The quick answer: No…
The term “BBQ” means different things to different people. When I hear grill I can almost smell the delicious aromas from neighbourhood Barbeques. However, for many others grilling and BBQ are to NEVER be confused with one another. In fact, many people misuse the term BBQ. It has come to be applied to anything cooked on a grill. To BARBEQUE or to GRILL meat is a method of cooking.
There is a distinct difference between grilling and to barbeque, however. Grilling is done over the direct heat of a fire and this is my preferred method of cooking due to time constraints and equipment available to me. The object is to sear the outside and concentrate the juices on the inside. The grilled flavor is caused by the searing, or browning, of the outside of the food. The process is similar to that which forms the brown crust on a loaf of baked bread. Grilling is a healthful method of cooking because additional oils or fats are seldom used, and as the food cooks the fat renders out and drips through the cooking grate.
BBQ on the other hand is the process of cooking meat at low temperatures for long periods of time. Smoke, marinades and sauces add flavour.
Barbecue (also barbeque, BBQ and barbie) is a method and apparatus for char grilling food in the hot smoke of a wood fire, usually charcoal fueled. To barbeque is typically to cook a thick or large piece of meat in a much slower method utilizing less heat than grilling, attended to over an extended period of several hours.
Barbeque wood chips are a popular fuel source for grilling and barbequing. Some people prefer them over charcoal. Barbeque wood chips are generally inexpensive and easy to use. And many people like to use hickory or other wood fires to add smoke flavoring to their barbeque.
Another reason people prefer barbeque wood chips is because they think the natural wood materials are healthier than charcoal. But this assumption is not necessarily true.
Like barbeque wood chips, most charcoals are actually made from wood. However, there are different types of charcoal, and each is made differently. Briquettes are made from sawdust and low quality woods that are burned to a carbon state and then compressed with a starch binder. Ground coal may be added to help it burn.
In some cases, these additives can make the charcoal briquettes burn faster or at a lower heat than barbeque wood chips. In addition, some people think the additives in briquettes make food taste funny.
There is no indication that they cause health concerns. Some self-starting briquettes contain petroleum to help it ignite. While this also has been known to make food taste funny, it burns off quickly so there are no health concerns if used correctly.
Hardwood lump charcoal is a better quality charcoal. As the name implies, it is made from hardwoods that have been cooked with medium heat, either while buried under soil or using a special oven or kiln. The key is to limit the oxygen so that the wood burns slowly and releases gases, resins, water, and other elements while retaining the carbon. This type of charcoal burns hotter and slower than barbeque wood chips and is not any less healthy.