I'll go Briquettes. I love the smell and good quality briquettes can stay hot for a long time. It is getting expensive though (like most things).
My experience with Charcoal is pathetic and a waste of money (it is messy, doesn't burn for long, and you have to use lots of it). Maybe I have just perfectex the use of briquettes.
Wood is nice as a treat, but I don't have a wood braai or affordable access to wood.
I was gonns be silly and foolishly convert my custom Braai into a gas or get a gas braai. Thankfully a couple of klappe set my mind straight. Had a gas braai at friends and they could just as well have made the meat in the oven. There was nothing 'Braai' about it.
Wood for proper braai if you have time and space.
Charcoal for quick convenience as long as you are used to charcoal methods. I find that it is on average most predictably convenient.
Briquettes are ok, but I find that I can get a petrol-like taste to meat if briquettes are not burnt through and I put my meat too close and early (think rump steak).
This is sorta on or off topic but I love my kettle braai I bought a cadac couldn't afford a weber when I just started working and I absolutely love it. I grew up using the wood braai on a concrete braai but love the versatility of the kettle too much! I do everything from 20 hr smoked pulled pork, to starting off with a slow indirect heat in lamb chops and then finishing them on the direct heat the fact that I can regulate the temperature and kill that evil flame without throwing water or beer all over the wood and coals etc is a big plus. Can't stand gas an absolute nightmare to clean
..I am asking because it is apparently healthier if you stick to wood leaving out briquettes as they contain additional things.
I normally just use briquettes for the starter cylinder and add charcoal over them when they are ready. A pure wood braai takes bit longer and seems to be more suited for a non weber; those braais with a place on the side to pack them and then scrape the coals out as they appear to braai with.
First choice is wood, but not just any wood. I has to be thornwood. Steak and lamb chops simply don't taste the same without it.. Briquettes for the Weber and I also have a WeberQ if I'm in the mood for a quick bit of wors or chicken wings etc..
My problem was when I had to use wood, or brickets I would braai perhaps twice a year. Just too much trouble and it takes too long. Gas Braai's using volcanic rock base was the answer for us. We got a decent one and we now braai most weeks as its just so fast and convenient. It also gets the smoked taste as the volcanic rock absorbs liquid fat that then burns and smokes the meat while it is cooking. I doubt most people would be able to tell the difference between meat cooked on my Chado chef and a charcoal fire for instance. Depending on wood used you can perhaps taste a difference for wood.
Easier to control the temperature as opposed to a wood/charcoal fire
Easier to do regardless of weather (ours is on a stand so I can move the braai just inside my garage if rain starts. Time is the no 1 reason though. I can braai some meat in 10 to 15 minutes. Not really possible with a fire
So ja, a lot of people diss the gas braai, but seriously, I love the taste of braai'd meat and I get it about 30 to 40 times as often now thanks to the gas braai at far less cost and inconvenience. My views may be massively skewed by the fact that I don't drink alcohol. I know the setting up the fire is a big part of the drinking culture. Happy for each to go with his own preference. Gas works for me.