The fuel used when cooking is often tucked at the lowest of things to consider when thinking about how great a food should taste and lump charcoal is of no exception to this practice.
Truth be told, the kind of charcoal used when cooking goes a long way to determine the aromas or flavors to be derived from your cook.
Lump charcoal is the most naturally made kind of charcoal type out there making it the safest and most traditionally flavored kind to use.
They may be more expensive and burn faster, but that is a good expectation for a product that is not altered with chemicals.
In this review, we share 5 of the best lump charcoal brands on the market to aid you with your next purchase.
Some qualities to look out for when purchasing your next bag
It should be 100% natural hardwood
Make sure that the content in your bag is made from purely natural hardwood and has no chemicals, fillers or additives added to it while being made.
These substances can be harmful to the health especially with the many cheap versions of charcoal on the market.
Ensure to do a research on its make and if you are lucky enough to get big bags from the production area that will be a lot more better.
There are still a lot of good makes on the market, take your time to find them.
Single species wood and flavors are the best
It may be hard to find a bag of lump charcoal that was made from a single tree as they are often made from a mixture of woods which is alright to use.
However, having a single flavored bag of charcoal will do amazing things to your barbecue and you may want to put in the extra work to find them if you are keen on it.
If you are not able to and can make your own charcoal at home, this isn’t hard. All you need is a metal barrel, flavored tree logs, and a lot of time.
Be sure to do a wide read about homemade charcoal before you try it.
Use larger and bigger pieces
Purchase a bag with larger sizes of charcoal as they will burn longer and hotter than chips of charcoal.
Effective grilling or smoking is achieved when there is a consistent flow of heat to the food hence sizes like this are more likely to keep you away from adjusting the fire for a while so as to not interrupt the cooking process.
A careful scan will get you one that has a lot more of bigger sizes which will be an easy way to light lump charcoal backed by the chips found in the bag.
Wood type goes with burning temperature
Different wood types burn at different temperatures making it a key requirement to look out for when making your choice.
Not to say that slower burning wood types are not good, but the choice has to be based on your needs.
Fast burning charcoal calls for different needs so as slow burning charcoal, hence it is best to pick the kind that works for you per your cook.
A good way to adjusting the temperatures are with the vents on your grill or smoker which will aid you in achieving the level of temperature that you hope to achieve.
Reviews of the best lump charcoal
1. Fogo Premium
This is a respectable thing to do by a company as it shows a lot of consideration for the customer while producing.
As a result, the pieces burn at a slow pace with just enough heat to cook your food at a stable temperature. Much more, the coal does not spark or pop while burning.
It is the great kind to use when smoking as the pieces will last you a long time before they burn into ashes. Then, talking of ashes, you can expect to not create a mini dumpster of ashes in your firebox because of the quality of wood used to achieve this purpose.
These coals are made from hardwood and not strongly flavored. While the fire burns, the aroma is very subtle giving your food the most natural aromas as possible.
We love this make and we believe you will too.
- Top notch quality
- Great price
- Slow burn
- Little sparks
- Minimal heat production
- Chunks may be too large
2. Royal Oak
With this said, we believe the manufacturers also meant well to bag as many large pieces as possible but due to transportation and packing, there was a likelihood that some broke into smaller pieces.
The easy breakage could be as a result of the work of burn given it. It is made from hardwood so this should not cause much of a breakage.
These lumps light up fast and on the other hand, burn at an average pace. It makes it long lasting and offers very minimal ash production during the burn.
Aromas are subtle which is the case of most hardwoods being a blend of oak, maple, hickory and walnut. You are also sure to get a very natural smoke flavor in your foods when you use this.
Finally, it is all natural making very safe to use for food and even for skincare products.
- Lights fast
- Burns at average space
- Subtle smell
- Add to heat at high temperatures
What a product that offers you a total quality of charcoal – no scraps, no half-burned wood, just strictly good lumps.
On pieces, this rather has a lot more of medium sized pieces as compared to the larger kinds of the two brands but this means that there will not be a need to crack them up further. They are good to light not as quick as the two brands above also, but great thing is that you may not have any sparks or pops from the time of lighting through the cooking process.
Aromas are stronger on this one due to the blend of hickory and oak, but not overpowering and do not wrongly affect the flavor of foods making it just right to use. After a while, you will get used to it.
Chips and dust in the bag are very little which means ash production during burning is minimal too.
It burns high on temperature, two to three times more than traditional charcoal. So a good spread in the firebox is advisable so as to not burn your foods.
- Long burning
- A lot in a bag
- 100 % natural
- Strong flavor
- Burns faster
4. Kamado Joe
The bag content combination is majorly large sized with some chips and smaller pieces to aid in lighting the large pieces. It burns in good pace and heats up fairly well for stabilizing temperatures.
These pieces pop when burning but not as bad to drive you away. Being a kamado affair, it passes to be the best lump charcoal for Big Green Egg.
Not to sound off, but the packaging looks good which is an enticer if you are not sure of what charcoal to get and you see it amongst others on the shelves of the shop.
Aromas might not be the most exciting for this as it exudes a strong flavor that may be uncomfortable when using it for the first time. It will not affect the flavors of your food so this is fine to ignore. You will get over it.
- Easy to store
- Heats well
- Fast too light
- May be expensive
Most of the content in the bag is a combination of large and medium pieces with a lot more amount of chips unlike the other brands we spoke about; about 9% of the total bag.
Lighting these pieces are the easiest things to do but this means that they burn faster than the rest of the list. They are the best lump charcoal for grilling, hence, do get some extra on hand for refilling.
Aromas are strong with this one and may not be the best for people that are super subtle on this quality. Ash production is low and heat levels are just ok to not cause quick burns.
This is a good make and we will recommend it too like the others.
- Fair size distribution
- Lights very easily
- Strong smell
- Burns fast
What is the best lump charcoal?
Definitely the Fogo Premium!!
It is the perfect lump charcoal for smoking foods as it does not burn too low nor too high. Due to its strong and large charcoal pieces, temperatures work just well for a long cook.
There are no sparks while it burns to make it also good for barbecuing. You will not be burned except you’re careless.
The wood selection for it is totally made well making it burn without waste, producing almost no ash, and has a very subtle aroma.
We highly recommend this make which is healthy for cooking and passes well for even skin care products.
Enjoy its use and be kind to let us know your thoughts.