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BBQ Techniques from Around the World Using Lumpwood Charcoal

BBQ Techniques from Around the World Using Lumpwood Charcoal

Rhodri Evans |


BBQ! That one word conjures up images of sizzling meats, vibrant flavours, and the irresistible allure of smoke wafting through the air. But did you know that the art of BBQ isn't confined to one particular part of the world? Yes, the love for BBQ is universal and it varies greatly in different cultures. From the low-and-slow Southern-style in North America to the skewered delights of Asian Yakitori, the techniques and flavours differ as much as the people and the cultures themselves.

One common thread that runs through most authentic BBQ techniques across the world is the use of lumpwood charcoal. The secret to those smoky, seared flavours, the charred exteriors and the tender insides, often lies in this natural form of charcoal.

The Benefits of Using Lumpwood Charcoal

So, what exactly is lumpwood charcoal? Lumpwood charcoal is derived from chunks of wood that have been heated to create a high carbon content product. This is in stark contrast to briquettes, which are often made of sawdust and other wood byproducts, often mixed with chemicals and additives.

The benefits of using lumpwood charcoal for BBQ are plentiful. First and foremost, it imparts a natural, smoky flavour to the food, a taste that's often associated with authentic BBQ. It also burns hotter and faster than briquettes, making it ideal for searing meats to perfection. Furthermore, lumpwood charcoal is void of any additives or chemicals, making it a healthier option. Last but not least, it leaves less ash residue, making the clean-up process a breeze.

BBQ Techniques in North America

Let's start our BBQ journey in North America. Here, the BBQ tradition is as diverse as the continent itself.

In the American South, BBQ is all about slow-cooking meats over indirect heat using lumpwood charcoal. This method, often termed as Southern-style BBQ, emphasizes on the smoky flavour and the tenderness of the meat.

Texas-style BBQ takes a slightly different approach. Here, smoking meats with lumpwood charcoal is prevalent, often resulting in a deeper, robust flavour. Brisket is a favourite meat in Texas-style BBQ, and it is cooked to a level where it melts in your mouth.

Moving towards Kansas City, the BBQ style changes again. Kansas City-style BBQ is all about grilling meats with lumpwood charcoal and using a myriad of sauces. The result is a delightful mix of sweet, tangy, and smoky flavours.

BBQ Techniques in South America

Now, let's hop over to South America. The continent is home to a range of BBQ traditions, each with its unique techniques and flavours.

In Brazil, BBQ or Churrasco revolves around grilling meats on skewers over lumpwood charcoal. This method ensures even cooking and imparts a smoky flavour to the meat.

Argentina is renowned for its Asado, where meats are slow-cooked using lumpwood charcoal and wood. This technique results in a unique flavour profile, with the wood adding another layer of taste to the meat.

Last, but not least, we have the Uruguayan Parrilla. This BBQ method involves grilling a variety of meats using lumpwood charcoal on a traditional grill grate, resulting in perfectly seared and smoky meats.

BBQ Techniques in Asia

BBQ in Asia is a world of its own. From Japan to Korea to Indonesia, each country has its unique take.

Japanese Yakitori involves grilling skewered meats over lumpwood charcoal and basting them with a delicious sauce. This process ensures even cooking and infuses the meat with a delightful flavour.

In Korea, BBQ is a social affair. Korean BBQ typically involves grilling marinated meats using lumpwood charcoal right at the table. The meats, often pork or beef, are then enjoyed with a variety of side dishes.

Indonesian Satay is another popular BBQ technique. Skewered meats are grilled over lumpwood charcoal and served with a tangy peanut sauce. The combination of smoky meat and the rich sauce is simply irresistible.

BBQ Techniques in Europe

Europe, too, has its unique BBQ traditions. Let's explore some of them.

Greek Souvlaki involves grilling marinated meats on skewers using lumpwood charcoal. The result is juicy, smoky meat that's often enjoyed with pita bread and tzatziki sauce.

In Spain, Asado refers to slow-cooking meats using lumpwood charcoal and aromatic wood. This technique imparts a smoky flavour to the meat, enriching its taste.

Italian Grigliata involves grilling a variety of meats and vegetables using lumpwood charcoal. The result is a delightful mix of smoky, charred flavours that's characteristic of Italian BBQ.

Tips for Using Lumpwood Charcoal in BBQ

Using lumpwood charcoal in your BBQ can elevate the flavours to a whole new level. Here are some tips to help you make the most of it:

  • Lighting the Charcoal: Use natural firelighters or kindling to light the charcoal. Avoid using lighter fluid as it can impart an unpleasant taste to the food.

  • Controlling the Temperature: Learn to control the temperature by adjusting the vents on your grill. More oxygen equals hotter flames, while less oxygen cools the coals down.

  • Adding Flavour: You can add extra flavour to your BBQ by using wood chips or chunks. Simply soak them in water for about an hour, and then add them to the hot coals.

  • Cleaning and Maintenance: Regularly clean your grill to maintain its performance. After each use, remove the ash left by the lumpwood charcoal to ensure good airflow for your next BBQ.


From North America to South America, from Asia to Europe, BBQ techniques vary greatly, but the use of lumpwood charcoal remains a common denominator. This natural form of charcoal not only provides the heat source for cooking, but it also imparts a unique, smoky flavour that's much sought-after in BBQ.

Whether you're a fan of Southern-style BBQ, Brazilian Churrasco, Korean BBQ, or Greek Souvlaki, using lumpwood charcoal can help you achieve those authentic flavours right in your own backyard. So, why not step outside, light up some charcoal, and embark on a BBQ journey around the world? We bet your taste buds will thank you!