Can I Use Wood in a Charcoal Grill? (Yes! You Can!)

Nowadays you might get some of the best charcoal grills under $200. However, to make the most out of a charcoal grill is not about only using charcoal and have the same flavor over an over again.

Instead, to make the most of your grill, I suggest using wood sometimes as it enhances and adds a unique flavor to the food you cook daily.

I had used charcoal in my charcoal grill for a long time and never even thought of using anything else during that period. Later I found out something interesting about using wood, which was a terrific experience and ever since then I use wood very often in my charcoal grill.

Today I am here to share my experience and thoughts about using wood, be whatever type it is, in a charcoal grill. Let’s just dig in…

Yes, you can really use wood in a charcoal grill.

You might think that you can only use charcoal in your charcoal grill. I assure you that you are not the one who thinks so.

Rather most people use charcoal as the only source of fuel in their charcoal grills. However, using wood is absolutely fine, which is the ultimate point today I’m concerned about.

You can rather use wood as an alternative of charcoal or you can also use wood mixing with the charcoal. Both wok fine and have tried the both.

What kind of wood should I use In my charcoal grill?

You might want to know which kind of wood you should use in your charcoal grill. My simple answer to that question is you can use almost all types of woods, be it firewood, cooking wood, hardwood, wood chips or wood pellets.

Nowadays, firewood and cooking wood are most frequently used. Sometimes, people just talk about using hardwood, which is not true indeed. You can try whichever you want; just do it carefully, and, of course, using the proper guideline.

Using firewood in a charcoal grill: 

  • The first step is to choose the right sport of firewood for your charcoal grill.  For the optimum cooking experience, you need that kind of firewood that burns efficiently. Don’t get any firewood which has more than 30% moisture. I recommend using the kiln firewood, which is dried to the most.
  • Now it’s time to add the selected firewood to you grill.  Detach the cooking grate of your grill by opening the lid. Then you have to use a stack to arrange the firewood effectively with an uncovered center for efficient airflow.
  • Then you can fire the wood up using the lit match. You can use kindling and tinder as small pile as the stack center to fire it up.
  • When you see that the whole firewood has turned into coal, you are all set to add food on it. Usually, red-orange color of glowing coal means it is enough hot for cooking.
  • Eventually, you just need to check the food frequently until it is fully cooked or cooked up to your desire.

Using firewood and charcoal together:

You can use firewood and charcoal together the same way discussed above. However, when you plan to use the both at once, don’t go for the firewood logs rather use smoking chunks of wood.

The charcoal and smoking chunks together will give you amazingly seared and uniquely flavored food.

Using Cooking Wood in a charcoal grill:

  1. At first, you have to add the desired firewood to you grill.  Then everything is about using the grill’s dampers in steady hands.
  2. Then light up the wood using your lit match. When it is ready, you can add your food on the grill.
  3. You have to keep adding more cooking wood so that your grill has needed temperature.
  4. If you prioritize added smokey flavor, you can use the technique of reverse sear.
  5. I do not recommend soaking the cooking wood and using lighter fluid on it.

Using cooking wood and charcoal together:

This is also as simple as it sounds. Here the heat source is the charcoal and the wood chunks for cooking functions to unique flavor to the food. Just try to hold the right temperature.

Use Wood chips in a Charcoal Grill

Using Wood Chips in a Charcoal grill:

  1. The first step of using wood chips in a charcoal grill is lighting up the coal effectively.
  2. To light up the coal you can use the existing grill method or the chimney starter method.
  3. When you have lightened it up, you are ready to add the wood chips.
  4. To avoid combusting issue use a vessel of  aluminum foil and shape it like a bowl
  5. The place the wood chips and close it and use it in the grill

Using wood pellets in a charcoal grill:

  1. Firstly, you just need to mix the pellets with the charcoal you prefer.
  2. The light up the coal using the chimney starter method
  3. Then, if the grill is hot enough, you can add the pellets to the coal
  4. Keep the vents half open all the time
  5. I recommend to use a smoker of pellet tube to stop unnecessary combusting issues

Also Read

What are the benefits of using wood in a charcoal grill?

There are several unique and unmatchable benefits of using wood in a charcoal grill. For instance, firewood adds a unique flavor to the food releasing some components as smoke. Moreover, it adds to the existing flavor of the food.  Apart from this the, sometimes you can mix up different type of firewood to more unique and other flavors.

The cooking wood is easy to start fire. In addition, as it is all natural, there is no chance of any harmful smokes or fumes release.  The wood chips also allow the startup in a very cheap and user-friendly method.


It is not and has been only about the popularity of charcoal; it is always about learning and trying something new. That is why, since the day I found out about using wood in a charcoal grill, I recommend people to do this.  Literally, there is no downside in it; only several of amazing benefits.

Practically speaking, I found using wood in a charcoal grill is something worth of trying. Try it out today.

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