If you want to add a smoky flavor to your meat, there is only one way to get it the way everyone likes it, and that’s by using lump charcoal. Whether you’re looking to get out your new BBQ and fire it up for the first time, or you are an experienced grill demo-God who has been doing this for decades, only the best lump charcoal is worthy of your grill.
The better lump charcoal burns for as long as you need it, is easy to light and of course, is made from pure wood. To help you find a great product that has you wishing for a sunny day so you can break it out, we have created the following list of the best products available.
Quick Summary of Best Lump Charcoals
Jealous Devil All Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal – 35LB
With more of the bigger lumps that burn for ages this premium lump charcoal is 100% natural, there are no chemicals or additives to worry about when the open up the grill. These lumps burn longer and are twice as hot as traditional charcoal so you’re going to be able to get a lot out of a handful of lumps.
If you’re looking for restaurant-quality lump charcoal then this is as close as it gets, expect no smoke or sparks and significantly less ash which means the cleanup is as easy as you can hope for. Anyone who wants to use lump charcoal to flavor their food will appreciate the smooth smokey output that isn’t overpowering and adds a subtle taste to meat.
- 100% natural with no chemical additives
- Long burn time
- Twice as hot as traditional charcoal
- Low ash for easy cleanup
- Subtle smokey flavor
BIG CP 20-pound bag of natural lump charcoal
Because there’s smoke, you want to know you’re not going to be breathing in a bunch of harmful chemicals. The benefit of using Big Green Egg lump charcoal is that there are no nitrates, chemicals, fillers, limestone, treated petroleum, and other nasties in their product.
You’re getting premium carbonized wood that does not contain any additives, only the good stuff to make your food smoky. Once it’s on the go (it only takes around 10 minutes), there is no need to add any additional wood for flavor. It’s a great product for anyone who doesn’t know their way around a grill as it lights fast and burns at a high temperature with less ash than most.
- Made from carbonized wood
- No added chemical or other filler
- Only takes 10 minutes to be ready to cook
- Some people prefer bigger lumps
Kamado Joe KJ-Char Hardwood, Extra Large Lump Charcoal
Best Long Burning
Made from Argentinian hardwood expect big lumps that burn for ages. A big box protects them so when they arrive you get the big pieces you were hoping for. One of the most impressive attributes this product offers is that it can burn for up to 18 hours.
On top of this, you can burn them up to three times if you close the vents of the grill when finished so you get a lot out of every pack. Because of the blend of hardwood, this makes some flavorsome smoke and comes with some smaller pieces to help get the burning process going so the big pieces can work their magic.
- Big pieces for a longer burn
- Can burn for up to 18 hours
- Can use up to three times
- Can be a bit pricey for some
Royal Oak Lump Charcoal, 15.4 lb
A natural lump charcoal that is so easy to light you can use paper to get it burning and ready to cook within 15 minutes. It’s the kind of lump charcoal that is fine to use on ceramic grills as well as kamado smokers and in the fine renewable wood such as hickory, oak, maple, and walnut you know you are getting quality.
It burns hotter and even so no you get a consistent temperature wherever you cook from and anyone concerned about added chemicals or additives can grill to their heart’s content with this product as there is no trace of either. It sears in the smokey flavor without overpowering so you are left with juicy steaks that taste exactly how you want them to.
- Ready to cook in 15 minutes
- Can use on ceramic grills
- Burns hotter than most
- Some people think it burns a little fast
Char-Broil Center Cut Lump Charcoal, 11 lb
Best Low Ash
An all-natural lump charcoal made from quality hardwood it is cut from the center so you’ve not got the flimsy bark that burns way too fast. It is a clean-burning charcoal that won’t leave you with half a bag of dust, instead, you get 3-inch pieces for a consistent and reliable burn to prevent sparks and dirty smoke.
There is also less ash when using this lump charcoal so expect to spend more time eating and less time cleaning up after yourself. A lot of people comment on how it doesn’t take long to get this going but some say it tends to burn a little fast so might not be as well suited to smoking as other brands.
- Consistent 3-inch pieces
- Made from center cut wood
- Clean burning
- Can burn a little fast
Pok Pok Thaan Thai Style Charcoal Logs, 5 lb
Best Thai Style Logs
Anyone who doesn’t get on with those logs that are too big to get going and anything too flimsy will enjoy the consistent size of these Thai-style lump charcoal logs. They are easy to get going and when they’re up to speed and smoking nicely, anyone will appreciate the low ash output and a subtle amount of smoke.
Made from rambutan fruitwood that is sourced from an orchard it has a mild flavor so it won’t overpower those homemade burgers. The even heat makes it easy to cook with them and because they are stackable, you can get them to last as long as you like.
- Low ash and not too much smoke
- Made from rambutan fruit wood
- Easy to stack
- Takes a little while to heat
Lump Charcoal Guide
When it comes to the grill no one likes someone else turning up, telling them what to do with their set-up. One way of making sure you know more than your father-in-law or whoever else might try and tell you better is by getting a premium brand of lump charcoal. Knowing the ins and outs of what you should expect from a quality product can help you to enjoy your grilling and get a subtle smokey flavor every time.
This is why we have created the following guide to make sure you get a quality lump charcoal that does everything it should.
What To Look For In Lump Charcoal
The longer you have to take to get the lump charcoal burning, the more frustrated you are going to get. To stop you from tearing your hair out, find a brand that is known for being fast to light and once it gets going, will keep burning.
You might want to grill into the small hours or just know that you limp charcoal is going to be fine with an all-day party in your backyard. Expect the better brands to give you well over 10 hours of burn time and some will go way beyond this. It might be less important if you are only firing up the grill now and then but still, no one wants to have to relight.
An all-natural lump charcoal should be high on your list of priorities. Cooking with charcoal has its own health precautions, so the best way you can stay safe is by making sure the product you use is made from a quality, natural wood, and not scrap material.
Remember the smoke is going to transfer into your food, so say no chemicals.
With lots of brands selling their produce, expect to have a lot of choices. In terms of value, this is a little harder to dig out as some of the cheaper brands can give you more but you might be at risk of using lump charcoal that is mixed with chemicals or poor burn time.
The value comes in buying a product that will last as long as you need it to but is safe to use so try not to go only on price.
For a longer burn time, it is better to use bigger pieces of lump charcoal. Some brands say theirs are extra large and these are good for longer burn time and tend to reach higher temperatures.
Don’t be put off by smaller pieces at the bottom, they’re important for getting it going.
What Is Lump Charcoal?
Lump charcoal is made when wood is slowly burnt without oxygen, leaving you with dry charcoal that has had all the sap and natural chemicals removed.
This process can take a matter of days and ensures you end up with coal that is ready to burn for a prolonged period.
How To Light Lump Charcoal
There are a few different ways you can light lump charcoal but you can start by buying a brand that is known for being easy to get started.
A lot of brands include a few different sized coals so even if you’re expecting large pieces, don’t be disappointed to find some smaller lumps in there. They are ideal for getting the coal burning as they are faster to catch.
You don’t want to add a chemical taste to your food so if you are looking to use lighter fluid, be careful and don’t drench the charcoal in fluid. The best way to light lump charcoal is simple – use some rolled-up newspaper and a charcoal chimney. Although some brands are pre-soaked with fluid and ready to go, it is always best to be able to control how you want to get the grill going.
When Is Lump Charcoal Hot Enough?
Before you consider adding the meat to the grill you need to wait for the coals to be nice and hot. Wait for a light dusting of ash and a deep red glow. Only then are they ready for you to use for cooking.
Lump Charcoal and the Environment
It is important to check where your lump charcoal is sourced, as around the world, charcoal production can be guilty of bad practice and poor working conditions for workers who are exploited for cheap labor.
When you buy lump charcoal it is always a good idea to find out a little more about the company, where the charcoal comes from. Remember that charcoal made in the USA has to adhere to certain laws, working conditions, and pay.
Lump Charcoal Vs Briquettes
Briquettes tend to be made from wood by-products and compressed to make them easier to burn. Expect this to be a hot topic of debate at grills around the world but lets shed some light on some of the facts.
First of all, lump charcoal gives you a more consistent burn so it is easier to cook with making it ideal for the grill. When it comes to being natural, lump charcoal often wins this as well. This is because additives help briquettes get their shape.
In terms of cost, briquettes are the cheaper of the two and you tend to get more in a bag for your money but it’s better to get less of a quality product than more of something that won’t work as well. Lump charcoal takes less time to heat, gives you better temperature control and produces less ash so is easier to clean up.
How Long Does Lump Charcoal Burn For?
This depends on the grilling environment and the brand of lump charcoal used. Typical lump charcoal might burn for a few hours in a ceramic grill, whereas some brands keep burning for well over 10 hours at a time.
Bear in mind that some lump charcoal companies say theirs can be reused up to three times so it can last as long as you want it to.