Battle of the BBQ: Lump Charcoal vs. Briquettes

We’re right in the middle of summertime and that means it’s peak grilling season! And every griller knows that there are a number of options when it comes to grilling the perfect meal. One of the most debated topics when it comes to grilling is lump charcoal vs. charcoal briquettes. But you may ask, what’s the difference between the two? Well, there are a lot! Here are some of the fundamentals when it comes to the two:

Lump Charcoal:

Charcoal is made by burning wood in the absence of oxygen, and lump charcoal is the product of that. That means that lump charcoal is a more pure form. Because of that, it has a lot of attractive qualities; it lights faster, burns hotter, and leaves very little ash compared to briquettes. Lump charcoal is also more responsive to oxygen, making it easier to control the fire’s temperature if your grill has adjustable air vents. This makes it especially ideal for use in kamado-style grills like the Primo or Big Green Egg grills.

Charcoal Briquettes:

Briquettes are the fast food of charcoal; they’re cheap, reliable, can be found on almost every corner, but you really don’t want to know what’s in them. Unlike the pure lump charcoal, briquettes are manufactured wood by-products compressed with additives. These additives do give off a chemical smell when lit but allowing them to burn until covered with white ash before starting to cook should avoid any off-putting smells transferring to your food. Although they may not sound attractive, there are some good advantages to briquettes. Because of its makeup, charcoal provides a stable burn at a consistent temperature.

There are of course other differences between the two including flavor and other differences that can be attributed to certain brands. Overall, the superior type of charcoal is still up in the air depending on your personal preferences. Happy grilling!