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

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

Charcoal grills are popular because they allow the cook to directly impart the delicious smoky flavor to the food. However, since there are different types of charcoal, deciding on the best fuel for charcoal grill is a complex task.

The hardwood lumps are the best fuel for your charcoal grill, especially if you want to impart the smoky flavor directly into your food. One reason hardwood lumps are the best option is that they are the most natural. Further, they do not have any impurities that may negatively affect your food.

When it comes to choosing the best fuel for charcoal grill, there are numerous factors that you should consider. For instance, you need to determine the fuel, efficiency, cost, burning duration, and many other critical factors. Read on for more details on choosing the best fuel for a charcoal grill.

Hardwood Lumps

The hardwood lumps are the best fuel for a charcoal grill as they are pure and in their natural form. The charcoal is created by burning wood in a controlled environment with limited oxygen so the wood does not catch fire. The heat melts everything in the wood, leaving carbon to create the much-coveted charcoal.

Most people who love the hardwood lumps value its ability to provide high temperatures, ideal for searing meat. Additionally, since they come from hardwood, they can burn for a significant period giving you all the time you need to cook perfectly.

Charcoal Briquettes

The charcoal briquettes are environmentally friendly charcoal as they do not require cutting down trees. Briquettes take a different process when preparing them. They contain additives, including cornstarch, coal, sawdust, and sodium nitrate. One of the reasons some people love briquettes is that they burn evenly and do not influence the flavor of the food.

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While the briquettes can burn for a long time, they have several drawbacks that make them less appealing in some situations. For instance, they have additives, making them less attractive if you want to use them for direct grilling. Further, they produce a lot of ash when burning and thus may not get as hot as you would love them, especially if you want to use them for searing.

Generally, the briquettes are compressed sawdust that is carbonated and contain binders and filers. The briquettes burn cooler, longer, and consistently due to the uniform shape. Additionally;

  • Adds little or no smoke flavor to the food
  • It can use either in smokers or grills
  • They are better and more efficient for low and slow smoking

Lump Charcoal

The lump charcoal is 100% all-natural carbonized wood, making it one of the purest forms of fuel for charcoal grills. The charcoal burns hot and faster. While the irregular shape can imply inconsistent burning, it is one of the most reliable sources of energy for charcoal grills.

Notably, the lump charcoal is excellent for high searing and grilling. Also, it always satisfies when used to add delicious smoky flavor to your food.

However, when purchasing lump charcoal, it is prudent to find out the specific tree used to make the charcoal. This is essential because the wood used for these charcoals has different characteristics. The charcoal made up of apple, cherry, mesquite, oak, and pecan is the best as they bring its unique smoky flavors to the table.

How to Choose the Best Charcoal

With numerous brands of charcoal and multiple sellers, deciding on the best charcoal to buy is challenging. However, if you know what to look for in the best charcoal, you will not have a hard time making the right choice. The following are some critical considerations you should always make before buying charcoal for your grill.

The Purity of the Charcoal

If you want to use charcoal to grill your food directly, it is paramount to ensure that the charcoal does not contain additives. Any charcoal with unpleasant additives will easily transfer the same additives to your food, which will impact your food’s flavor. Moreover, if the additives are toxic, your health will be in jeopardy.

Steady Temperature

Before purchasing charcoal, ensure that the charcoal can provide you with a steady temperature. Most foods require that you cook them under a steady temperature if you want to achieve any desired results. In addition to the steadiness of the temperature, you also need to determine the hotness of the charcoal. Hardwood lump charcoal are made up of hardwood, and they not only provide high heat but also burns for a long time.

The Cost

The cost of charcoal is another critical factor you are supposed to pay attention to. As much as you need quality charcoal, you do not want to spend more than you have. The briquettes are cheap fuel for a charcoal grill, and they can do just fine if you do not intend to put your food into direct contact with the charcoal. Interestingly, they burn cool and longer and can be ideal for cooking some foods.

The Burning Duration

It is also important to pay attention to the burning duration. You do not want to invest your money in charcoal that burns very fast, as that would mean spending much of it. The briquettes are affordable and burn for a long time. Therefore, if you are on a tight budget and think you can comfortably keep up with their drawbacks, they can be a perfect option.

Expert Tips on How to Get the Most From Charcoal Grills

While charcoal grills are excellent in helping you impart the desired smoky flavor into your food, you may only enjoy their benefits if you know how to use the charcoal grills effectively. Here are some critical expert tips you should always keep in mind.

  • Avoid using lighter fluid when starting your charcoal grill
  • Add hardwood to lump charcoal to intensify the smoky flavor
  • Open dampers to increase the cooking temperature when the need arises
  • Invest in a quality grilling thermometer
  • Always oil your grill grates to prevent the food from sticking
  • Avoid poking and prodding the food while it grills
  • Use a charcoal chimney when starting your grill
  • Use the right volume of charcoal
  • Avoid pre-coated charcoal
  • Wait until the charcoal are ready before you can start your grilling
  • Always set up a two-zone grill
  • Keep the leftovers for future


Cooking using charcoal offers an incredible opportunity to impart a delicious smoky flavor to your food. However, to get the best results, always go for quality charcoal. The hardwood lumps make the best fuel for charcoal grill. Considering the expert tips for using a charcoal grill, you will enjoy the entire grilling process.

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