known for creating a deep, smoky flavor many grill masters swear by. This comes from the charcoal's ability to create a long-lasting, consistent heat that allows the meat to cook slowly and absorb all those smoky flavors. Wood grilling, however, allows for a broader range of tastes, depending on the wood you're using. For example, hickory wood creates a robust and savory flavor, while fruitwoods like cherry or apple create a milder, sweeter taste.

Temperature Control

Temperature control is another factor when choosing between charcoal and wood grilling. Charcoal grills tend to be easier to control when it comes to temperature, thanks to their adjustable vents that allow you to increase or decrease oxygen flow to the coals. This means you can dial in the perfect temperature for your meat and keep it there for the duration of the cook. On the other hand, wood grills tend to be more finicky regarding temperature control. You must be vigilant and frequently adjust the fire to keep it at the desired temperature.

Cooking Time

Charcoal grills may be quicker to heat up, but they remain hot for only a short time. You'll also need to replenish the charcoal, prolonging the cooking time. On the other hand, wood grilling requires more time for the grill to reach its optimal temperature but remains hot for longer. This means less work for the grill master and less time spent replenishing the fuel while cooking.

The Muscle Hybrid Grill


When it comes to convenience, charcoal grilling is the clear winner. Charcoal briquettes are readily available in most grocery stores, and it's easy to get your grill started and barbecue within minutes. On the flip side, wood grilling requires more prep time, including gathering wood, cutting it into the right size, and allowing it to season.


Regarding maintenance, charcoal and wood grills are pretty even. Solid fuels generally leave significant ash and debris, requiring routine cleaning. Additionally, charcoal is readily available at most grocery stores, so restocking your fuel supply is easy and convenient. With wood grilling, you'll need to plan and have a good collection of wood on hand.


When it comes to versatility, wood grilling has the edge over charcoal. While you can cook a wide variety of meats on a charcoal grill, the type of flavor you get is mainly limited to the smoky taste that charcoal imparts. With wood grilling, however, you can experiment with different kinds of wood to achieve different flavors, and you can also use other cooking techniques, such as direct or indirect heat, to achieve different results.

Environmental Impact

Finally, the environmental impact of charcoal vs. wood grilling is worth considering. Charcoal is made from wood, but making it can be carbon-intensive. Additionally, many brands of charcoal are not sustainably sourced, meaning that the production of the fuel can contribute to deforestation and other environmental concerns. Wood grilling, however, can be more environmentally friendly if you choose the right type of wood and use it responsibly.

With a hybrid grill, you can burn hardwood and charcoal at same time

But why does it have to be either, or?

The Encore Grill features a multi-fuel loading system

When it comes to grilling, many people think they must choose between the classic taste of smoky charcoal or the convenience of gas. But why does it have to be either, or? Thanks to hybrid grills, you can have the best of both worlds. With the ability to choose from an array of fuel sources, including charcoal briquettes, lump coal, hardwood chunks, wood blocks, wood chips, pellets, or natural gas, there's no need to compromise on flavor or ease of use. Whether you're a traditionalist or a tech-savvy chef, a hybrid grill offers the versatility and customization that every grilling enthusiast craves.

Are you a grilling enthusiast looking for the ultimate outdoor appliance? Look no further than American Made Grills' Encore and Muscle Grills. These high-end grills offer unparalleled versatility, luxury, and craftsmanship. With the ability to grill with any fuel or combination, your cooking options are endless. Need to ignite solid fuels quickly? The powerful gas burners have got you covered. Plus, the patent-pending multifuel loading system allows you to mix fuels and easily create different cooking zones thanks to individual solid fuel trays above each burner. And let's not forget the impeccable craftsmanship - these grills are crafted from the best #304 stainless steel in Huntington Beach, CA, so you know they're made to last. Trust us, there's no going back once you experience the Encore or Muscle Grill.

Here's to Fantastic Barbecue No Matter Your Fuel of Choice

Grilling is an art that requires patience, skill, and the right tools. Whether you prefer charcoal or wood grilling comes down to personal preference, your cooking style, and the kind of barbecue you want. For a quick, easy, and consistent grilling experience, choose charcoal. Wood grilling is your best bet if you're all about optimal flavor and are okay with the prep time.

Whether you prefer the smoky flavor of charcoal or the unique taste of wood, there is no denying that grilling is a fun and rewarding experience. We hope this blog post has provided helpful information to help you decide which method is best for you. Happy grilling!

The built-in Muscle Grill