Charcoal 101 – The Difference Between Lump Charcoal and Charcoal Briquettes

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Not all charcoal is created equally, that’s one of the things I learned in my journey thru the BBQ world.

Charcoal 101 – The Difference Between Lump Charcoal and Charcoal Briquettes

Today we will walk you thru the differences in 2 very common types of charcoal.


Charcoal – Things to know:

Make sure you fully ignite your charcoal to avoid any flavors from ignition smoke
How does charcoal add flavor to your food?
ALL charcoal is made from hardwoods
Charcoal will add a smokey and distinct taste to your food.  Good smokey flavor
All charcoal is carbonized, which means it has been burned down thru a carbonization process to leave the wood in a carbon form
For the best flavor out of your charcoal stay away from lighter fluids or starting fluids and stick to flavorless starters

Lump Charcoal:

Is 100% Natural Hardwood
Features small, medium and large sized pieces in each bag
Lump charcoal could contain more than one tree type (all will be hardwoods)
Lump will burn hotter and slightly faster using the smaller pieces to obtain higher temps
Lump charcoal adds more smoke flavor vs briquettes
Lump charcoal works great for higher temp grilling and searing
Lump can be used in kettles and/or kamado style grills

Wood Chips:

Sawdust and Wood that has an added filler or binder and is compressed
Smaller pieces of wood
Briquettes will burn cooler, longer and more consistently
Uniform in shape and size
Briquettes add low smoke flavor vs lump charcoal
Tends to have more ignition smoke while it ignites and reaching cooking temperature
Briquettes are better for controlled temp, low and slow cooking (in a kettle)
Briquettes are meant to be used in kettle grills ONLY
Published on 6/6/2022.
Always follow manufacturer's instructions before using any product.
For more helpful tips and advice, visit a neighborhood Ace or visit us online at
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