Cooking with fire, outside, with the sun shining, ignites something primal in most of us. Even some people who don’t like cooking love to stand around the BBQ with their apron tied and spatula in hand, flipping burgers and sausages whilst staring longingly into the flames.

BBQ has become an art form. Although you can get away with lighting a bag of pre-light coals and hoping for the best, most of us want more from our barbecue than a few singed sausages.

Knowing the best fuels for your BBQ is key to building that perfect cooking fire – but which should you use?


If you’re looking for a fuss free way to cook for family and friends, then gas is probably your best option. It is a fairly sterile choice compared to some other options, but it provides you with a convenient, controlled and clean way of cooking. You can increase or decrease heat at the turn of a dial and is far easier to clean than any other grill. Many of the pros and restaurants use gas for balancing time and quality.


Talk amongst die hard BBQ enthusiasts usually involves charcoal. Cooking over charcoal is the height of BBQ quality, producing a great taste, a fiery flare to cooking and an artistic element of fun.

Charcoal comes in two forms; Lumpwood and Briquette. Lumpwood is more natural but briquettes have more benefits, although they get a bad rep at times for being manufactured.

Briquettes burn at a slower and more uniform rate, so you can get your fire going easily, and cook for longer. Charcoal is for the chefs who like to get down and dirty and like to experiment. There are plenty of different ways to cook with charcoal, so find which way works for you.


It’s rare that a BBQ lover would use wood as the main fuel source when cooking outdoors. Whilst charcoal or gas can provide the heat, wood can help bring smoky seasonings and depth of flavour that is unparalleled.

Wood for fuel is a specialist’s area of BBQ cooking. If you like a low and slow cooking style, then cooking over an open campfire or fire pit is a unique culinary experience, but probably not great for every BBQ session.

Experiment with different fuels for cooking as well as heating with Pearson Fuels coal merchants Stockport.