(Lump Charcoal Vs Charcoal Briquettes

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In the barbecue world, there is a war going on.

It’s not about rub to use, your smoker, or even what meat cuts you use!

It’s all about the style of charcoal that you are using. There is a lot of chatter if briquettes or lump charcoal are the better option.

Are you loyal to the lump or bonkers for the briquettes? We have tested each and given an honest review.

So let’s go: Lump Charcoal vs. briquettes.

should you use Lump Charcoal or Charcoal Briquettes

Lump Charcoal vs Briquettes (Let’s Settle This Fuel Debate!)

Briquettes ​​are reliable & cheap. You can be found pretty much everywhere.

Briquettes are ​man-made by-products compressed with additives and wood that help them light and burn consistently. A type of briquette is heat beads; they are made of similar products as briquettes.

Meanwhile, lumps are charcoal ​, still in its natural form. You will find that most old-school pit masters ​ will almost always ​tend to use it. ​It burns hotter, lights faster, and leaves less residue or ash than briquettes.

I struggle to pick a favorite in this epic lump charcoal vs. briquettes battle!

They both come in handy at different times!

So, how will we settle this debate?

First, we will look at the charcoal briquettes I use and recommend. Then, we will look at the lump charcoal that I use. At the end, you will find all my information about the two!

The Best Charcoal Briquettes Comparison Table

Lump Charcoal Name
(clickable link)
ImageCharlies Rating
Royal Oak Charcoal Briquettes Royal Oak Ridge Charcoal Briquettes4.9 / 5
Kingsford Matchlight Charcoal BriquettesKingsford Matchlight Charcoal Briquettes4.8 / 5
Stubb’s Charcoal BriquetsStubbs Charcoal Briquets4.7 / 5

If you’re looking for a tested way to get your charcoal burning to try the charcoal snake method, this helps ensure you have consistent heat from your charcoal for longer. Perfect if you have a grill and want to do a smoked beef roast.

The Best Charcoal Briquettes on The Market

Royal Oak Ridge Charcoal Briquettes

Royal Oak Ridge Charcoal Briquettes

The Royal Oak Ridge briquettes provide an incredibly consistent burn.

This is because they have a very uniform shape. They are larger than most other briquettes so 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.

Kingsford Matchlight Charcoal Briquettes

Stubb's 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 within 10 minutes.

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

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

Frontier Jack Daniels Charcoal Briquettes

These are, without a doubt, the best-smelling charcoal briquettes on the market.

As soon as you open the bag, you will be tempted to buy more!

These little masterpieces are partnered with real pieces of authentic Jack Daniels oak whiskey barrels, so you know there will be a fantastic flavor in these briquettes.

Stubb’s Charcoal Briquets

Stubb's Charcoal Briquets

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 because they are all-natural.

They comprise 95% hardwood charcoal and 5% cornstarch binder. This combination is environmentally friendly and chemical-free!

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

The Best Lump Charcoals You Can Buy for Your Grill

Alright, now we looked at briquettes. Let’s jump into Lump charcoal. First, you will see a quick summary of the lump charcoal I like to use, then go in-depth on each one.

The Best Lump Charcoal Comparison Table

Lump Charcoal Name
(clickable link)
ImageCharlies Rating
Jealous Devil Lump CharcoalJealous Devil Lump Charcoal4.8 / 5
Fogo Premium Lump CharcoalFogo Premium Lump Charcoal4.6 / 5
Grill Dome CCL-20 Lump CharcoalGrill Dome CCL-20 Lump Charcoal4.4 / 5

Fogo Premium Lump Charcoal

Are you looking for a full-on deep-smoke flavor?

Look no further than the Fogo. These little bad boys are brilliant.

They are guaranteed to burn hotter for longer. The chunks are very decently sized, contributing to the fantastic smoke time.

They are a more premium product, and I would recommend them to serious cooks!

Jealous Devil Lump Charcoal

Jealous Devil Lump Charcoal

Although Jealous Devil All Natural Lump Charcoal sounds like it came from the depths of hell, it definitely gives off a flavor that tastes as if it fell straight from heaven.
This charcoal is one of the longest-burning charcoals around.

They are also 100% natural. You will be creating a restaurant-quality BBQ with this stuff!

Grill Dome CCL-20 Lump Charcoal

Grill Dome CCL-20 Lump Charcoal

The Grill Done CCL-20 lump charcoal is perfect for those of you who are into your low and slow cooking, I like to use it in my charcoal smoker grill

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.I feel this is appropriate for the performance

And you can never go wrong with a 100% American-made product!

What Are Charcoal Briquettes? (Plus Learn They are Made)

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

Briquettes are made from leftover wood and sawdust. The leftovers are mixed with additives to create the briquettes, so they are not pure wood.

The briquettes are mixed with additives to help the materials bind together and create a uniform shape. 

This makes them easier to stack, store, and package. A type of briquette called heat beads is popular in Australia.

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 has been found to happen in white fish or chicken.

Charcoal briquettes burn for longer than lump charcoal, however, they do not burn as hot. This is great for those 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.

Pros and Cons of Charcoal Briquettes

Charcoal Briquettes Pros

  1. Longer burn time.
  2. Cheaper than lump.
  3. Easier to light.
  4. Holds a steady temperature for longer periods.

Charcoal Briquettes Cons

  1. Produces more ash.
  2. Does take longer to light.
  3. Contains additives and chemicals.

What is Lump Charcoal? (Plus See What it is Made of)

Lump is charcoal that is still in it’s natural form. BBQ purists favor it. It burns hot and fast and is easy to lit.

What is Charcoal Made Of?

Charcoal is wood burned with little oxygen, so all that’s left is carbon.

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 like. Plus, it helps to keep your charcoal grill hot.

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

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

Wondering exactly how it was made? Well, lump charcoal is made up of slowly burning wood without oxygen until natural chemicals, moisture, and sap disappear from the wood.

Pros and Cons of Lump Charcoal

Lump Charcoal Pros

  • 100% natural product.
  • It burns very hot.
  • Easier to light.
  • Very little ash left over After cooking.

Lump Charcoal Cons

  • Faster burning – this means you go through more.
  • They are more pricey than briquettes.

What Is The Difference Between Coal and Charcoal?

The difference between coal and charcoal is that coal is a natural mineral, while charcoal is a man-made substance.

A Breakdown of The Difference Between Charcoal and Coal (Charcoal vs Coal).

Coal: Coal is a natural mineral found in the earth. It is created from decaying plants and animals under the earth’s crust. This process is long but basically involves lots and lots of pressure and heat.

Charcoal: On the other hand, charcoal is a man-made substance produced by slowly heating wood or similar substances.

What Are Some Charcoal Alternatives?

It is possible to avoid using traditional charcoal. Several different kinds of charcoal alternatives are available, and they are all more environmentally friendly than traditional charcoal.

However, I have never tried any of these myself, so I can not comment on how they perform. If anyone has any experience with these alternative methods, please let me know below!

Charcoal Made From Organic Waste

In the African country of Cameroon, local students have created an ingenious way of turning the city of Douala’s organic waste into charcoal. They collect organic waste from the city’s overwhelmingly rubbish-filled streets, shred it, then dry it in an oven to create charcoal.
This method of creating charcoal is a fantastic idea and something that should be considered more in the United States.

Charcoal Made From Coffee

In Ethiopia, waste, the water part of the coffee bean from the coffee-making process, is pressed into briquettes that are perfect for burning. These briquettes are used locally and also shipped abroad.

Charcoal Made From Poop

This may sound a little strange, but bear with me here. It is true that these briquettes are made from human excrement; however, between coming out and being burnt, they go through quite a transformation. This style of briquette production is mainly happening in Kenya, but it could be implemented worldwide.

First off, the human.. waste is left to dry out completely for 3 weeks. It is then brought up to a temperature of 1292°F, which starts the carbonization process. Sawdust and banana leftovers are added to the mix, fragrance, and binders, then pressed into circle briquettes. These briquettes are 100% safe and can be used for cooking.

Charcoal Made From Coconut Shell

Coconut shell briquettes have several really good pros. Unfortunately, they don’t give your meat a coconut flavor.

Coconut shell briquettes burn hotter and longer than standard charcoal briquettes. They also emit less carbon than regular briquettes, and the ash can be used as a natural fertilizer. What a win-win situation!

Wrapping it Up

I hope this has helped you figure out your side on the lump charcoal Vs charcoal briquettes debate.

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

If you have decided on a fuel, then you have to check out my charcoal smoking tips. This ​will allow you to impress your family and friends with ​your BBQ skills!


Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!

You can read more on our About Us page.

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8 thoughts on “(Lump Charcoal Vs Charcoal Briquettes”

  1. Charlie,
    I didn’t see the B&B product in your comparison. I saw them in our local grocery store. are they any good?


    1. Hey Prescott,

      Awesome question, I had only recently seen it myself! I told myself I was definitly going to give this lump charcoal a try and review it this summer (not much time left thought!!) I had a friend use it, he gave me the following info; he said it was a good long burn, gave a nice smoke flavor and produced a normal amount of ash. Did you end up trying it? I would love to know how this brand of charcoal went!

      Have an awesome weekend!!


  2. Hi there Charlie!!

    I fine some charcoals a bit heavy on the flavour, do you think that Jealous Devils is the best charcoal for a traditional charcoal taste? I am trying to find a cleaner grilling charcoal with traditional taste.


    1. Hey Pauline,

      Jealous Devils is one best types of charcoal if you’re looking for high quality and good clean bur. I also like that it has minimal sparks and great flavor!


  3. Charlie, have you tried the new harder charcoal? I tested it last week, bigger lumps and cleaner as the jealous devil but from the same quebracho wood and a better price.

    1. Heeeey Henry! I haven’t tried it yet! I’m planning on a big cookout with weekend so i’ll give it a try. Do you recommend any brand in particular? I love hearing what you guys are using at the moment


    2. Henry, saw your comment and bought two bags of the Harder Charcoal.
      Definitely bigger pieces as Jealous Devil and NO small pieces at a better price if you buy directly from them online, just the bags are not as nice as JD but they said would have new once soon

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