Which Charcoal Is Best For Grilling

Best Natural Charcoal: Original Natural Charcoal Quebracho Carbon

What kind of charcoal should I buy for grilling?

This quebracho coal from Original Natural Charcoal is a perfect example of how the natural aromas and flavors of natural coals are superior to anything that artificial briquettes or propane can muster.

Derived from South American wood, this stuff is typical of fuel from the region. Its packed full of the distinct smoky flavors unique to natural hardwood.

This Quebracho coal has stamina in abundance. It can burn at high temperatures for hours, yielding an impressive maximum of 1000°F.

Similarly, its easy to bring it down to a smolder of 200°F for low and slow cooking, burning for three to four hours at a time before needing to be replaced.

Just like with a lot of the other lump charcoal packs in this list, Quebracho Carbon can reach optimum cooking temperatures within just 15 minutes. Not only that, but its clean relative to a lot of other charcoals, leaving minimal ash or residue when cooking.

Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill

Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill, 22-Inch, Black

The Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill comes with precision heat control, which helps users control the grills temperature using the dampers without have to lift the lid. Adjusting the dampers controls the flow of oxygen for extinguishing coals. The product is capable of withstanding high temperatures arranging the charcoal for either indirect or direct grilling on the fuel grate.

Further, cleaning this grill is a breeze, thanks to its hassle-free cleanup of debris and charcoal ash for swiping it into the removable ash catcher. Featuring a heat shield to ensure that the lid doesnt get too hot for you to handle.

The Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill comes with convenient lid placement making it easier for users to hang the lid on the grills side to avoid placing it on the floor. Its large cooking space can hold up to 13 burgers using the Weber burger press.

Besides, it comes with durable wheels to help move the product around your yard conveniently while providing firmness when you are grilling.


  • Having a side shelf would be better

Charcoal Grill Features To Shop

A charcoal grill is similar to a gas grill in that its typically used for direct grilling, where food is cooked directly over high heat, explained Robbie Shoults, co-owner of Bear Creek Smokehouse. The main difference is the heat source: A gas grill uses several gas burners, while a charcoal grill is powered by charcoal. But that doesnt mean all charcoal grills are built the same there are many other standout features to keep in mind while comparing different models:

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How Do You Use A Chimney Starter With Lump Charcoal

Chimney starters are an extremely handy tool when it comes to lighting charcoal, and they’re surprisingly easy to use. All you have to do is place a few pieces of crumpled newspaper or lighter cubes underneath the chimney, then put charcoal inside the metal tube. Light the newspaper on fire with a lighter, then leave the chimney to work its magic. In around 10 minutes, your charcoal will be lit, and you can transfer it into your grill for cooking.

The Negatives Of A Gas Barbecue

Best Charcoal BBQ Reviews UK 2020

This pinpoint precision has its pitfalls, reducing the overall radiant heat . Because they lack the even blanket of heat of a traditional charcoal barbecue, many gas barbecues try to compensate with added tech . However youll still struggle with heat retention and find it difficult to build flavourful crusts on larger cuts.

Further, gas burns cooler than charcoal, restricting the efficiency of the heat.

You will be limited when it comes to indirect cooking and/or smoking. Imparting wood smoke will also be slightly more tricky, with soaked wood chips above the flames being your only real option.

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Best Charcoal For Grilling

Before shopping, its important to know that there are two types of charcoal: lump and briquettes.

  • Lump charcoal burns hotter but is irregular in shape, which makes it unpredictable. It is essentially the purest form of charcoal and has recently made a comeback because of the organic living movement, as well as the increasing popularity of the kamado grill and the Big Green Egg, Thinh Phan of BBQInProgress.com explained.
  • Briquettes are more uniform in shape and in how they burn theyre what most people think of when they talk about charcoal. Theyre made from mixing charcoal fines with other additives to help the briquettes bind together, improve ignition and prolong burning, Phan explained. This is where many people get turned off by briquettes, he said. These additives give off an acrid smell when they burn and people are afraid that it can get into their food. If youre likewise bothered, wait until the briquette is fully ignited before placing any food atop the grates.

Grill At Lower Temperatures And Dont Char Meat

High temperatures cause charring and HCAs. Grilling at lower temperatures may reduce this risk. You can use a lower flame to keep the temperature and smoking low. You can also move your coals to the side but keep your meat in the middle of the grill. It might take longer to cook this way, but if you keep temperatures low, youll cut down on the formation of carcinogens.

If any pieces of your meat do char, its best to discard those parts. The charred bits contain the most HCAs. So its a good idea to cut the burned and charred parts off any meat before you serve it.

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What To Know About Charcoal Grills

Charcoal grills take time and attention. First you have to get the fire started. One of the easiest ways is with a charcoal chimney. Its a simple, inexpensive, tool that along with some crumpled newspaper can get your briquets hot enough for cooking in about 20 minutes. As you cook, you need to be mindful and use the lid and the air vents to control the heat. When you plan on grilling for more than 40 minutes, you have to be prepared to add more charcoal to keep the fire hot. And after every cookout, in addition to scrubbing the grates, you need to wait until the ashes are cooled down and then dispose of them. Leaving them in the bottom of the grill can corrode it and shorten the life of your grill.

Best Of The Best Charcoal Briquettes

The Best Charcoal Chimney Starters for At-Home Grilling Projects

Duraflame Cowboy Natural Hardwood Briquettes: available at and Home Depot

Our take: High-quality charcoal briquettes made from all-natural hardwood without chemicals or fillers.

What we like: Pillow-shaped briquettes are ideal for even grilling premium hardwood blend adds unique flavor to food contains no additives or fillers unlike many other briquette brands long-lasting slow and even heat leaves little ash when burnt out.

What we dislike: More expensive than many competitors.

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Do I Open The Vents Or Close Them When Lighting Charcoal

As we said above, fire needs oxygen to burn. So, open the lid, lid vent and vents on the bottom of the grill to let in air to fuel the flames. This will help oxygen reach the coals once theyre lit so they can burn hotter. Once theyre fully lit, you can adjust the vent opening to control the cooking temperature.

How To Grill A Steak On Charcoal Grill

Im going to tell you five quick and easy steps to grilling the perfect steak on your charcoal grill!

Step 1 Prep and season the steak

The first thing you will want to do is take your steak out of the fridge and season it on both sides with your favorite rub or the one we used below. After you have seasoned the steak let it sit for 30 minutes. Seasoning the meat and letting it sit for this time will help it cook faster and more evenly while holding the seasoning better.

Also, if there is any excess fat please trim that off to avoid flare ups while grilling the steak.

Step 2 Fire up the grill

For steaks you want your charcoal grill to be as hot as possible. Ideally anywhere for 550-650 degrees F.

You can either use a chimney for your charcoal or light a pile of about 100 Kingsford Hardwood Charcoal Briquettes.

When the coals are ready you will want to arrange them into two zones. Essentially you want all the coals on oneside of the grill for direct heat and then the otherside that doesnt have any coals will be your indirect heat.

Replace your top grate, allow the great to heat up. Place cover on the grill. Remember all vents on the grill should be fully open.

When ready to grill pour cooking oil onto a folded paper towel and oil the grate using a long-handled tongs.

Step 3 Grilling the Steak

Flip the steak over and sear the other side.

After the steak is properly seared move it to the warm side where there are no coals.

Step 4 Check Steak for Doneness

130°F Rare

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Best Lump Charcoal For Grillingfogo Super Premium

Made of wood that comes from Salvador it is also this country where the manufacturing process takes place. It takes the second place in my ranking despite being as great as Jealous Devil Lump Charcoal.

First and foremost, it is a lump charcoal that is free from chemicals and other additives, and you wont find any junk or unidentified elements in the bag.

Upon opening the bag and pouring out all the charcoal, you can clearly see that the chunks of charcoal are big. About 80% are medium-sized and big chunks, with medium-sized taking about 50% of the bag.

Its a truly remarkable result, the biggest chunks may have to be manually broken into pieces as they wont fit in certain grills/smokers.

When it comes to dust and wood chips, there is very little of that, only about 5%.

A small downside and likely the main reason why this lump charcoal takes the second place on my list is the burning time. It requires quite a lot of paper in the chimney and it takes a lot of time to catch fire. It is not something very important that would impact the results of cooking, I would suggest to mostly take it as a piece of trivia.

Fogo Super Premmium Hardwood lump charcoal doesnt get good results either when it comes to the maximum temperature. Compared to other manufacturers it looks average, next to Jealous Devil it looked pretty poor. But does it really matter that much if it is still hot enough to allow you to do pretty much anything you need.

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Is Charcoal Carcinogenic

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Anything that is shown to promote the growth of cancer is considered to be carcinogenic.

Charcoal itself is not a carcinogen, but cooking with charcoal does have a link to cancer. There are two main reasons for this. The first risk of charcoal use is that youre cooking foods at very high temperatures, the second is that charcoal cooking creates a lot of smoke. Both smoke and high-temperature cooking of certain meats are known to be carcinogenic.

Of course, charcoal isnt the only way to cook food at high temperatures. Additionally, not all foods respond the same way to charcoal cooking, meaning that not all types of charcoal grilling carry the same cancer risk. In fact, some types of charcoal grilling are considered very safe. However, cooking with charcoal can create carcinogens in some foods.

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Best Choice Products 18

On a budget? Not to worry, Best Choice Products have got you covered. With less than $45 dollars, youll get your own grill so you can host your friends this weekend right in the backyard. This Best Choice Products 18-inch Charcoal Grill is crafted using steel. Though its light-weight, itll still deliver enough to serve as much as 4 people at a time.

Supporting the grill unit are four strong legs with two of them, furnished with wheels for easy movement if you dont feel like lifting the grill. At a finished weight of a little over 11 pounds, this super lightweight charcoal grill is easy to move from the garage to the back of the house or even to the car. Its compact design will make it fit right into the trunk if you want to use the grill at a location away from home.

Furthermore, it comes with a lid-holder feature, a thoughtful design that eliminates awkwardness and hassles while dropping and lifting the lid every time you need to access your food. Thats not all, you also get to control the airflow through the lid-mounted vent for the effective running of the grill unit. Theres equally an ash collecting pan just underneath the grill, making maintenance easy. To be able to make great grilled food inside your kitchen, check out our selection of the best indoor grills, and pick your favorite.

Can only grill small foods at once

How To Clean A Charcoal Grill

Clean the grill right after cooking, while its still hot, using a stiff-wire grill brush. Use it every time you grill to remove food particles from the cooking surface.

If you’re looking for an alternative to using wire brushes , rub your grill grates with a peeled half onion,” pitmaster Megan Day told TODAY Food. “Allow the grill to heat up to a high temperature. Pierce the half onion with a fork and rub the cut-side down along the grill grates. The onion’s juices will release and produce steam to remove the bits and charred on debris.”

This post was originally published on May 25, 2016. Related:

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Propane And Natural Gas Barbecue Grills

A gas-fueled grill usually needs propane or butane or natural gas as fuel source. For some of the gas grills, one can either cook food directly on them or use other heating grilling elements which in turn radiate the necessary heat to cook food.

This type of grill could be ideal for those who avoid manipulating the temperature but rather enjoy with their guests. At the same time, a gas grill becomes really practical in situations where one cooks a small number of beef cuts without the need to heat up the coal for about half an hour.

Gas grill photo

The majority of gas grills follow the cart grill design concept: the grill unit itself is attached to a wheeled frame that holds the fuel tank. The wheeled frame may also support side tables, storage compartments, and other features.


There are a few trade-offs between gas and propane grills though and an important one refers to fuel efficiency. On the one hand, one can use a natural gas grill through extensive cookouts without the need for a refill like in the case of a propane grill. But on the other way, the natural gas grills lack portability, one cant move this type of grill wherever he/she wants later on without the help of a professional grill installer. And to not mention that gas grills have small smoker boxes which makes them less comparable with a genuine charcoal grill or smoker.

Know The Difference Between Direct Vs Indirect Heat

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Another way of controlling how quickly your food cooks is by understanding the difference between direct and indirect heat. A certain amount of coals will produce a certain temperature, but your food will cook faster if it is situated directly above those coals as opposed to away from them. This fact leads us to our next tip…

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Best Value: Kingsford Original Charcoal Briquettes Two 12

Kingsford charcoal briquettes heat up fast and are ready to use in about 15 minutes. It’s made with natural ingredients including hardwood to create a great, smokey charcoal taste. You can cook over the open flames or wait until the charcoal is just embers. This two-pack is also a good deal and a great way to stock up for the summer.

Fire & Flavor Charcoal Briquets

Why youll love it:

These charcoal briquettes are top quality and unique in flavor. Most charcoal briquettes are made of a mix of wood ash and some kind of filler not so with these.

These are 100% olive wood, which gives the briquettes a nice subtle flavor to all your food. Its great for cooking just about everything, bust especially anything youd be comfortable cooking in olive oil, as it has much of the same neutral flavor to it.

These briquettes are also great at burning low and slow. They take a bit of effort to get to light initially but once they are, they burn for hours on end. This makes them excellent not only for grilling but for smoking.

While it works well with any meats, it excels especially at poultry, fish, and lamb, as would be expected from a Mediterranean wood, being what is often the traditional wood used for cooking those meats in the region.

What we liked

  • Excellent for fish, lamb, and poultry.

What we didnt like

  • Maybe not a desirable as something like cherry wood for some meats.

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At A Glance: Quebrancho Jealous Devil

The perfect charcoal for grillingVery high cooking temperatureLittle ash produced from burningNot as many large coals as other brands

It should come as no surprise that the best lump wood for the unique Big Green Egg models comes from the manufacturer themselves. This natural oak and hickory coal burns extremely hot while minimizing leftover ash, making it a clean fuel in every sense of the word.

Not only is it faithful to the natural ingredients that comprise lump wood, making sure it doesnt contain any fillers or chemicals, but it goes one further by containing 100% natural American oak. Its an eco-friendly fuel that compares favorably to other charcoal on this list in terms of being green.

The total absence of chemicals in the coal pieces does make it more challenging to light, and will need more time to reach target cooking temperature. However this is more than a fair trade-off for the price of having a healthy, clean, powerful supply of fuel.

Its composition also means that it imparts a beautiful smoky flavor on the meat without leaving any trace of chemical aftertaste. The perfect lumpwood charcoal.

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