Guide to Charcoal Types

Whether you’re grilling with lump charcoal or charcoal briquettes, understanding your fuel type for charcoal grilling is key to your cooking experience. Learn more about the two fundamental charcoal types and decide which is best for your grilling needs.

Charcoal Briquettes

Charcoal briquettes are what most people think of when it comes to charcoal grilling. These dense, squarish nuggets are composed of packed sawdust and generally offer even, long-burning heat on your grill. Briquettes are great for long cooks, as they generally burn longer than lump charcoal.

Charcoal briquettes aren’t the most natural option due to their composition of packed sawdust and binders meant to help hold their shape. But at the end of the day, charcoal briquettes are economical and dependable for your grilling needs.

Lump Charcoal

Lump charcoal is made from 100% real hardwood, usually made from tree limbs or logs that are kiln-fired without oxygen. Irregularly shaped, lump charcoal burns hotter, less evenly, and quicker than briquettes. With lump charcoal, it’s all about the flavor, as the natural wood flavors impart on your food due to what you’re grilling with.

When it comes to lump charcoal, the bigger the pieces the better. You’ll want to purchase lump charcoal that’s labelled “hardwood lump charcoal” or “all-natural” to ensure you’re getting the best quality wood. Lump charcoal tends to cost more than briquettes, but it offers a completely different and unique charcoal grilling experience. 

Our Kamado Joe Big Block XL Lump Charcoal [link here] is perfectly crafted by artisans to create charcoal that’s not only significantly larger, it’s also noticeably better – better burn times, better flavor, better smoke. Made up of a blend of Guayacan, Guayaibi, Mistal, and White Quebracho hardwoods, the Big Block XL Lump Charcoal can burn for up to 18 hours continuously or can be reused up to three times.

For more inspiration and to learn more about the fundamentals of grilling with Kamado Joe, check out our blog here.