I am a big BBQ buff – I BBQ all year round in all weather.
As a teen, I used my parent’s hibatchi and cooked over coal – I had chicken parts to an art – 45 mins with a quarter turn every 5 mins.
Later, I got into propane and like how it was faster compared to coal over an open BBQ.
Last summer, we bought a new propane BBQ and a new coal BBQ – with a cover and all the bells and whistles.
This year I got back into coal – and the flavour was so much more intense, less chemically and very smokey – I was thrilled to discover I could get a pink smoke ring just under the surface of the pork tenderloin.
I also made some amazing chicken with just salt and pepper and wrapped with lemon grass.
But, reading my various BBQ books, I kept seeing the Pitmasters refer to charwood – not coal or charcoal – but wood that had been turned into charred bits.
I found a BBQ shop that would order some in for me – Tennessee Oak Charwood.
To say that there was a difference is the biggest understatement I could make.
Right from the start, the smoke from the charwood was mild and even pleasant to breath – no acrid harshness like with coal briquettes – especially the ones presoaked with lighter fluid.
I did chicken that had been marinated in coconut milk and herbed pork chops – fresh from the backyard 2 kinds of rosemary, 2 basils, oregano, thyme, summer savory and a good heaping of Herb’s Crushed Garlic all crushed in the mortar with olive oil.
Propane BBQ is tasty – especially if you use a smoke box to add some smoke flavor – coal BBQing with wet wood chips on top is 10 times better – but Charwood beats it all.
The smoke flavour didn’t overwhelm the meat and seasonings, it added a very silky texture and flavour – and the charwood lasted longer than coal – I didn’t have to add additional pieces to ensure the meat was fully cooked.
I only wish there had been room on the grill to do the veggies.
The last time we grilled over coal, we did a pan of small potatoes, yams, beets, orange and yellow bell peppers with a light dusting of balsamic vinegar and olive oil and it was another mind blowing taste experience.