April 12, 2018

What Is The Best Charcoal? (Lump Charcoal Vs Charcoal Briquettes)

In the barbecue world, there is a war going on. A war that gets people really wound up.

It's not about the best bbq rub, the best smoker, and not even if you should be using the Texas crutch or not. Its all about the style of charcoal that you are using. Are briquettes or lump charcoal the better option?

It's amazing how passionate people get about over this subject. Are you loyal to the lump or are you bonkers for the briquettes?

We have put each through their paces and given a honest review on each.

So let's go: Lump Charcoal Vs Briquettes

What Is Lump Charcoal

First off we will look into lump charcoal. How is It made? Well, lump charcoal is made up by slowly burning wood without oxygen, until the natural chemicals, moisture, and sap have disappeared from the wood.

The product that you are left with is a charcoal lump that is far less harmful and left in a state that is far better for burning. Due to the construction, lump charcoal also leaves very little ash behind. This is something that I really like.

In general, it lights easier, faster and hotter than briquettes. This is partly because lump charcoal is all natural. It contains no fillers, additives or nasty chemicals.

Another really good property of lump charcoal is that it responds really well to oxygen. This basically means that you can adjust and maintain the temperature of your grill much easier by simply adjusting the air vents.

how to light charcoal

What I Like

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    100% natural product
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    Burns very hot
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    Easier to light
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    Very little ash left over After cooking 

What I Don't Like

  • Faster burning – this means you go through more
  • More pricey than briquettes

The Best Lump Charcoals

The Grill Done CCL-20 lump charcoal is perfect for those of you who are into your low and slow cooking. It holds great heat, for a long time. They are a decent size and you can even reuse them! They are a little bit pricey, although for the performance I feel this is appropriate. And you can never go wrong with a 100% American made product!

Grill Dome CCl-20

Are you looking for a full on savory smoke flavor? Look no further than the Fogo FHWC35LB. These little bad boys are brilliant. They are guaranteed to burn hotter for longer. The chunks are very decently sized and that contributes to the fantastic smoke time. They are a more premium product and I would recommend these for the serious cook!


Although Jealous Devil All Natural Lump Charcoal sounds like it came from the depths of hell, they definitely give off a flavor that tastes like they fell straight from heaven. This charcoal is one of the longest burning charcoals around. They are also 100% natural. You will be creating restaurant-quality BBQ with this stuff!

Jealous Devil All Natural Lump Charcoal

What Are Charcoal Briquettes

Charcoal briquettes are made very similar to lump charcoal. However, there are some differences.

Briquettes are made from left over wood and sawdust. Leftovers are mixed together with additives to create the briquettes. This process makes briquettes not pure wood.

The reason that the briquettes are mixed with the additives is primarily to help the materials bind together and create a uniform shape. This makes them easier to stack, store and package.

In some brands, chemicals are added to the briquettes. This is to help light the briquettes. Depending on the brand you can faintly taste a not so natural flavor in your meat. This is not so much the case for stronger meats such as duck or brisket but found to happen in white fish, or chicken.

how to light charcoal

Charcoal briquettes burn for longer than lump charcoal, however, they do not burn as hot. This is great for those who are planning on a low and slow cook.

You can find all natural charcoal briquettes, these are fantastic, however they do cost a little more than the more traditional briquette.

What I Like

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    Longer burn time
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    Cheaper than lump
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    Easier to light
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    Holds a steady temperature for longer periods of time

What I Don't Like

  • Produces more ash
  • Does take longer to light
    Contains additives and chemicals

The Best Charcoal Briquettes

Stubbs are my favorite charcoal briquettes. They are full of that classic southern BBQ flavor.

Another reason why I love these briquettes so much is that they are all natural. They are made up of 95% hardwood charcoal and 5% corn starch binder. This combination is environmentally friendly and chemical free!

You really couldn’t ask for any better from a charcoal briquette.

Stubbs Charcoal Briquets

Kingsford is the maker of the best selling briquette ‘The Originals’. In my eyes, the Match Lights are even better.

The Match Lights burn much hotter than any other Kingsford products and are ready to cook with in a little over 10 minutes.

They are also made with natural ingredients and are shaped with more edges making them a real breeze to light initially.

Unlike a lot of other charcoal briquettes, they are not doused in lighter fluid so they do not taint the taste of lighter meats, like chicken or fish.

Kingsford Match Light Charcoal Briquettes

The Royal Oak Ridge briquettes provide an incredibly consistent burn. This is because they have a very uniform shape. They are also a little larger than most other briquettes, this means that you won't use as much per cook.

Although they are larger than most, they still come to heat fast, in just over 15 minutes.

Even when cooking white fish these briquettes did not taint the flavor at all.

This is without a doubt the best smelling charcoal briquettes on the market. As soon as you open the bag, you will be tempted to go buy more!

These little masterpieces are partnered with real pieces of authentic Jack Daniels oak whiskey barrels, so you know there is going to be an amazing flavor in these briquettes.

Frontier Jack Daniels

Final Thoughts

I hope that this has helped you figure out your side on the Lump Charcoal Vs Charcoal Briquettes debate.

Personally,I find that both different styles have a place. Nowadays its great that you can find each style of ​charcoal 'additive and chemical free. I feel much better using charcoal knowing I am not harming myself or my family. 

Happy smoking everyone


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