Can I Use Wood Pellets in a Charcoal Grill: What You Should Know

Can I Use Wood Pellets in a Charcoal Grill: What You Should Know

When it comes to grilling, there are one thousand questions that need to be answered. There is so much information that men are excited to know about, so they can be better than their mates.

One of the questions you may ask concerning grilling is, “Can I use wood pellets in a charcoal grill?” It may be an odd question for some because the grill clearly defines how it works—that is by charcoal.

So, if a grill is a charcoal grill, then why would you want to operate it with wood pellets rather than charcoal? There are a lot of reasons why you may want to use wood pellets instead of charcoal.

Hence, before you decide, you should first know a bit about wood pellets and some things about charcoal grills. 

What are Wood Pellets?

Wood pellets are a type of “fuel” that is created using sawdust and lumber waste. They are not fuel per say, but solid items that “fuel” fire in the same way as gas or propane does.

Wood has long been used to heat fireplaces, but in pellet form, it has become more commercialized. The burning of pellets and the booming industry is not one without controversy.

The wood is described as being more renewable than oil or gas. However, how long does it take for one tree to grow? Further, if the wood pellet industry is adopted by the majority of countries, demand will soon exceed supply. Trees are vital as they protect us and the environment we live in.

Manufacturers of wood pellets though, claim that they only produce using the by-products of lumber processes. It may be the case for now, but what would happen when demand surpasses supply? 

How Does Wood Pellet Compare with Charcoal?

If you are familiar with charcoal, you would know that they are black lumps. Wood pellets are long and thin, almost pencil like but shorter. Pellets do not produce ash, and the food is not smoky.

So, if you like to get a smoke flavor in your grilled food, charcoal may be the better option for you. Wood pellets, though, have their own unique flavor, but they still provide some good heat for your grill.

Charcoal actually gives one of the best flavors of all grills. Unlike wooden pellets, lighting the charcoal will take the most amount of your time. Fires set with charcoal are often tricky to put out. While charcoal gives you a smoked flavor, pellets would give you more of a hardwood option.

Charcoal is more expensive than wood pellets, but you can also make your own wood pellets. When it comes to the grills though, a charcoal grill would cost considerably less. 

Using Pellets to Grill

So, the question remains, “Can I use wood pellets in a charcoal grill?” The answer is quite simply, like most things in life are, “It depends.”

Generally, wood pellets can be used in a charcoal grill. If you are going to use wood pellets on it, do not make them yourself as you would not benefit from the hardwood flavor that is usually associated with wood pellets.


When you put food on a pellet grill, the grill does not smoke as much as a charcoal grill. In fact, the food is often described as being “under smoked”. The grill actually produces less smoke when it is hot, and the smoke is elegant.

So, if a smoked-finished food is what you are hoping for, burning wood pellets in a charcoal grill would give you more of that intense flavor than a pellet grill would. That is why some people would attempt to use wood pellets in their charcoal grills.


As mentioned before, there is a cost associated with everything. A charcoal grill is generally inexpensive. If you were interested in setting up a grill with charcoal and you do not own a grill, you could simply enclose the charcoal within the confines of four concrete bricks and put a grilling wire on top of it.

However, this is not advised because it poses a fire hazard. People have done it though, and it worked well.

Pellet grills are more expensive than charcoal grills. However, the cost is about even if you consider the cost of charcoal. You may buy a charcoal grill because it is cheap.

However, rather than using charcoal in it, you may prefer to use wood pellets because they are cheaper and more environmentally friendly than charcoal. Wood pellet also burns a lot faster than charcoal.


If you are looking for “taste”, you should probably try to use pellets in your charcoal grill. The taste that you will get with pellets will be woodier than smoky. If you want a different type of grilled taste, then consider trying wood pellets in your charcoal grill.

Nevertheless, just be warned that with the wood pellets, you may find it difficult to sear your meats. You may have to do some research to get there. So, until that time, stick to knitting or charcoal. 

Can I Use Wood Pellets in a Charcoal Grill:  The Conclusion

Based on all that was mentioned, you can use wood pellets on your charcoal grill. However, the reason you use it may be different than why another person may use it.

If you want a different flavor or just a cheaper fueling experience, wood pellets should be considered as the fuel of choice for your grill. Wise charcoal grill owners will make use of both types of fueling available to them.

For the environmentalists and health-conscious persons, there are several reasons to use wood pellets on your charcoal grill. You already have a charcoal grill, but instead of replacing it with a pellet grill, you just need to decide to use it with wood pellets.

Burning charcoal introduces chemicals to the atmosphere and to our food. It is not healthy and it does nothing to reduce the effects of global warming but contributes directly to it.

So, if you have been wondering “Can I use wood pellets in a charcoal grill?” the answer is “Yes.”

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