The Best Types of Lump Charcoal

The Best Types of Lump Charcoal for Grilling

The Best Types of Lump Charcoal

When it comes to grilling and smoking, the type of fuel you use can make all the difference in the flavor, aroma, and overall experience. Lump charcoal is a favorite among barbecue enthusiasts for its natural composition and superior performance. In this guide, we’ll explore the best types of lump charcoal for grilling and smoking, ensuring your next barbecue is a smoky, savory success.

Lump Charcoal Benefits

  • Made from pure hardwood burned in an oxygen-deprived environment
  • Burns hotter than briquettes
  • Imparts an authentic, natural smoky flavor to foods
  • Produces less ash than briquettes for easier clean-up

 What is Lump Charcoal?

Lump charcoal is made by burning wood in a low-oxygen environment, a process known as carbonization. This removes moisture, sap, and other volatile substances, leaving behind pure carbon. Unlike briquettes, lump charcoal contains no additives or fillers, offering a cleaner burn and more authentic flavor.

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 Why Choose Lump Charcoal?

  1. Natural Flavor: Lump charcoal imparts a rich, smoky flavor to your food, enhancing the natural taste of meats and vegetables.
  2. High Heat: It burns hotter and faster than briquettes, making it ideal for searing steaks and achieving that perfect char.
  3. Quick Ignition: Lump charcoal lights up faster, reducing the waiting time before you can start grilling.
  4. Minimal Ash: It produces less ash compared to briquettes, making cleanup easier and maintaining better airflow in your grill.

The Best Types of Lump Charcoal

The Best Types of Lump Charcoal for Grilling

Fogo Super Premium Hardwood Lump Charcoal 

Fogo is a popular choice among grilling aficionados for its large, uniform pieces. This premium hardwood lump charcoal is made from dense Central American hardwoods, providing a long-lasting burn and high heat. It’s perfect for both high-heat grilling and low-and-slow smoking.

Jealous Devil Lump Charcoal

Jealous Devil is known for its ultra-dense South American hardwood, which burns hotter and longer than many other brands. Its large chunks ignite quickly and produce minimal sparking, ensuring a safer grilling experience. The robust flavor it imparts makes it a favorite for smoking meats.

Rockwood Lump Charcoal 

Rockwood is made from Missouri oak, hickory, and maple, offering a rich, natural flavor. It’s sustainably sourced and burns cleanly, with little ash production. Rockwood is ideal for those who want a consistent burn with high heat and a subtle smoky flavor.

Royal Oak Lump Charcoal 

Royal Oak is a widely available option that offers excellent value for money. Made from American oak and hickory, it provides a nice balance of heat and flavor. It’s a versatile choice suitable for both grilling and smoking, with a reliable burn time.

Kamado Joe Big Block Lump Charcoal

Kamado Joe’s Big Block charcoal is designed for kamado-style grills but works well in any charcoal grill. The large chunks are made from hardwoods like guayacan, guayaibi, mistal, and white quebracho, providing an intense heat and long burn time. It’s perfect for extended smoking sessions and high-temperature searing.

B&B Oak Lump Charcoal 

B&B’s oak lump charcoal is praised for its consistent size and clean burn. The oak wood provides a strong, smoky flavor that enhances the taste of grilled meats. It’s a reliable option for both casual grillers and serious pitmasters.

Tips for Using Lump Charcoal

The Best Types of Lump Charcoal for Grilling

Selecting Quality Lump Charcoal

  • Look for consistent sizing of the charcoal pieces
  • Avoid brands with excessive dust or small debris
  • Premium options like Fogo, Jealous Devil, Rockwood are well-regarded

Lighting Lump Charcoal

  • Use a chimney starter or pyramid method - no lighter fluid needed
  • Allow coals to become fully ashed over before cooking
  • Patient lighting allows volatile compounds to burn off for clean "blue" smoke

Temperature Control

  • Adjust vents/dampers to regulate airflow and oxygen
    • More oxygen = Higher temperatures
    • Less oxygen = Lower temperatures
  • Grill setup and coal arrangement impacts temperature:
    • Concentrated coals = High-heat grilling/searing
    • Spread out coals = Low-and-slow smoking
    • Two-zone fire = Hot zone for searing, cool zone for smoking

Safety Considerations

  • Always wear heat-resistant gloves when handling hot charcoal
  • Use long tongs and proper tools like coal rakes
  • Monitor temperature closely with a grill thermometer
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  • Remove food and rake existing coals to the side
  • Add new lump charcoal pieces to the hot coal bed
  • Allow 10 minutes for new pieces to fully ignite before returning food

Kamado/Enclosed Pit Usage

  • Can extinguish partly burned lump charcoal by closing vents
  • Once cooled, coals can be left in grill for relighting later
  • Stir coals before relighting to free them of excess ash

With its natural burn, superior heat, and authentic smoky flavor, lump charcoal is a premium fuel for grilling and smoking when used properly. Following best practices for lighting, temperature control, safety, and fuel management will allow you to maximize this fuel source.


With its unparalleled ability to produce intense, searing heat and infuse foods with an unmatched, natural smoky richness, lump charcoal stands apart as the fuel of choice for discerning pitmasters and backyard grillers alike. From quickly searing thick-cut steaks to perfection over a raging fire to slowly transforming tough cuts into succulent, fall-off-the-bone barbecue over a low smolder, quality lump charcoal delivers unrivaled performance and flavors you just can't achieve with ordinary briquettes.

So don't settle for bland, underwhelming results at your next cookout. Unlock the full potential of your grill and step up your outdoor cooking game by making the switch to premium lump charcoal. Whether you crave the bold, hardwood or prefer the nuanced, balanced profile of oak and hickory, finding your ideal lump is just the start of an obsession that will have you chasing ever more refined and delicious flavors.

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