Firing up the barbeque on a bright day and enjoying it with your closest friends or family members is an exciting idea. But have you checked your lump charcoal before you have decided on the D-day?
Why? Is it to ensure enough quantity in the storage?
Not the quantity, though that too is important. Here we want to check the quality of the lump charcoal.
What quality? After all, it is only fuel, is it not?
Many of us regard lump charcoal as only a fuel. But fortunately for us, it holds more value than just the burning woods. It adds flavor to our delicious food, be it red meat or the poultry or fish, and makes them sumptuous. It should be regarded as an ingredient whose smoky aroma provides an entirely different taste to anything that we cook.
So, you must select the lump charcoal with as much seriousness as while choosing any flavor for your favorite dish.
We will present here the seven best lump charcoal for your grills that will make your BBQ a lot spicier.
Top 7 Best Lump Charcoals
- Jealous Devil All Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal
- Kamado Joe KJ-Char Big Block XL Lump Charcoal
- Royal Oak 195228021 15.4# NAT Lump Charcoal
- Original Natural Charcoal – 100% Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoals
- Primo 608 Natural Lump Charcoal
- Forest Lumps Hardwood Charcoal
- Josper – All Natural Restaurant Premium Lump Hardwood Charcoal
1. Jealous Devil All Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal Review
The Jealous Devil is one of the best lump charcoal for smoking. And why not, if they offer such high-quality all-natural charcoal using the best quality hardwood from South America?
If you consider oak or hickory to be the densest hardwood, wait a while, the Jealous Devil uses 30% denser hardwood than oak to handcraft the charcoal.
The Jealous produces small batches to ensure a high level of consistency in the quality of their charcoal. Besides, they use carbonization methods to ensure higher heat levels and a longer burning time of the charcoal. The unique method also ensures pure charcoal which is cleaner than wood or any other type of fuel.
The Jealous charcoal can give you a burning time of as high as 30 hours and with its high efficiency, you can cook your favorite barbeque item by using half the charcoal for the subsequent cooking.
In addition to these extraordinary properties, the Jealous Devil supplies only the large pieces of the lump charcoal offering maximum efficiency and ensuring no sparking during cooking. It doesn’t create irritating smoke or cause any popping while burning.
The 20 Lbs packaging comes with a professional sealing which ensures that you do not need to mess up with the strings while opening the bag. The high-quality packaging is water and dust-proof.
Besides, it also offers resistance to harmful UV rays. The best part of the packaging is that the bag is perfectly re-sealable and prevents any exposure to the outside moisture even after multiple usages. To add to the convenience of handling, the bag is equipped with a side handle.
- Large size charcoal pieces
- Add delicious flavor to the food
- Use very dense hardwood
- Re-sealable moisture-proof bag
- Best charcoal for smoking
- Efficient and mess-free burning
- Not quite easy to light
2. Kamado Joe KJ-Char Big Block XL Lump Charcoal Review
The Kamado Joe KJ- Char is one of the very few brands of charcoal that use only real trees. They do not use any scrap or even processed wood in making high-quality charcoal. Using the wood from the real trees allows it to burn clean and offer just the right smoky flavor to the meat and fish.
As the charcoal is made using natural wood, it burns hotter compared to many other charcoals. The charcoal can give the high temperature needed for the steak searing of the meat thus making it one of the best lump charcoal for searing chicken.
Besides, by providing high heat and temperature, the Kamado also requires much less heat to cook the meat. This special property makes it preferred charcoal to cook moist meat.
The large pieces of charcoal ensure a long burning time making it ideal for slow cooking. So, you can get a perfect blend of quicker cooking of small pieces to be used as starters and gradually cook the large pieces for a long period.
The higher heat and longer burning time make the Kamado a highly cost-effective product. To add to the productivity, the quality of the charcoal allows you to reuse the partially burnt charcoal pieces on subsequent use.
- Use of real trees in making charcoal
- Large pieces of charcoal
- Clean burning
- Hotter and longer burning
- Easy to store packaging box.
- Some of the pieces are too large and can cause wastage if ignored
3. Royal Oak Charcoal Review
The Royal Oak Natural is one of the best lump charcoal for grilling. The all-natural charcoal is perfect for a variety of grills and smokers. The charcoal burns hot and thus makes it ideal charcoal for making delicious seared hot meat. The Royal Oak offers a highly soothing flavor to any food with just the right intensity of smoke.
It uses renewable oak and hickory in making charcoal. Besides, it also constitutes maple and walnut hardwoods to give the charcoal its special characteristics. They do not use any additives or harmful chemicals that can interfere with the natural smoky flavor of the wood. The charcoal provides very high temperatures and also offers slow cooking to provide outside searing and juicy texture inside the cooked food.
- Quick lighting
- Very soothing flavor
- 100% natural with no additives and chemicals
- Very low dust of 1%
- An efficient and high-quality mix of oak, hickory, maple, and walnut
- Less quantity of large pieces
- Generates more smoke compared to many other charcoals
4. Original Natural Charcoal Review
What are the properties that you expect from your best quality lump charcoal?
Well, it shouldn’t generate heavy smoke. It should not produce a lot of ash and shouldn’t release sparks. The simple reason is that it shouldn’t cause irritation and should be safe to use.
Well, of course, these are the properties that we will want in addition to the higher temperature and long burning time of the charcoal, isn’t it?
And will you believe if we tell you that you can get all these properties in a single brand of product?
Well, if you do not trust us, here is the Original Natural Charcoal which is 100% natural and pure. Over and above these properties, the charcoal is produced using the unique and most special wood. The wood comes from Ukraine where they are ethically cultivated and rather than cutting the tree, they are only pruned to source the required hardwood. This makes the Original Natural one of the most eco-friendly and sustainable charcoal on the list.
The charcoal burns at an exceptionally high temperature that goes as high as 1115°F. This unique property makes it ideal for foods requiring very high cooking temperatures.
Apart from the high temperature, the charcoal also imparts a soothing and sweet smoky flavor caused by the blend of oak and fruit tree wood used in making the charcoal.
- Super easy and quick to light
- Made by pruning trees thus avoiding cutting trees making it highly eco-friendly
- 100% natural wood
- Excessively high burn temperature
- Produces low ash and sparks
- The smoky fragrance is pretty strong
- Low burning time
5. Primo 608 Natural Lump Charcoal Review
The Primo natural is one of the most high-performing lump charcoal alternatives for a variety of grills and smokers. The pure lump charcoal product does not contain any harmful chemicals or ingredients.
The light-weighed charcoal lights quickly and burns for a longer time compared to the briquettes. It also attains very high temperatures in a quick time. The Primo can be reused several times for super-hot temperatures and can burn for up to one and a half days with slow cooking at low temperatures.
Despite being a premium product, the Primo is highly cost-effective charcoal, and on average, a single bag of 20 lbs can be used for 35 cooking occasions. You can use this charcoal alone or can also mix with any seasoned wood of your choice to cook delicious foods with a mouth-watering smoky flavor.
- Premium charcoal
- Pure and natural
- Produces less quantity of ash
- Burns hotter and for a long time
- Natural charcoal flavor
- A bit expensive
The bag in box charcoal, the Forest Lumps is one of its kinds. It has a very long burning time and has a high burning temperature of 970oF. The unique property of this lump charcoal is the quick spread of fire.
The Forest Lumps produce a very small amount of ash and do not cause any sparks making it very convenient and safe to use. The 20 lbs of charcoal come in two handy bags of 10 lbs each kept in a single box.
- Produced using pure beechwood
- Fire spreads rapidly
- Produces small quantity of ash
- Clean smoke with a pleasant smoky flavor
- Burns hotter and longer
- Charcoal pieces are pretty small
The White Quebracho wood is the unique hardwood that offers a long burning time to the charcoal. It is mainly found in the subtropical regions of Latin America. The wood is hard and has a very high consistency level. The charcoal made using the wood lasts for double the time compared to the charcoal made from ordinary wood.
The Josper charcoal does not produce sparks. It creates a very pleasant fragrance and imparts a soothing smoky flavor to any kind of food, be it white meat, red meat, or fish. For this reason, this is considered as one of the best lump charcoal for flavor enhancement purposes.
It is a premium product and finds most of the leading premium restaurants across the world as its customers. Now it has also come with the products for the occasional family BBQ occasions, as well. The best part of Josper’s new products is that they have not compromised with the quality of the product a single bit which is pretty well evident by the quality seal provided by the company along with all their products.
The company also complies with the PEFC and REACH requirements which are clear evidence of following eco-friendly methods of producing lump charcoal.
- Unique White Quebracho wood offering much longer burning duration
- Very low smoke generation
- No sparks or popping up
- Low ash generation
- PEFC and REACH certified
- A bit pricey
Lump Charcoal Buying Guide and FAQ
At first, buying lump charcoal may seem to be a simple task. However, when we go a little deeper we realize that we need to take care of many important factors to get the best value out of this fuel.
Though you may not like to spend a lot of time minutely checking the quality of the lump charcoal, it is necessary to ensure some important factors that will ensure that you buy the best charcoal for grilling, smoking, or searing chicken. Let us have a look at some of them right here.
Size of Lump Charcoal
This is by far the most important factor to be checked while buying your stock of the best lumpwood charcoal. You can have the best charcoal grill but small sizes of lump charcoal will not let your grill perform to its best. The large uniform sized wood pieces give the best quality of heating. The large wood pieces will burn faster, give higher temperatures, and produce less ash. They can also be reused in many cases.
Apart from the wood pieces, it is important to make note of the quantity of charcoal dust in a bag. The dust is not good for safety as well as the efficiency of the charcoal. It will create sparks but won’t give the heat required to raise the temperature of the grill.
Intensity of Smoke
The high quantity and intensity of smoke can cause a lot of irritation, particularly during high wind times. High intensity will also lead to excessive smoky flavor and can spoil the taste of the cooked food.
Higher smoke generation is a clear indication of low-quality charcoal which is often mixed with a lot of other impurities. To safeguard against such a nuisance, it is important to buy charcoal from a reputed brand rather than selecting an unknown seller offering cheap charcoal.
As we know that lump charcoal is not only a wonderful fuel for your grill but also acts as a flavor enhancer to your food. Therefore, it is important to select the charcoal that adds the right kind of flavor to your dish.
Many varieties of lump charcoal are available for selection and you can select as per your preference among the cherry, oak, maple, apple tree, mesquite, hickory, and so on.
Different species of hardwood provide different flavors. However, It is often difficult to get charcoal from a single species. Ideally, you will like to buy charcoal made from a lighter wood like maple to add a light flavor to white meat. On the other hand, to add stronger flavor to red meat you will prefer using a hardwood like hickory.
On one hand, using charcoal improves fuel efficiency and enhances the flavor of your food, on the other hand, it leads to the depletion of forests. To ensure you do not harm the environment, you must buy your charcoal from the suppliers that source the hardwood sustainably. You can check the packaging of the charcoal to find out if the manufacturer conforms to relevant rainforest compliances or not.
The American hardwoods are by far the best quality of wood for producing charcoal. However, considering its slow growth, it is not advisable to use these trees for the purpose as this can harm the environment irreparably. Using the wastage from the sawmills or twigs in the forest is a more sustainable way to produce high-quality charcoal.
Depending on the hardwood, different lump charcoal will have different burning temperatures. For instance, Maple can achieve as high a temperature as 1200oF whereas Apple can reach a maximum of 1190oF and the charcoal made using Cherry can attain a temperature of 1099oF only. The reputed brands provide the heating ability of their charcoal on their packaging.
Manufacturers use a mix of various hardwoods to produce charcoal. The availability of the type of hardwood is the biggest factor to decide the proportion of species in the mix. Most of the sellers generally use different mixtures of 40 hardwood varieties available across the Southern US. Oak, by far is the major constituent of these varieties contributing to more than 50% of these hardwoods. Ash, apple trees, and hickory also get a fair proportion for making lump charcoal. They are mostly sourced from the waste generated in various furniture industries.
Despite supplying the best quality large size charcoal, if the packaging is not strong, the product that you receive can have inferior quality of charcoal. Breakage of large pieces of charcoal during transportation will lead to small pieces of charcoal with an excessive amount of dust as a waste. Therefore, you should select the charcoal packed in the best lump charcoal bags to ensure protection to the charcoal and supplying high-quality charcoal until the final point of use.
How to Store Charcoal Lumps
After selecting the best quality of lump charcoal, its proper storage is the next most important activity to maintain its quality and efficiency until its use. It is very important to protect charcoal from moisture. Wet charcoal will not burn properly and will produce a lot of smoke. It won’t provide enough heat and will also not last long. Besides, it may also get spoilt and moldy and impart a foul smell to the food.
So, ensuring air-tight sealing of the charcoal packaging is of utmost importance. You should keep the partially used charcoal bag in a sealed container to avoid its exposure to moisture.
In case your charcoal gets wet due to any reason, you need to spread the content over a tarpaulin sheet under the sunlight and allow it to dry. The process of drying can take one day to a few days depending on the moisture absorbed by the charcoal and the intensity of sunlight.
There is no substitute for the lump charcoal if you want to have tasty smoky meat. It ranks high on multiple parameters of quality, efficiency, and convenience. Good quality lump charcoal also produces less ash and does not spark or pop up. If purchased from a sustainable source, it also ensures that you do not harm the environment by using charcoal to cook your food.
There are a variety of species of hardwood to produce charcoal with each one offering a distinct flavor to the food. By selecting the most suitable species you can enhance the flavor of your food and make it richer and more sumptuous.
We had reviewed here the top seven best lump charcoal brands. We hope that these reviews and other information provided in the article helped select the best lump charcoal for your purposes.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: What is lump charcoal used for?
A: Lump charcoal has been our best companion for the barbeques for a long time. It is not used only as burning woods, but also to add a smoky flavor to the grilled food like meat and fish and enhance their taste profile. For a long time, lump charcoal has also been used in making gunpowder. Besides, it also finds its use in making a variety of cosmetic products. Moreover, it is also used in making carbon filters and used in many other industrial applications.
Q: Is lump charcoal better than regular charcoal?
A: Yes. Lump charcoal has many advantages over regular charcoal. It does not contain any additives that can contaminate your food. It is quicker to light and produces higher temperatures compared to regular charcoal. Some of the lump charcoals can even get temperatures as high as 1200oF. Charcoal produces less ash and generates less intense smoke compared to regular charcoal. Therefore, it is less irritating and imparts just the right smoky flavor to the food.
Q: Is lump charcoal good for grilling?
A: Yes, Charcoal burning is easier to control due to high oxygen reactivity. For this reason, it is also the most preferred fuel when you want sizzling hot on the outside while maintaining the juicy and moist stuff inside the cooked portion. The ability to control the temperature also makes it an ideal fuel for slow cooking.
Q: Can you reuse lump charcoal?
A: Yes, you can and should reuse your charcoal. However, to be able to reuse you should close the air vents completely after use and quench all the burning charcoals.
Q: Why is the lump charcoal best?
A: Lump charcoal has a lot of unique properties. It does not contain any harmful chemicals, lights faster, and burns hotter compared to even the best charcoal briquettes. It produces a very small quantity of ash and smoke. Lump charcoal has higher oxygen reactivity which helps in controlling the temperature much easily by adjusting the air vents.
Q: What is lump charcoal made of?
A: Lump charcoal is produced by burning the hardwood in an environment free from oxygen. It contains 89% carbon and gives the appearance of charred wood.
Q: Can you relight charcoal?
A: Yes, you can relight charcoal. After finishing the grilling, cut off the oxygen supply to extinguish all the burning charcoal pieces. The next time you start your grill, half-fill the starter with the fresh charcoal then fill completely with the used one and light the grill as usual.
Q: Can you add lump charcoal while cooking?
A: Yes, you surely can. You can use the chimney starter also called charcoal chimney, to add lump charcoal while cooking.
Q: How long until lump charcoal is ready?
A: It usually takes around 15 minutes for lump charcoal to be ready for cooking.
Q: How do you start a lump charcoal grill?
A: To start a lump charcoal grill you need to first arrange the charcoal properly over the grill. The arrangement of the charcoal will depend on the shape of the grill and also the method of heating. For direct heating, you need to spread the charcoal evenly across the grate. After the charcoals are lit you need to close the lid for 20-30 minutes to initiate preheating.
For indirect heating, you have to arrange the coals as per the shape of the grill. Insert the fire starter like recyclable newspapers, in the chimney underneath the tightly filled charcoals. Light the newspapers using a match or a lighter and continue adding newspapers until it is well-lit.
For easier lighting up you can use some tools like a charcoal chimney or electric charcoal starter.