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Best lump charcoal 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]

Last Updated November 1, 2020

Kyle DunnHi there, I’m Kyle Dunn. After spending over 34 hours comparing at least 22 lump charcoal, I am recommending the best lump charcoal of 2018

Eventually, I found something that would suit my needs but it occurred to me that I wasn’t the only one who might be having the same problems I did. So, you will find reviews on some models of lump charcoal that impressed me (and a good many other people), and you will find a few informational pages as well.

Best lump charcoal of 2018

There are dozens of choices for an lump charcoal these days. These are composed of modern styling with modern technology to match it. Here are some good examples. Based on customer reviews and my own experience with the cowboy method I’ve found the best 3 lump charcoal on the market. I’ve based my selection methodology on customer feedback, the size, functionality, and budget to meet various demands. If you’re reading this, it is very likely that you’re scouting for the best lump charcoal.

Test Results and Ratings

Rank №1 №2 №3
Total 4.8 4.5 4.3
5 points
4 points
4 points
5 points
4 points
4 points
5 points
5 points
5 points
4 points
5 points
4 points
Awards 1
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How to save up to 86%? Here is little trick.

You must visit the page of sales. Here is the link. If you don’t care about which brand is better, then you can choose the lump charcoal by the price and buy from the one who will offer the greatest discount.



№1 – Jealous Devil All Natural Lump Charcoal

Jealous Devil All Natural Lump Charcoal

IMPROVED BAG : New more durable, heavy duty kraft paper bag contains charcoal with a higher ratio of large lumps and reduced dust, giving you less waste and a better burn
100 PERCENT NATURAL: No chemicals, fillers, or scrap wood
RESTAURANT QUALITY: Superior material means no smoke, no sparks, low ash, and easy cleanup – ideal for charcoal grills, smokers and kamados like Big Green Egg
Not found yet.

Why did this lump charcoal win the first place?

I was completely satisfied with the price. Its counterparts in this price range are way worse. I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing! I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product. The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack.
















№2 – Original Natural Charcoal – 100% Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoals – Unique Blend of Apple

Original Natural Charcoal - 100% Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoals - Unique Blend of Apple

WHILE OTHER LUMP CHARCOALS have a strong chemical smell, are extremely hard to light or burn, and have oversized, unusable chunks, Original Natural Charcoal is made from 100% natural hardwood, can light up quick with just a 1 ½ sheet of paper, and produces zero smoke, sparks, and minimum ash. This means you can set up your barbecue in as fast as 5 minutes, serve grilled recipes infused with delicious, smoky, sweet flavor, and leave your friends and family awestruck by your grill mastery.
Has some durability issues.
A bit bulky.

Why did this lump charcoal come in second place?

I really liked it. It is amazing in every aspect. It did even exceed my expectations for a bit, considering the affordable price. The design quality is top notch and the color is nice. I like this product. For such a low price, I didn’t even hope it to be any better. It’s decently made. Seems that the material is good. It has a very beautiful color but I don’t really like the texture.
















№3 – Fire & Flavor Premium All Natural Oak and Hickory Lump Charcoal 8 Pound Bags

Fire & Flavor Premium All Natural Oak and Hickory Lump Charcoal 8 Pound Bags

PREMIUM FLAVOR: Our USA harvested oak and hickory wood charcoal infuses the best quality smokey flavor into your food.
MULTIPLE METHOD COMPATIBLE: Compatible with Kamado Grills and Smokers, as well as traditional grills.
ALL NATURAL: 100% natural, no chemical starters or additives.
Require more effort to use.
Length might be an issue with some customers.

Why did this lump charcoal take third place?

I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new. This price is appropriate since the product is very well built. It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment. I hope that the good reputation of the manufacturer will guarantee a long-term work.
















lump charcoal Buyer’s Guide

If you keep the before points in mind, you can easily go out to the market and buy lump charcoal, right? No!


The ceramic grill is the most versatile and effective type of charcoal grill because the ceramic chamber retains heat and moisture more efficiently than any other charcoal grill option.

Not only can these charcoal grills be used for grilling  and smoking, but for baking pizza at 500 degrees as well. This is made possible by the excellent heat retention properties of the ceramic shell that can produce temperatures of up to 750 °F.

Barrel grills are the kind of grill that look like someone sliced a steel barrel in half lengthwise. It’s hinges are attached so the top half forms the lid and the bottom half forms the charcoal holding chamber.

The vents that control airflow and temperature are cut into the top and bottom of the barrel.  A chimney to control smoke from escaping attaches to the lid.

With the lid closed, heat can then be controlled with vents. Other designs may contain other features such as a smoke box, but the same basic barrel design does not change.


The key to the kettle grills’ cooking abilities is its shape. The kettle design is meant to  distribute heat evenly.

When the hood is down on the grill, it prevents flare-ups from dripping grease by controlling oxygen intake, and allows heat to circulate around the food as it cooks. It also  holds in flavor-enhancing smoke produced by the dripping grease and smoldering charcoals.

Lump Charcoal

Lump Charcoal also is very responsive to oxygen, making it easier to control temperatures. Lump contains no chemicals or fillers to help light up or burn longer.

In the end, lump charcoal is easier to light, burns hotter and is a cleaner option than other standard charcoal briquettes.

Charcoal Briquettes

Charcoal briquettes have been compared to by users as the fast food of charcoal.

Briquettes emphasizes uniformity in size, burn length, and light up easy. However, some of the chemicals used to create those characteristics are hazardous to your health during the early burning stages.

Plate Setter

Plate setters are a flat piece of ceramic made by Big Green Egg that is placed inside the grill just above the charcoal fire. It keeps direct flames off your food creating a more consistent temperature throughout the interior of the grill. Plate Setter’s also allow you to place pizza plates or racks on top to hold ribs.

Cooking in the dark is a recipe for burnt BBQ! A grill light, either attached or free standing, is key for grilling at night. Invest in one and you will thank yourself over and over.

Cast Iron Cook Grids


Fire starters that you break off work best so you can strategically place your hot spots evenly. Three evenly spaced, two inch square cubes are enough to get a solid base heat. These fiber blocks burn clean and can get your grill started quickly and safely.

Covers & Drawers

Protect your grill.  When you are not using it, a grill cover is a necessity to sheild your grill from the elements.

People on Vacation

There are some particularly awesome portable grills on the market that you can use when visiting the ultimate vacation spots. To be able to grill well on vacation pretty much amounts to being able to get a bunch of girls around your tent for free food. If you know what I mean.

Travelers: Some people who are on the road a lot of the time for work must also invest in these high quality products to get the best tasting foods anywhere they may find themselves on a particular day.

How to get the most out of your new charcoal smoker

It is important to keep an eye on the grilling work you are doing. Distractions come from every corner; and you do not wish to burn the food. I cannot tell you how many times I over-grilled the meats when my dad gave me the opportunity because some cute neighbor girl would not leave me alone. Focus on the food first, just by doing that you will get even more success with the ladies for your manliness. Attention is key in every aspect in life but especially more so in cooking and grilling. Take your time and avoid costly mistakes.

Lump Charcoal

Lump charcoal is also known as natural charcoal. There is a belief amongst many that this is the first discovered form of charcoal, created by heating logs or trees in a device called a kiln. A kiln is like a sealed cave. This type of charcoal is binder-free and is considered pure wood. This type of charcoal burns very cleanly and purely; making it a plus for the environment. Lump charcoal incinerates unevenly though, first hot then cold. It burns very quickly, and for this reason it usually must be refilled more often.


Binchotan is a Japanese manufactured super lump charcoal which comes in cylinders resembling branches. This type of coal is created from ubamegashi, a type of oak found in mud caves throughout Japan. It tends to burn cleanly according to experts, and does not produce the usual woody flavor to overpower the meats. Due to the amazing qualities and the amount of work put into creating such a beautiful and efficient charcoal, it can be quite pricey. One of the detriments however, is that it takes a somewhat long time to get this fuel to burn properly. Experts recommend using a torch or an electric lighter and allow at least 3minutes for the charcoal to be lit. Once it is lit though, it incinerates itself for an extensive period of time.

Coconut Shell

This type of charcoal is mostly utilized in southern Asia; Thailand especially. These types of charcoal burn quickly in comparison to the Binchotan but costs a bit less. These charcoals are very rare in the United States, but most hibachi restaurants utilize them for a classic flavor you cannot get with other charcoals. It would require a plethora of coconut shells to get these fires going.


Briquettes are treated charccoals that burn hotly and evenly over an extended period of time. They are infused with a fuel like lighter fluid so they can light quickly and easily. Most experts agree that these types of coal are actually the best kind for the casual griller, as they cost less than the others and burn more steadily. The detriment of this charcoal is that it contains a mix of different materials that give off a somewhat heavy smell and taste that can overpower your meats. These are instant light charcoals that contain materials that allow it to be lit very quickly; however it is debatable whether the materials included are harmful or not when grilling. This is one you must research a bit more before buying, because some people argue it alters the taste of the foods or fear the chemicals getting in their bodies.

Modern Features

Does this machine have a temperature range that cooks meats at an appropriate heat setting? It is a necessity to have a good thermometer to go along with your grill. We will explore further some of the more modern features of each product as we go along.

How We Picked and Tested

Over the past few years, to be exact, we have tested over 30 charcoal smokers and have found the that we think are the best on the market. None of the products on this list are perfect by any means; yet each of them is the best charcoal smoker in its own rights ensuring highest quality grilling at the least possible price.

We were concerned with finding out several different things about each of these grills. First, we wanted to know how well each machine performed, and further, how durable these grills would be when used for extended periods of time. Also, we wished to know how the charcoals, when burned in these grills, affected the flavors that would be present in the meats that were grilled.

We spent close to two months working on testing these products to be certain that they were high quality not just in grilling but also in longevity. This is key; these grills must not only be efficient but also affordable and longlasting at the same time.

I remember testing one particular smoker that gave off a strangely metallic flavor every time we cooked in it. We wondered why exactly this was happening, and it turned out that the smoke from the grill was mixing together with poorly chosen metals used to create the smoker, so that the meats tasted strangely metallic, instead of like the barbecue sauce we used.

This became an important facet of our work; to make sure that the grills we were using were not altering the taste we were hoping to create. There is nothing worse than doing a lot of work to grill meats only to have the taste be ruined by the machine you are using.


Some of the awesome features included with this product include a built-in thermometer, heavy duty cooking grates, and a water pan that keeps your food moist and tender. This machine helps keep the grilled meat supple, tasty and extremely flavorful.

Easy to transport

This simple little cast iron charcoal barbecue is great for family events such as this, and the camping site was cool with it because it is contained. We spent many a night sitting out under blankets with hot chocolates or something a little stronger.

You can customise the outdoor area

The oil drum BBQ is very popular. I have attended many a school fete, summer shows and other outdoor events and have noticed just how many people use this style of barbecue.

In Brief

The Stubb’s briquets burned the longest and produced the least amount of ash out of all the brands we tested, but compared with the Royal Oak charcoal, this brand is limited in availability.

Although our former pick for this guide was a clear test winner, it’s consistently hard for our readers to find, so now it’s our backup recommendation. Stubb’s 100% All-Natural Bar-B-Q Charcoal Briquets burned hotter and produced less ash than any other charcoal we tested. These briquets burned at over 900°F for the full 70 minutes they lasted—a longer burn time than we got from Kingsford Original Charcoal (but minutes less than the result from our Royal Oak pick). Its additive-free formula, made of 9percent hardwood charcoal and percent corn-starch binder, left us with only 1½ cups of ash, the lowest amount we measured. When we first researched charcoal, Stubb’s cost more than 90 cents a pound; recently, its price has declined, and Stubb’s is now about cents cheaper than Royal Oak, at about 6cents a pound (and currently 5cents a pound at Walmart). This is a great charcoal, and it’s a bargain at that price—if you can find it.

Pull Quote

For our tastes, none of the charcoals gave the food an acrid or otherwise bad flavor—but the ones with the highest searing heat gave the burgers the best flavor overall.

What we observed was that different charcoals gave off different radiations of heat despite having similar surface temperatures, and that certain charcoals imparted distinct flavors onto the burgers we cooked. For our tastes, none of the charcoals gave the food an acrid or otherwise bad flavor—but the ones with the highest searing heat gave the burgers the best flavor overall.


Budget is a major factor to consider when you intend to purchase any product. It is advisable to buy a lump charcoal whose cost is within your budget. Do not buy charcoal that is too cheap since that could be a compromise on its quality.

Budget is a major factor to consider when you intend to purchase any product. It is advisable to buy a lump charcoal whose cost is within your budget. Do not buy charcoal that is too cheap since that could be a compromise on its quality.

Cheap could turn out to be expensive in the long run. Also, keep in mind that the most expensive product may not be the best. Just make sure that the lump charcoal you buy has all the right features and strikes a perfect balance between price and quality.

Ease When Lighting

Lump charcoal that is easy to light is ideal since it will take only a short period of time before you start making your grilled barbeque. If you one that does not light up easily then you might face a lot of disappointments before you get cooking.

Burning Time

How long will the charcoal chunks burn? This is an important question you need to ask yourself. Charcoal chunks that burn for a longer period of time are ideal since with them, you can prepare meals that take longer to get ready, and you can also cook a variety of meals.

The Extent to Which it Burns

The extent to which lump charcoal burns is a crucial factor to consider. The hotter your lump charcoal burns, the more likely that your grilled barbeque will get ready fast and evenly.

An ideal lump charcoal is that one that does not produce a chemical smell while burning. This is because it will not contaminate your grilled meal with chemical effluents.

GRILL DOME CCL-20 Choice Lump Charcoal

The Grill Dome lump charcoal will give your grilled barbeque a crispy and bold flavor. It is free of any chemicals, tars and additives. This makes it a hundred percent pure and natural. You can reuse the charcoal chunks, and this makes them cost efficient.

The charcoal chunks light faster, burns cleaner and longer. It will also burn for a very long time to make sure that your food gets fully cooked. What’s more, the heat produced by this lump charcoal is very hot and will result in a faster cooking process.

If you are worried about dealing with smoke when cooking, say goodbye to your worries as this product produces less smoke. The only issue to be concerned about when using this product is the large and equally sized charcoal chunks that are unsuitable for small barbeque chimneys.

Jealous Devil Quebrancho Blanco Hardwood Lump Charcoal

For all the lovers of grilled barbeque, this is the ideal deal for you. Its burnt aroma, red and black packaging will assure you that the charcoal will get your work done. Their density is incredible to suit your grilling purposes.

This lump charcoal will give you the ultimate grilling experience since it burns for a long time. This will allow you to cook any meat you desire together with the smoldering extremely hot flames.

The charcoal chunks are rather small

This Fogo natural lump charcoal originates from the dense hardwood from Central America. The Fogo premium lump charcoal has the best features for making any kind of food you desire, from veggies to any type of meat. Lighting this lump charcoal is so simple and does not require the use of any lighter fluids.

With it, you can choose to slow cook your meals or to cook them fast especially if you need to prepare a quick meal for your guests or members of your household. Within a short period of time, the Fogo premium will produce an ideal amount of heat.

When cooking, the charcoal will not produce sparks which normally cause quite a scare to many people. It will leave your grilled food with an appealing smoky flavor that will be loved by almost everyone.

There have been complaints that it lasts for only a short period of time.

For those who have been looking for the best lump charcoal made of only purely natural hardwood, this is the perfect match for you. This Original Natural Lump charcoal has no chemicals, nitrates, fillers or any other petroleum products. The process of lighting this product is very quick and will be ready for grilling in just minutes.

What’s more, it burns hot and lasts longer than many other lump charcoal brands. It is very efficient to use this product as it produces less ash which results in minimizing wastes resulting in less clean up to be done. Every bag of original natural lump charcoal will give you value for your money.

This is one of the best lump charcoal that is made in a very eco-friendly manner. The wood used in making the charcoal is gathered from downed trees and pruned branches of existing trees. This makes sure that environmental conservation takes place by not cutting any existing trees.

Has almost 20% small and ultra-fine charcoal pieces which make it unusable in many charcoal cookers.

Wrapping Up

This summer, you will neither struggle nor take too much time trying to decide the best lump charcoal for your barbeque grilling purposes. Take your time and try out some of the lump charcoal types we have reviewed. With time, you will select the one that suits your purposes best.

All the products that we have reviewed will work great for you. There is no harm in trying out each of the lump charcoal that we just reviewed so that you single out one that will work great for you.This is because one man’s meat is another man’s poison so what is ideal for me may not be perfect for you.

However, if you were expecting us to make a recommendation, then we would recommend the Royal Oak Lump Charcoal.This is because this product meets almost all the qualities that an ideal best lump charcoal should possess. It is easy to light; the left charcoal chunks can be reused, it comes at a reasonable price; it produces minimal ash and burns for a longer time.

Have you ever used any of the products that we just discussed above? Do you have any other product in mind that you think deserves an opportunity to appear on our review? Please tell us about them or anything else regarding this review. We are really looking forward to getting your feedback.

Make Reasonable Income Selling Charcoal Briquettes

Making fuel briquettes is a tedious and messy work not suitable for everyone. If you are one of those people seeking high-paying dirty jobs, then, you may consider making charcoal briquettes to sell to your neighborhood. The demand for briquettes is there and there is money to be made. Once the charcoal briquettes have been made, they are cleaner and smokeless than the lump charcoal; – that is the reason many people like them. You will save a lot of your money by making fuel briquettes for use in your home and in addition you should be able to make a reasonable income by selling excess briquettes to other people in your city.

The messy part in making charcoal briquettes is in crushing and mixing charcoal dust as detailed in the article How to Make Fuel Briquettes – Charcoal Dust – Carbonization and Pyrolysis of Biomass.

Defining Briquettes

A briquette is a block of compressed coal dust, charcoal dust, sawdust, wood chips or biomass, and is used as a fuel in stoves and boilers. Charcoal is not like clay. Charcoal is a material without plasticity and can not be mold into shape without adding a binding material. To form charcoal dust into briquettes, an agglomerating material is added to the charcoal dust and then pressure is applied to the mixture to form a briquette.

Heat Fuel

This is what provides the energy. The higher the percentage of heat fuel materials, the better the briquette. Try to get about 90% of heat fuel material for good briquettes that will give you more fire. Get materials that will emit less ash – for example, very fine charcoal fines may have come from tree leaves and have a lot of dust and soil in them and will give more ashes. Larger fines are very good and you just need crush them to appropriate size. You can use wood charcoal, charcoal fines, mineral carbon, coal, biomass as heat fuel material.


Briquettes will need accelerants to burn faster unlike lump charcoal because there is a difference in the structure of briquettes from that of lump charcoal due to compaction. As a result, briquettes are not able to absorb sufficient oxygen for faster combustion. Nitrates are oxidants and when heated, they give out oxygen for accelerated combustion of briquettes.

White Ashes

White ash color is very appealing in briquettes. It’s like it stands for quality. When you lit your briquettes in a stove, you need to know when they are ready. This is done by observing that the burning briquettes have turned white. You can only see the white ashes if your briquettes contains sufficient calcium carbonate, lime or limestone. A -3% whiting, lime, limestone or calcium carbonate is sufficient. Whiting, lime, limestone or calcium carbonate have in the past been very cheap products but with the rising fuel prices, the cost of transporting the products have become high. It is because of this that in developing countries they may have to do with charcoal briquettes of whatever ash color. Whiting, lime, limestone or calcium carbonate are not heat fuels but they can lower the burning rate such that the briquettes burns for a longer period but at a reduced fire.

Briquette Binders

Charcoal is a material without plasticity and charcoal dust can not hold into shape without adding a binding material. The best bidder of all times has been proven to be starch. Any starch will do but preferably from cassava. Cassava starch is preferred because cassava tuber and chips are very cheap, the tubers are as good as starch due to high starch content, cassava is easily available to the low income societies, and that the societies still consider cassava as a poor man’s food only lying idle in farms waiting to be used just incase there is drought and food shortage. Corn starch (maize starch), wheat starch, maize flour, wheat flour and potatoes starch can also be used. These are foods and it can be difficult to make sense to a poor man that what he may consider as a delicacy should be used by him to make charcoal briquettes. In any case, the world does not want us to ‘destroy’ our foods in make charcoal briquettes, but then on the other hand, a packet of maize flour is of little value if you can not have fire to prepare the meal.

To use the starch as a bidder, you need to gelatinize the starch. Starch gelatinization is just breaking down the intermolecular bonds of starch molecules in hot water to form a thick paste that will stick the charcoal dust together. In simpler language: just use your starch or flour to make porridge and then use the sticky porridge to stick the charcoal dust or fines together.

A bidder has to be used – there is no shortcut unless you wish to use lignin from biomass material by pressing your briquette material using a high pressure briquette pressing machine.

Starch can be expensive. It can cost a dollar per kilogram. You will need about – 7% starch to make briquettes. A 4kilogram bag of charcoal fines will need – kilograms of starch which will cost you to dollars. to dollars is a lot of money when you reflect on the fact that a 4kilograms bag of charcoal in developing countries costs about dollars.

Mashed newsprint/waste paper pulp is also a good binder. Other bidders such molasses, cement, clay and tar can be used but the resulting briquettes are not the best.


Fillers are substances added to briquettes which add no energy value. Fillers’ value is just to increase the weight, density or volume of the briquettes so that the users/buyers may think they are getting a good value for their money. It is a form of adulteration and only adds ash content. If you feel that lump charcoal is a big challenge in terms of price to your charcoal briquettes, just add some filler to your charcoal briquettes and then lower your prices. Fillers must be cheaper than the charcoal fines/dust you are using. Unfortunately there are very few materials that are cheaper than charcoal or charcoal fines. Cement can be used as filler but it is now expensive than charcoal, clay is cheap but if there is huge transport cost involved to transport it to the site where you are manufacturing your briquettes, then you can rule it out. Sandy soil can be ideal as filler since it’s very common in most places. It is said fillers can prolong the burning period of briquettes but then briquettes with too much filler will be of poor quality.

The best recipe for making charcoal briquettes is the one that work for you. Test different recipes again and again, and when you get the one that work for you, don’t let it go.

Example No 2

A two liters can of lump charcoal produces 1grams of ashes and the same can of charcoal briquettes produces 37.grams of ashes and we say the ash content is the same. Why? This is because charcoal briquettes are more compact and has a higher density. The average density of lump charcoal is about 0.g/cm³ whilst the average density of quality briquettes is about g/cm³.

Big Green Egg

I’m a huge fan of my Big Green Egg. I have been a casual griller for a long time, mostly on a gas grill. At some point I decided I wanted to look at a grill that had more capabilities and that is when I found the Big Green Egg. After I got the Egg, set it up and used it, I put my previous gas and kettle grills on Craigslist and they were gone in a couple of days. I think I can count about ten people who have Eggs now in part on my recommendation. A number of friends that decide to get a Big Green Egg have asked me for advice on what accessories to get, or which Egg to get.

Before we start on what to buy, let’s address where to buy. Big Green Eggs are always the same price so you won’t find a better price at one place or another. You may find some stores that will throw in a class or something, but not a discount. I bought my Egg, and recommend others in Minneapolis to check out Kitchen Window. I also buy a lot of supplies at Settergren Ace Hardware which is really close to my house.

Large Big Green Egg

I strongly recommend that people get the large Big Green Egg. I started with a large and have added a small Egg to my setup as well. I’ve never owned a medium or x-large but have talked with people who have them. The medium seems an odd choice to me, sort of “no man’s land” between small and large. The x-large is really big and with that you need to factor in longer time to come up to temperature and more charcoal required.

The large will accommodate nearly everything you do on the egg. You can do a half-dozen or more full racks of ribs. Whole fresh hams fit fine. All but the most giant of turkeys will be fine. If you get a whole packer brisket you will likely need to cut it to fit it on the large, but you would on the x-large as well.

I also have a small so that I can have two temperatures going. Mainly if I want to do a tenderloin and corn on the cob, I can do both at the same time. Or if I’m smoking a brisket for 20 hours and need to prep some burgers for the kids I can use the small one. It’s very handy, but is certainly a luxury.

Ash Tool

The design of the Egg leaves the ash in the bottom of the grill. The vent is there to control air flow and heat during cooking, as well as to reach the ash that has collected there. This is where the ash tool is used.

I don’t think there is anything that you could use besides the ash tool to clean it out. It seems like a required accessory.

Paraffin Fire Starters

I’m a big fan of the paraffin fire starters for the Egg. Feel free to start with the Big Green Egg brand, but I would quickly switch due to price. I get these in boxes by the hundreds at my local hardware store and I swear it is the same product inside.

Over time I’ve learned that I use one block to start a fire “slow” and two to get going faster. So if I’m smoking something and want a low temperature I use one block. If I’m doing steaks and want something closer to 500 degrees I light two separate blocks and start the fire in two spots. This is a handy shortcut.

Big Green Egg Charcoal

You’re buying a charcoal grill, you need some charcoal. If you previously used charcoal briquettes throw those away. Use only natural lump charcoal in your Egg.

I tend to think of charcoal like film photographers used to think of film. I don’t experiment a lot. I’ve learned a couple of charcoals and I stick with them. I know how they work, how they flavor the food, how they burn. If I’m using new charcoal I’m always a bit on edge about how it will behave.

I only use Big Green Egg charcoal. It is composed of oak and hickory, has a good flavor and consistency and burns consistently. I do use Wicked Good charcoal at times when I want less of a smokey flavor. Oak and hickory are powerful, and if I want to bring more subtle flavors I use the Wicked Good as it is a more mild flavor.

An important note, if you are adding wood chunks to your charcoal to add smoke you must consider that in conjunction with your charcoal. Using a mild, sweet smoking wood with the oak and hickory in the Big Green Egg charcoal is a waste. The flavors will be completely overloaded by the charcoal.

If you decide to play with other charcoal, make sure to consult the charcoal database.

Serious Hand Protection

Working with the Egg you are going to need some very serious hand protection. I have two options that I use. I have a pair of very thick welding gloves. These work well for handling heavy and very hot pieces of ceramic, such as removing the plate setter from the grill when it is hot. However, if they get at all moist I’m in for big trouble. The heat will flash through in no time.

For more cooking uses, I have a pair of liquid resistant Kitchen Grips mitts that are rated to 500 degrees. These work great and protect my hands even when there is some moistness to the surface.

I like having both because the mitts don’t have fingers so I can’t do anything complicated with them. The gloves are fingered, and work well for lifting or setting things in place. I would recommend a similar combo.

Cast Iron Grid

It took me a while to get a cast iron grid for my Egg. I just used the porcelain one for everything. Mostly that is fine, but the cast iron grid is really needed if you want to get good char marks (and the flavor!) on steaks or even vegetables.

The cast iron grid holds a good amount of heat. I can tell just from the sound when you put a steak on the cast iron grid that you are getting that true steakhouse look and taste.

The cast iron grid is also very useful for veggies. The spaces between the grid are smaller and easier to cook on. Grilled romaine actually grills on a cast iron grid, on the porcelain you get more of a high temp cooked effect.

Thermapen Instant Read Digital Thermometer

I’ve written before about the miracles of the Thermapen. The speed that the instant read works at allows for amazing uses. For example, when smoking a brisket you can put the probe in and pull it out slowly over several seconds seeing the temperature at each location from the center to outer region of the brisket.

Grill Gripper

The grill gripper is more needed than you may think. I use it every time I grill. It is what I use to lift the porcelain grid out of the grill and get the fire started.

You will also find this useful if you are pulling a deep dish pizza pan, or cake pan off of the grill.

Unfortunately, you cannot grip the cast iron grid with this. The gripper doesn’t open wide enough.

Pizza Stone

You may have a pizza stone already, but be careful. The Egg can get really hot, hotter than a lot of grills. I have read temperatures that exceed my infrared thermometer and just show +99on the surface. When I do pizza I have a full firebox, and the top and bottom air vents are wide open. It’s very hot.

A lot of stones will crack in these temperatures. I’m not sure why, but it is a common problem that people mention on the EGGhead forums. I have a Big Green Egg stone and it is fine. It is also thick and heavy.

If your stone doesn’t indicate a rating, or is less than 3/inch thick I would not put it in your egg.

Ash pan

The ash pan isn’t required but you will miss not having it. You use this with the ash tool to collect the ash out of the Egg. You could use anything else to catch it, but the key is that the Egg is round so there is a curve. The winning feature of the ash pan is that it is the same curvature as your Egg, and has a little lip that sits into the vent mechanism to make a tight seal.

It is worth noting that even with the ash pan you should plan that there will be some ash spill when you clean out the Egg. Like many Egg owners I place a 18” square paving stone underneath mine so that the ash falls on that instead of any wood.

Grill Extender

I have one of these riser racks and it is handy for times when you are doing a lot of food. If I do a full brisket I will often cut off the point and put it on the riser rack. It also is handy if you are doing a lot of corn and want to get another or so ears on the grill.

Beware that it isn’t very heavy-duty so I wouldn’t put a dutch oven on it. It’s fine to hold most any food, but beware of weight limits.

Cast iron Griddle

I have one of these for two reasons. I like to have it to sear meat or do a burger in a fried (versus grilled) style. I also like it for cooking vegetables on, or if you are doing up some potatoes to go with your meal. If you’re doing breakfast on the Egg this is a great way to do some hash browns while your sausage cooks on the other side.

Electric Charcoal Starter

I’m biased against the electric starters for a lot of reasons. I will say that a couple of friends of mine got them and they like it. I also know that my favorite Egg seller, Kitchen Window, regularly recommends these to customers. I don’t have one and won’t be buying one.

The first reason I don’t recommend these is really out of principle. You are working with an Egg and charcoal. I just don’t like the idea of introducing electricity to the setup. It seems, well, wrong for some reason.

The better reason I don’t recommend them is that I feel it limits your ability to start the fire with a specific intent. I mentioned above when talking about the starter blocks that I use one or two depending on the type of fire I’m building. I also will top or bottom-start the fire, again depending on intent. I don’t see how you can start different kinds of fire with the electric starter.

To elaborate, if I’m looking for a 220 degree Egg temperature for a brisket I top start the fire with a single starter. It’s slow and gradual, I can keep it in line and it will burn for 2hours. If I want to do pizzas at full blast, I’ll top and bottom start to get a ton of fire going quickly.

Chimney Starter

If you are looking at one of these your probably coming from a kettle grill. You don’t need these at all on an Egg. The lump charcoal starts easily, and the firebox of the egg is its own containment area. If you are used to using one of these on your existing grill, please don’t try to use it on your Egg.

Drip pan

I will admit that I was foolish enough to buy a drip pan. One of the great things about the Egg is that you really don’t clean it. If it’s dirty, just start the fire. At 800 degrees it will be clean. 🙂 Don’t worry about dripping from meat getting on anything, just let it burn down.

You may think you want a drip pan to catch drippings. That is what I got one for. I just haven’t ever seen that work. The pan boiled empty and was destroyed with black residue.

If you wanted to introduce a mop sauce into the cooking chamber, you may want a drip pan for that. But in that case just get a cheap aluminum pan or old cake pan and keep an inch of liquid in it.

In Practice

Well, as there is a tradeoff between temperature and how long the charcoal burns, the first thing you need to think about is what you will be cooking and how long you will be cooking it.

For example, will you be cooking burgers and sausages over an open grill? If so you want something that will cook them quickly but not something that will continue to give out heat long after you’ve finished cooking. This could come from smaller pieces of charcoal. They won’t burn too long, but they also won’t burn too hot for sausages that can be quite vulnerable to burning. Also, if the pieces of lump wood are small, they will not be too high or too close to the food rack.

Flavor from the Fire II – smoker boxes, lava rocks and charcoal for comparisons of different brands of charcoal.) One observation we should make about this hot but fast burning charcoal is that it produces very little smoke (remember that smoke is the result of less oxygen and a slower burn rate). So, if you want smoke with this type of charcoal, you need to throw on a few wood chips.

But if, instead, you are cooking something for longer on the barbecue, or for a very long time in the smoker, you will want large and dense “restaurant grade” charcoal. This is available from several suppliers and reviewed on this site (see above). The reason that restaurants use this kind of charcoal is because they are cooking all day and they need to keep it up without having to top it up or start again and relight the grill.

You may have noticed that we haven’t mentioned briquettes. That’s because we at mybbq.life don’t really like them. But we’re open to persuasion.

Also remember that you can also use wood chips and wood chunks for flavoring. Again, remember, the principles are the same as for charcoal, more or less. For a medium or long cooking or smoking session, use wood chunks. For a short session, especially using an open grill, use wood chips.





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Final Word

First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.

Most important, have fun and choose your lump charcoal wisely! Good luck!

So, TOP3 of lump charcoal



Questions? Leave a comment below!

Chatting about lump charcoal is my passion! Leave me a question in the comments, I answer each and every one and would love to get to know you better!

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