Low and slow cooking outdoors in the USA is Barbecue – in the UK barbecue is cooking over charcoal – generally at high temperatures. In the USA – this is called Grilling. These differences are starting to synchronise now, as the UK starts to revert back to using charcoal as a fuel and keep the temperature low for perfection of ribs, pulled pork, brisket, and much more – mainly popularised through access to social media videos, YouTube and excellent TV coverage of American programmes on food.

Traditionally, BBQ and Grilling used fuels from logs. The heat cooked the meat, and smoke from the wood gave an additional flavour that is unmistakable and the perfect flavour that is barbecue.

Succulent Sliced Meats
Smoked Sliced Beef

Over the years the majority of BBQs or grills are charcoal or gas – this gives the heat required, then people will use chips or chunks to create the flavour of smoke.

In addition, with a smoker, you will find people add very complex flavours using spices, herbs, and oils – known as rubs or brines.

What is the best heat source for a bbq - gas, electric, wood, or charcoal?

It is not straight forward – each type has its place and perhaps it is down to personal choice and your own environment will dictate.


Gas grills are the most common throughout homes and gardens and offer good flavours. Still, if you are restricted on space and only have a small garden then a gas grill probably is not for you. Gas grills require a large amount of space and cannot be used too close to any other structures.

One of the good things about a gas grill is they require no pre-heating time, so once you want to get cooking you can do! They offer side burners, rotisserie kits, multiple burners and not to mention a whole load of other features you can enjoy!

Charcoal grills, unfortunately, take longer to warm up and you’re roughly looking at 20-30 minutes from the time you light the charcoal until you will be ready to grill. Plus, a charcoal grill cannot just be turned off like the gas grill, so there is that to think of too.

Deciding which of the two you want to purchase can be very confusing. Of course, there is more to clean when you have a charcoal grill and the possibility of the coals burning out mid-way through cooking.

Callow Premium Charcoal Smoker BBQ Grill
Callow Premium Charcoal Smoker BBQ Grill

With charcoal, it is believed you are able to add more flavour and make a hotter fire. However, others believe you can achieve the same great tasting food by using various cooking methods, food preparation, and the use of woods for a smoky flavour, which will achieve the same as a charcoal grill.

So, which ones best? It really does boil down to your lifestyle and how often you plan to use the grill.