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Lump charcoal also responds accordingly to oxygen, hence you can easily control the level of heat if your grill features adjustable air vents.
It also contains no fillers or additives which makes it one of the cleanest ways to barbecue.
Lump charcoal burns faster and hotter than briquettes so you do need to be careful with your temperature control.
Lump Charcoal Pros:
Contains no additives (all natural)
Easier temperature adjustment
Little ash production
Lump Charcoal Cons:
Bags contain uneven pieces of charcoal that can make it hard to grill. It also takes a bit more effort to cook with the snake method although it can be done by breaking the lump down into briquette sized chunks
More expensive than briquettes
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Briquettes are made from sawdust and leftover woods that are burnt down the same way as lump charcoal. Unlike lump charcoal, additives are in the process of making briquettes, unlike lump charcoal which is pure wood.
The additives are mainly used to hold the materials together in order to achieve clean little blocks that are often roundish-squarish in shape which makes them easier to stack.
Although briquettes burn longer, they do not burn as hot as lump charcoal.
They are sometimes made using chemicals or other lighter fluids to make starting easier. In most cases, you will end up tasting what you burn because of the additives used when making briquettes. ‘
Many briquette users have claimed to smell the additives as they cook and sometimes even taste it in lighter foods like chicken or fish.
Large ash production.
Produces a chemical smell.
Takes longer to light.
Every time I used it I ended up frustrated and confused, feeling all alone in this brave, overheated new grilling world.”
While Matt makes some good points, we think you can still control the heat with care and practice.
Jeff Allen from the National Barbecue Association points out that “charcoal generates more smoke than briquettes, which could be a problem with strict rules like apartments, retirement communities or even condos.”
Where to buy and best lump charcoal brands
Well, I am sure there are some of us who are wondering where to get the best charcoal brands for a successful charcoal barbecue.
Truth be told, there are many charcoal brands out there in the market but choosing the best brand can sometimes be confusing.
If you really want to obsess over it, the great people over at The Naked Whiz maintain an incredibly detailed charcoal review database.
If spending hours reading charcoal reviews doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, then the hardwood lump charcoal from Jealous Devil is a popular choice.
It produces low ash, excellent heat, lights fast and the chunks aren’t too big.
We’ve had both good and bad experiences with some of the lump charcoal available in the market.
Rockwood, Fogo and Royal Oak are also solid choices.
There seems to be a lot of variance in the level of quality, size and ash produced.