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Wood barbecue

When summer comes, nothing feels better than having a good barbecue outdoors with friends and family. However, you have to choose the right type of barbecue to use. For example, wood-burning barbecues are a great option for those who like to cook meat.

Why a wood barbecue?

Having options such as charcoal or gas barbecues may not call your attention to the idea of using wood. But do you even know the advantages of this type of barbecue for you? They can be a much more interesting option than you might think:

  • Many models: Some types of barbecues have a limited catalog. Wood-burning barbecues, on the other hand, have dozens of options, depending on the type of cuisine of each person. What do you like to take her with you? Portable models sold. Move it around to make the most of the sun? Models with wheels for easy movement. Of course there are also fixed models, made of brick or stone.
  • A good price: Many people are turned back by the idea of buying a wood barbecue, so it will cost them money on firewood. However, the models are so economical that it is a safe long-term investment.
  • Better taste for food: Firewood enhances the taste of food much more than a gas barbecue. In addition, any type of product can be cooked, be it meat, fish or vegetables.
  • Different types of firewood: As with charcoal, you can find different types of firewood on the market to use in your barbecue. Each one is perfect for one type of food, and will give a different flavor to your dishes.
  • It can be mixed: What if you bought a mixed barbecue? Many models allow cooking with charcoal and wood. This way you can experiment and decide which of the two you like to cook with best.
  • Durable: The important thing when buying a barbecue is that it will last a long time. The wood barbecues can be made of iron or barbecues of work. These are painted with thermal paint, which helps to resist the heating power of the wood.

What kind of firewood can you use for a barbecue?

It is true that in Spain there are many types of firewood, so it is not difficult to find one that you can use for barbecue. First, however, a distinction must be made between the different types. They are usually grouped into two categories:


  • Hardwood: Hardwoods are those that come from trees with great hardness and resistance. They offer the best embers for the barbecue, and a fantastic heating performance. Hardwood is considered to be the top wood, holm oak, olive or oak.

  • Soft: In contrast to the previous ones, these last less time lit and less embers are obtained. It’s not as powerful as hard wood. So it is intended for the preparation of fast food. Softwood is considered to be that of fruit trees, with the exception of orange trees, which are considered to be hardwood.

In some areas of USA other types of firewood are used, such as vine shoots or branches. These are used for the preparation of paellas or roasts. They require a great deal of fire control, so only expert cooks are able to use them.

What is the heating capacity of each type of wood?

At first it may take a novice a little while to get used to a barbecue to read, as controlling the calorific value of this is important. In addition, you have to think that there are firewood on top, oak, olive, orange, almond… more than a dozen types that can be found in any store.

Depending on the type of dish, one that has more heat capacity than the other will be of interest. For example, if the meat is very thick it is better to use a thicker one, but if it is for a meat such as hamburger, the one with less power is the most interesting option.

Ranked from highest to lowest, this is the heating capacity of each type of firewood:

  • Above: 4900
  • Chestnut: 4800
  • Elm: 4790
  • Oak: 4690
  • Olive tree: 4678
  • Beech: 4630
  • Pine: 4557

The firewood of the hardest trees are those with the highest calorific value. Just like lighting a bonfire, or a fireplace, you have to take into account the heat capacity to make the most delicious dish.

Some stores may sell you what is known as «green firewood. A much cheaper wood, but with less calorific value and a rather unpleasant white smoke. Not the best choice when it comes to cooking.

How should you light a wood barbecue?

Remember, it is always best to use wood from a hard tree, and of course, always keep it dry. It is often said that the best barbecue wood has had to be outdoors for 6 months in the sun. This helps you lose all the water it contains. It should not have branches, nor should it have green leaves or twigs. If they do, this will cause thick smoke, and it will cost much more to light the barbecue.

Once you have the firewood in your barbecue, light the firewood and with the help of iron shovels or tongs, stir until the embers form. It may take about the same time to light as charcoal, but you must keep a close eye on it to prevent the fire from burning out.

Where should you place this type of barbecue?

As this type of barbecue generates a lot of smoke, its location should be ideal. If you are going to build a building site, if you buy it with a bell, you won’t have to worry too much about the smoke and you will have more freedom to choose its location.

On the other hand, if the one you buy is an iron barbecue, you’re going to have to be a little more careful. Put it away from doors and windows, in an outdoor area where you don’t have the wind against you, or the smoke generated will bother you when cooking. Although many barbecue models have a lid, some dishes are tastier if you cook without it.