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The Best Charcoal for Your Next Barbecue

three different pictures of charcoal used for grills
Kamado Joe/Royal Oak/Fogo

Throwing a barbecue is a fun way to feed your family and friends during the warm seasons. The foods and techniques associated with barbecuing can vary significantly, but it mostly involves outdoor cooking with meat or vegetables being grilled over flames or hot coals. Many people like to barbecue with charcoal because it burns hotter than wood and produces less smoke. There are numerous types of charcoal to consider before your next barbecue, so here are some amazing options for you.

Searching for the Right Charcoal

Here are some things to look for:

  • Type: There are a few different types of charcoal. The most common type people use is dense briquettes that burn long. Genuine natural charcoal lumps are also ideal because they too burn hotter and longer, and they impart a terrific smell and taste to your food.
  • Burn Time: If you are constantly behind the grill, then you want reusable charcoal that can burn for a long time. But if you’re an occasional griller, it’s really not a problem if your charcoal doesn’t burn as long.

So, let’s feel the burn and take a closer look at the best charcoal for grilling!

Best Overall: Kamado Joe Big Block XL Lump Charcoal

A man holding a bag of charcoal near his grill.
Kamado Joe

One of the best bags of charcoal you can buy right now is the 20-pound Kamado Joe Big Block. These extra-large lumps are 100% natural and can burn up to 18 hours. They are also advertised to be reusable for up to three times, so you can save a lot in the long term if you’re constantly grilling. The natural blend includes Guayacan, Guayaibi, Mistal, and White Quebracho. Kamado Joe is also available in a 30-pound bag and with different pattern options that include fire starters and wood smoker chunks.

Best Briquettes: Royal Oak Charcoal Briquettes

Small pieces of charcoal burning.
Royal Oak

Royal Oak provides one of the best briquettes around as they are made from premium American Oak and Hickory Hardwood with no additional ingredients. The 20-pound bag is designed for professionals who can use this product to grill or smoke their food. It’s great for both high- and low-temperature cooking and produces very little ash compared to other charcoal. Royal Oak is also super versatile because it’s designed for use in traditional smokers and ceramic and non-ceramic grills.

Best Briquettes

Royal Oak Charcoal Briquettes

If you're hosting a summer barbecue, these quality briquettes will help your food taste much better.

Best Lumps: Fogo Super Premium Lump Charcoal

Large charcoal lumps next to its packaging.

Another top-quality lump charcoal is from the folks at Fogo. This all-natural oak hardwood lump charcoal is perfect for smoking sessions and reverse-seared steaks. The large 4-inch pieces provide more surface area and ensure a long and slow burn and better airflow for temperature control. This charcoal lights fast and burns long, so if you’re looking for all-natural, long-lasting charcoal that will enhance the flavor of your food with a blend of tropical hardwoods, we recommend Fogo.

Best Lumps

Fogo Super Premium Lump Charcoal

This lump charcoal lights up fast and offers a delicious oaky hardwood flavor.

Best Value Pack: Kingsford Original Charcoal Briquettes

Two bags of Kingsford original charcoal.

There’s a reason why even non-grillers have heard of the company Kingsford. This dependable company has been producing quality briquettes for years, and in this value pack, you get two for the price of one. It burns faster than most brands, and the sure-fire grooves help the coals light faster and make your food taste delicious.

Best Value Pack

Kingsford Original Charcoal Briquettes

This popular brand offers some fantastic briquettes that will cook in about 15 minutes.

Also Consider: Royal Oak Lump Charcoal

A red bag of Royal Oak charcoal.
Royal Oak

This all-natural lump charcoal can be used for all grills and smokers, including Kamado and ceramic grills. It’s made from renewable oak, hickory, maple, and walnut, so it imparts a sweet, smoky flavor that you will surely enjoy. The chunks are also assorted by size. This can be a good thing for most natural grillers with easy-to-light pieces that will burn for a long time.

Also Consider

Royal Oak Lump Charcoal

With an all-natural lump shape, this charcoal is great for all grills and smokers.

Omid Khanzadeh Omid Khanzadeh
Omid is a freelance writer for LifeSavvy. He studied psychology and creative writing at Virginia Commonwealth University, and his work has been featured in publications such as Allied Forces Press and various STEM textbooks. He enjoys playing soccer and watching old kung-fu movies. Read Full Bio »
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