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Old 06-01-2008, 11:30 PM
The Hamster King The Hamster King is offline
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 10,138
You usually want to cook over a bed of coals, not a burning flame. Coals give you a steadier, more controlled heat.

But it takes a long time to get to a nice bed of coals starting from just wood. During that time the fire requires a lot of attention. Too little fuel and it will go out. Too much and it will get out of control. You have to feed wood in gradually and watch how the fire develops.

If you start with charcoal you're already halfway to coals. Once you get them lit you can largely ignore them until they're ready to cook on. It gives you the same final result as a wood fire, but with much less hassle.