The Best Lump Charcoal for 2020
In quite a few cases, for many beginners, the fuel used for grilling or smoking is the least analyzed thing.
Choosing a perfect charcoal grill takes a lot of time, then accessories, and sadly not many people take seriously choosing the charcoal.
What type of fuel you use, however, has a decisive impact on the performance of cooking as well as the final results.
Not all lump charcoal has been made equal, never forget it.
There are plenty of lump charcoal manufacturers and it’s hard to say which of them are the best without a lot of research being conducted. Some of it is burning very quickly and dry, others are going to leave very little smoke, and some of it is universal for any occasion.
On the basis of my own experience, I took a closer look at the entire market offer and prepared a list of several best lump charcoal choices.
The 3 Best Lump Charcoal Brands for Every Purpose Whether you’re more into grilling or smoking, or perhaps both, it doesn’t matter–I’ve prepared some different options for each occasion. I also took into account your budget, but note that I care about consistency, and you can’t get it at the lowest price.
Jealous Devil All Natural Number one on my list, a very high quality lump charcoal popular and well-selling.
All Natural Jealous Devil impresses with its high quality and reasonable price. You will notice a lot of medium-sized pieces and small amounts of dust when you open the bag, as well as no strange-looking elements of any kind.
Here’s a very high ratio of medium-sized pieces to the rest, which is a huge advantage. You’ll find a lot of big pieces on top of that and not a lot of small ones.
The charcoal is made of hardwood from South America (Quebracho Blanco) without fillers or additives.
A huge quantity of medium-sized pieces makes it possible to burn hot and long. It can actually achieve very high temperatures, this burns at higher temperatures for very long and uniformly.
I barely saw any sparks and cracks at the start of the explosion, which many other customers also reported.
It is also worth noting that there is very little ash left behind by Jealous Devil.
All its benefits make it the best choice on the market, especially for ceramic grill owners. It’s my favorite lump charcoal that I use most often when I want to cook something on a kamado.
Super premium fogo Another great lump charcoal that I also frequently use and always recommend to others. First and foremost, it is also high-quality charcoal without any additional additives etc. Upon opening a Fogo Super Premium bag, a very high percentage ratio of medium-sized pieces to the rest as well as a small amount of dust can be easily noticed. It’s a good balance because the worst thing to happen is small pieces and a lot of dust, while big pieces have to be split in half or they’re going to be too big for many grills / smokers.
A slight downside that I would like to point out is that this charcoal takes quite a lot of time to get burned. It’s nothing particularly disturbing because after all, the most important thing is quality, naturalness and flavour.
On the other hand, the results are very good when it comes to the burning time and temperature. In terms of the amount of ash left behind after cooking, there’s nothing to complain about either.
Made of Central America (Salvador) leafed tree wood, the lump charcoal meets all my needs. High quality, no chemicals, high efficiency, relatively small amounts of ash, large quantities of medium sized parts, low dust and good price.
3. Kamado Joe KJ-Char Review 2020
Kamado joe KJ-Char Made from four different types of hardwoods in Argentina (Guayaibi, Guayacan, Mistal and White Quebracho). No additives and unidentified components, high-quality lump charcoal.
The higher ratio of large pieces to the rest characterizes Kamado Joe KJ-Char. I have to say that large pieces are really big, but there aren’t so many compared to competitive brands in there.
Long cooking works better with larger pieces, keeping the temperature higher for longer.
Overall, kamado’s lump charcoal is doing a very good job. It is natural, it burns well, it allows high temperatures to be achieved over a relatively long period of time and leaves an acceptable amount of ash.
Unfortunately, a small downside in the package is a large amount of dust, which is not the way to do it.
Kamado Joe KJ-Char is a lump charcoal of good quality with some downsides. One might turn a blind eye to them if it weren’t the competition’s much better offer for its pretty high price.
If my two suggestions are not available for some reason, this option will be a decent alternative, but with some downsides. Despite costing quite a lot compared to better offers, it will work very well in a ceramic grill.
What should be careful with lump charcoal?
Even though I know that not everyone can pay so much for it, price matters most. You can make a compromise and buy high-quality lump charcoal at a good price, but different brands need to be tested to make sure they’re worth that kind of money.
Size of pieces–You can test the ratio of large to small pieces when you open the bag. When small pieces definitely make the bulk, it should be as high as possible, it suggests poor quality of the charcoal. Large pieces burn much longer and hotter, and that’s significant, particularly if you’re paying more.
Amount of dust and wood chips— A large amount of dust is a sign of poor charcoal quality or improper storage in the shop. In such a case, before you decide to switch to another brand, it is a good idea to try with another bag.
Naturality–Natural, high-quality lump charcoal is free of additives, fillers and chemicals of any kind. In addition, it is made of 100% natural hardwood, look for this kind of labels on the packaging.
Sadly, to find out if a particular manufacturer actually offers high-quality lump charcoal, you must first buy and open one bag. That’s the best way to find out about the price, the second way is just like mine to read reviews.
I’ve prepared multiple tested solutions for you so if you don’t know where to start, I recommend you get to know what I’ve prepared for you.
Lump Coal or Briquettes?
I’m going to start by saying that I’m using both types of charcoal right away, but it’s important to list their upsides and downsides to see what to choose depending on the situation.
Many factors affect the final choice— the style of cooking, the type of smoker or grill, what you want to grill or smoke, etc. Learn the advantages and disadvantages of both types and decide for yourself what will be better for you depending on your situation. Don’t skip this topic, get to know it, and you’ll never have trouble choosing the right type of fuel again.
Lump charcoal is perfect for fast and hot cooking, which is why ceramic grills are highly recommended.
Briquettes are best for low and slow cooking, and for a long time it will give a good steady burn.
Note one really important thing, no matter if you choose briquette or lump charcoal. It’s all about consistency and if you really take barbecue seriously and expect the best results, don’t cut corners here.
Just stay away from the cheapest options that contain chemicals, fillers, etc.