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It’s all good with BBQ wood – your guide

A picture of big K BBQ wood product with smoke in the background

Time for a little word association. Big K – quality. Steak – sizzle. Barbecue – charcoal. Why, oh why are we using this rhetorical device? Good question. While we all know the significance of charcoal to any BBQ. Many are not so familiar with the role wood can play in the mix. BBQ wood can be used as a fuel, or for smoking, and even to add a twist of flavour to any BBQ dish. Perhaps you’re already up to speed on the subject. Or maybe BBQ wood is a new world for you. Ultimately knowledge is BBQ power; so let us drop some gems of wisdom.

Why do BBQ logs create flavour? 

Burning wood and fire cooking has been about for thousands of years. Sure we could delve into the mystical and the primeval here – we cook like our ancestors, tapping into the rudimentary fundamentals of human survival and so on. And while this is true, the chemistry is where the magic happens.  

When we burn BBQ logs, chips or chunks , smoke is produced. This wispy and wonderful smoke is composed of trillions of tiny particles, from gases and water vapour to organic matter. Going into the micro, many of these particles are actuall natural chemical compounds contained within the wood. These include lignin and cellulose AKA the smoky taste creators. As we burn the wood, these compound particles interact with, and penetrate within, the meat in a process of flavour infusion. Say hello to salivating and smoky stupendousness.

The Maillard reaction

While the smoke infusion is a major part of the BBQ wood flavour equation. There’s another factor at play – the Maillard reaction. Basically, this is when the heat from your BBQ logs sears your food, caramelizing the surface and creating a deep and delicious second layer of flavour. If you want a bit more technical detail; the Maillard reaction is a chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars. These reactions produce melanoidins, the compounds which give browned meats their deliciously unique flavour. Learning is so awesome!!

A man stands proudly in front of his smoker with the lid lifted showing what he has cooked over BBQ wood

Why choose BBQ wood for your grill?

Wood is wonderful; facts. We could go on for yonks about its amazing qualities but we will control ourselves. Actually, no promises.

Enjoy a consistent temperature – usually BBQ logs have a fairly uniform shape, size and density. This means that each log burns steadily, delivering consistent performance. Once you know how your BBQ logs behave, you have more control over your cook. 

An economical option – BBQ logs can be kind to your wallet too, as they usually cost a little less than other fuels. 

Fantastic flavour – BBQ logs deliver a spectrum of flavour from the fruity to the rich and spicy. The flavour infusion from wood smoke is totally unique and cannot be replicated. 

Easy to obtain– at, we have all the BBQ logs you could ever need. Just go online, order and we’ll deliver straight to you. 

Versatility – BBQ logs are super versatile – meaning you can use them for all kinds of grilling methods, from smoking to direct grilling and indirect grilling. This opens up a world of possibility when it comes to cooking techniques. 

Breaking down BBQ wood options

Nature has blessed us with a bounty of beautiful woods to enjoy in our grilling adventures. Check out some top picks below.

Alder – if you’re into a slightly milder and sweeter BBQ wood, alder is defo for you. Alder matches perfectly with lighter and more delicate oily fish and seafood.

Ash – calling the subtle crowd. Ash has a mild smokiness, making it ideal for most dishes as it isn’t too overpowering. 

Apple wood – for those after a sweet and fruity flavour infusion, apple wood delivers a delightful zing into the mix. Plus, it compliments pork and poultry perfectly. 

Beech – meet a mighty yet mellow smokiness. This chilled out BBQ wood is just the ticket for chicken, turkey, and vegetables

Cherry wood -some search for that sweet and terrifically tart taste. Cherry wood is where it’s at. Your lamb and red meat will thank you. 

Chestnut – deep, nutty and earthy richness awaits. Chestnut BBQ wood makes venison a dream.

Hickory – introducing the most famous BBQ wood in the game. Hickory has a very strong, rich and full smoky flavour. If you’re smoking pork or beef, you should be reaching for the Hickory BBQ wood.

Oak – tried and true flavour for your meats and veggies. Oak is very popular within the UK BBQ scene. 

A shot of Big K BBQ wood in its packaging

Chips. Chunks. Logs – does size matter?

BBQ wood is wood right? Oh no our young grasshoppers. Wood comes in all species, shapes and sizes. We have addressed species. So let’s look at size. Well, the size of your BBQ wood is determined by your objective. Looking for a basic or subtle infusion”? Go for chips. Striving to make a smoky statement? Chunks are the way forward. Let’s go a little more in depth.

BBQ Wood chunks vs BBQ Wood Chips 

  1. Thanks to their larger size. wood chunks burn for longer than chips. So when you burn wood chunks, you won’t need to keep adding to the wood pile in your smoker or grill – like you would with chips.
  2. Chunks will create a stronger flavour, so If your looking for soft and subtle – a sprinkling of chips will do the trick
  3. After bigger flavour? Wood chunks have a greater mass, therefore producing more smoke. And more smoke equals stronger statement of flavour. 
  4. Wood chunks burn longer than chips. This allows you to keep your grill lid or smoker closed for longer, creating a more thorough flavour infusion.
  5. Chips will burn up fully. But with chunks, you might often find a portion left over – so you can use them for another cook.


A close up shot of smoldering BBQ wood slightly charred

Searching for BBQ wood? Go the Big K website and fill your boots.

If you’re jumping in the car, punching in the nearest forest on Google Maps, we admire your passion. But chill for a moment. Just visit, hit the ‘BBQ’ tab and go to the ‘Smoking’ section . Et voilà! All the BBQ wood, chips and chunks you could ever dream of. You’re welcome of course. Only messing – no need to thanks us. It’s just what we do.

Happy wood fest everyone!