The Best Fuel For Charcoal Grills: [WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW]

Charcoal grills are one of the best to use as they give you an opportunity to impart the delicious smoky flavor directly to your food. Although there are different fuel types for charcoal grills, only some have what it takes to grill or smoke the most delicious meals. Therefore, you need to know how to pick the best fuel for your charcoal grill for the best results.

The hardwood lumps are the best fuel for charcoal grill. The charcoal is obtained from natural hardwood, implying that they come in their purest form. The hardwood lumps have various benefits, such as having a natural shape, producing less harsh, easier to adjust the temperature when cooking, transferring pure smoker flavor into the food, and containing no additives.

Whenever you find yourself in a situation where you cannot decide on the best fuel to use for your charcoal grill, the best course of action is to examine each potential fuel’s advantages and disadvantages. Read on for more details about the best fuel for charcoal grill.

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Hardwood Lumps

The hardwood lump is what you get when hardwood is burned down in a controlled environment with limited oxygen to provide quality and the purest form of charcoal. With no fillers or binders, it is simple, refined, and high-quality charcoal to prepare delicious meals.

Charcoal Briquettes

The Charcoal briquettes are coal dust compressed into a briquette shape. To successfully make charcoal briquettes, you would need sawdust as filler, limestone for coloring, borax as a release agent, and starch as a binder.

Although the briquettes contain various impurities, they are affordable, ubiquitous, and reliable. They appeal to master grillers and amateurs because they do not influence the taste of the food and burn even. However, they have their disadvantages, including becoming too ashy when burning. Therefore, they do not produce as much heat as hardwood lumps. Some of the common traits of the briquette include;

  • Cheaper than the lump
  • Contain regular additives
  • Takes longer to light
  • Burns for long
  • Contains lighter fluid

Lump Charcoal

The Lump Charcoal is entirely made from wood. Therefore, they do not have additives that might bring an undesired taste to your food. When purchasing Lump Charcoal, you should ensure you know the source, and the wood used to make them. Determining the source of the lump charcoal will make it easy to determine the quality.

Factors To Consider When Shopping For Charcoal

The key to getting the best grill results is purchasing the best charcoal. Since different brands specialize in producing different charcoal, picking the best type is a challenging task. However, if you know what to look for in the best charcoal, you will easily make the right choice. The following are some of the critical factors to consider whenever you set out to purchase charcoal.

The Cost

One of the things that you will need to examine closely before making your choice is the cost of the charcoal. Various types of charcoal have different price tags. Therefore, ensure that you pick the charcoal that you can comfortably afford. However, you need to understand that the cheapest type of charcoal is not always the best.

The Source And The Quality

Lump charcoal is made from pure hardwood, while charcoal briquettes are made up of different components. Closely examining the source of the charcoal and the components will go a long way in ensuring that you get the right quality. If you want the charcoal to have direct contact with the food you are preparing, you should ensure that the charcoal does not have any alarming additives.

When it comes to quality, excellent quality charcoal should not have any additives. Further, charcoal should not have a lot of sparks.

The Flavor

The flavor that you want to infuse into your food is another essential consideration that you should make. A charcoal bag can comprise different hardwood types, such as oak, ash, and beech. One essential factor you should remember is that different wood species have different flavors. Therefore, before purchasing charcoal for your charcoal grill, ensure that you understand the wood species used to make the wood.

The Size

In most cases, a high-quality bag of charcoal will have mostly large and uniform charcoal. In other words, if you find a bag of charcoal with mostly tiny charcoal, that can indicate poor quality. Notably, the larger the charcoal, the longer and hotter they are likely to burn. However, you should remember to check on the wood species used to make the charcoal to establish the burning longevity of the charcoal accurately.

Burning Temperature

Different species of wood have different burning temperatures. Therefore, if you are looking for high temperatures for searing or similar tasks, you have to choose a species such as oak because they burn hotter and for a longer time.

Experts’ Tips For Charcoal Grilling

Charcoal grilling is one of the simplest techniques anyone can easily execute. However, it would help to familiarize yourself with the following expert tips for the best results.

1. Use A Charcoal Chimney To Start The Grill

Many individuals experience one of these challenges whenever they want to use a charcoal grill. Using lighter fluid to light your charcoal grill is not a good idea because the lighter fluid will introduce an unpleasant odor to your food.

Using a charcoal chimney is one of the best ways to light your grill. The method is easy and effective as the chimney employs thermodynamics to heat the charcoal evenly. Further, this method enables you to avoid using fluids that can be hazardous.

2. Avoid Coated Briquettes

If you are using briquettes, you should avoid the pre-coated ones as they have been coated by fluids that might introduce a strange flavor to your food. For a healthier option, ask for non-coated briquettes.

3. Wait Until Your Charcoal Is Ready

One of the common mistakes that many people make is that they must rush to start cooking without ensuring that the charcoal is ready. Although people rush the process to save energy, the truth is that they end up with less desired results. Grilling while the charcoal is still black may result in the temperature of your grill rising to uncomfortable levels. This may lead to uneven grilling.

4. Use The Right Amount Of Charcoal

Using a lot of charcoal will not only amount to a waste of energy but can also rush the entire grilling process. Speeding the process may not provide you with the desired results. Moreover, you do not want to spend time figuring out how to recycle the large volume of unused charcoal.

The best criterion to use when determining the appropriate amount of charcoal is to determine how much heat you require. If your recipe requires low and slow cooking, then you will need to use a small amount of charcoal.

5. Add Wood Chunks For Extra Flavor

While quality charcoal will have its flavor, using wood chunks will intensify the flavor. You can always use a wide range of wood chunks, including hickory, mesquite, cherry, apple, oak, alder, pecan, heather, and camphor, depending on your desired flavor.

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6. Set Up Two Zone Grilling

Two-zone grilling is vital because it can save you from overcooking your meals. If you feel that the hot zone is getting beyond control, you can transfer the food to a less hot zone while figuring out how to bring the situation under control.

Additional expert tips that you should always bear in mind when grilling using a charcoal grill include;

  • Oil your grill grates to prevent the food from sticking to them grates
  • Ensuring that your grill is heated up before you can start the cooking
  • Use grill vents to control the grilling temperatures.
  • Avoid pressing your food against the grill, as this dries the delicious juices from the food.
  • Keep the leftover charcoal for the next grilling.


Charcoal grilling provides an incredible opportunity to impart a delicious smoky flavor to your food. However, since all charcoals are different, it is essential to go for the right quality for the best results. The hardwood lumps are the best fuel for charcoal grill.