The key to a good barbecue is getting the right fuel and then making sure the heat is evenly distributed. With so many different types of barbecue fuels on the market today you need to make sure you know about each one and choose the one that will give you the results you’re after. Practicing with different types and varieties of fuels will help you gain an understanding of how each fuel performs enabling you to perfect the art of barbecuing. This will ensure you get the results you’re after each and every time.
Charcoal, wood pellets, briquettes, wood and gas are all different types of fuels that are available down at the local shops. It’s a daunting task to decide which fuel to buy right? Many friends have told me that they simply turn to gas because this is what they are familiar with and it’s easier. I tend to think that yes it may be easier to use gas, but it’s difficult to achieve the same wonderful flavours as cooking with charcoal. With the introduction of pellet grills such as the Yoder Smokers YS640 and BBQ starters such as the Pro Q Chimney, it is much faster and easier and you can be cooking with charcoal in less than 20mins.
Deciding which fuel is suitable is difficult because you want to use the fuel that’s going to give you the best results, however, at the end of the day we suggest you try a variety of fuels to work out which you prefer. There is no wrong decision here. You cook how you like it. Experiment and have fun learning which fuel you like to use and when you get it right, with the right flavour, you’ll be crowned King of the barbecue. The key is to enjoy the process, pick and choose, mix it up, umm and arrr, try different ways to cook your meat and work out which gives you the best flavours, results and compliments!
Wood Pellets, as the name suggests, are made from compressed sawdust. The mix is extruded into long pencil sized rods under intense pressure and broken into small pieces about 2 – 3cm long. Wood Pellets come in a range of different brands and flavours and can be used in electric Pellet Grills such as the Yoder Smokers YS640 Pellet Grill. There are a number of different manufacturers of pellets on the market but we have found the American brand BBQr’s Delight, to be exceptional quality because of their clean burn. Which ever pellet brand you choose, be it Australian made Smoking’ Wood Pellets or BBQrs Delight Pellets, they are easy to measure and use.
Not only are wood pellets used for electric pellet smokers, they can also be used in Gas fire smokers, like the Hark Cabinet Smokers or in cold smoking units for smoking cheese and seafood.
Wood pellets come in a range of different flavours including Apple, Cherry, Hickory, Mesquite, Jack Daniels, Oak, Sugar Maple, Black Walnut, Pecan, and the list goes on. BBQrs Delight pellets are made from 2/3 Oak wood and 1/3 flavour wood which gives you a very long burn time, with less ash build up and consistent results.
BBQr’s Delight pellets contain NO Alder or other softwoods. Alder is a soft hardwood and has been known to leave behind a mountain of ash, as do other softwoods. This can lead to auger burn back and hopper box fires as well as other issues.
BBQrs delight pellets are made exactly the same blend year in, year out. This gives you quality smoke every time with consistent and predictable results.
Lumpwood charcoal is man-made charcoal. It has been created by firing a carbon-rich material such a wood in a kiln or container with restricted oxygen content. The process cooks the wood without igniting it, drying it out and expelling the moisture and other volatile material leaving behind a very light, combustible, charred material known as carbon or charcoal. Lumpwood charcoal is much lighter than the original material and usually burns longer and much more steadily. Charcoal comes in many different shapes and sizes and is very good for using to create a traditionally flavoured barbeque.
Charcoal briquettes are primarily (approx 90%) made of ground charcoal or charcoal dust. They can also be made from charcoal like the Clean Heat Briquettes or from Coconut Shell husks like the ProQ Cocoshell Briquettes. There are a number of different types of raw materials that can be used to create the briquettes, giving each a unique flavour. The charcoal of coconut husks is mixed with a starch binder and mixed together. Once mixed the material is pressed into uniform shapes and sizes and then dried and are ready for use.
Hardwood & Fruit Wood
Dry hardwood is perhaps the most traditional of all fuels used for barbecuing. Typically used for impromptu barbecues or in low and slow barbecue using a charcoal barbecues such as an Offset Smoker. Dry hardwood is straight up and simple to use. It will be harder to start and not last as long as lumpwood charcoal or briquettes but it will provide the best flavour. Different varieties of wood are often used to impart unique flavours into the food and is more commonly used in barbecue situations where smoke or extra flavour is a requirement.
Fruitwood such as Apple wood are often combined with hardwoods to add a mild sweet flavour to food and meat cooked in barbecues. Other woods used include Pear, Peach, Cherry, Hickory, Pecan, Mesquite, Nectarine and the list goes on. We sell a variety of fruit wood for barbecuing and they can be found here.
Gas is still today one of the most common forms of cooking on barbecues. Gas is extremely handy to use when you want a heat that is easily controlled and ignited at short notice. Bare in mind that with the introduction of pellet grills such as the Yoder Smokers YS640 and BBQ starters such as the ProQ Chimney Starter, you can now be cooking with charcoal in less than 20mins. Not as traditional as cooking with wood or charcoal, you will notice the different flavour from Gas and many people say they prefer the traditional caveman ways of cooking with wood.