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Hardwood Charcoal

Whenever Fine Cooking runs a story on outdoor grilling, it seems that our expert authors always recommend cooking over natural hardwood charcoal (sometimes called charwood) instead of the more easily found charcoal briquettes. Is this just barbecue snobbery? Hardly. There are some very real differences between hardwood charcoal and briquettes that do have an effect on grilling.

Naturally Made

Made from only natural hardwood, such as maple, oak, mesquite or even hickory.
Burns hotter (around 1,000°F), so you should make a smaller or more spread-out fire than you would with briquettes.
Any hardwood charcoal not completely burned during grilling may be put out and re-lit on another occasion for more grilling.

Beneficial

Creates less ash.

Contributes less pollutants to the air as it burns.
Imparts a purer, wood-fire flavor to foods.
Any hardwood charcoal not completely burned during grilling may be put out and re-lit on another occasion for more grilling.