Holds a Master’s degree in Linguistics, loves traveling and learning new languages. Fluent in Spanish, is learning French and Czech at the moment. Enjoys exploring national cuisines every time he visits new countries.
Claims that grilling is the art that he has been learning all his life long and is not planning to stop. Has been grilling for as long as he can remember. Author of numerous online and offline grilling masterclasses runs his own BBQ accessories shop.
Last updated: September 11, 2021
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Ready for the BBQ season? You’ve got your BBQ, your meat, and your tools. What more could you need? For the best grilling experience, you’ll also need a fuel source, preferably the best lump charcoal possible. Now, you could go with a budget, briquette option, which might satisfy regular people, but for the best experience, you’ll want to try a premium product. Lump charcoal might cost a bit more, but bite into a piece of meat cooked over it, and you’ll quickly realize how amazing the flavor can be.
To find the best lump charcoal package, you’ll want to be aware of all the possible features. The type of wood is one of the most important as this will significantly impact the flavor you can expect. How large the package is will help determine the value, and just where the charcoal comes from should also be considered. There’s a lot to understand with this product, but luckily, we are here to help.
We have selected six of the best products available on the market. In this article, you can find a handy comparison chart followed by more in-depth reviews of each product. You can also find a buying guide that gives you all the information you need about lump charcoal and answers any remaining questions you might have. We’ve put in a lot of effort, researching manufacturer information, compiling online reviews, and observing the products firsthand so that you can sit back and have all the information in front of you. So let this grilling season be the best yet and find the lump charcoal that will create the feast you’ve always dreamed of.
The Jealous Devil All Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal has an eye-catching bag design as well as a quite memorable name, and it does produce deliciously grilled food. Made from 100% natural hardwood, you can expect no fillers or chemicals. The woods used produce a mild smoky flavor that enhances rather than overwhelms the food you are grilling.
A really nice feature of the Jealous Devil All Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal is that it comes in a waterproof and resealable bag. If you plan on transporting this charcoal on a camping trip, then the bag will really help you out. It also has a durable handle, perfect as the bag weighs 20 pounds.
The proof of the quality of this lump charcoal can be found when you start grilling. It won’t produce any sparks or popping, and there will be very little ash. You can use the Jealous Devil All Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal for any type of grill, whether it is a kamado or a smoker.
The only downside to this product is that it doesn’t specify the exact type of wood used. This isn’t a big issue, though, as most customers have reported that it gives off a mild smoky flavor that works well with all types of grilling.
One of the best lump charcoal bags for kamado grillers is the Fogo Super Premium Hardwood Lump Charcoal. Made from all natural oak from El Salvador, this premium bag will get the job done just right. The quality in the bag is due to the selection process. All of the charcoal is hand-selected. You won’t get giant chunks or a bag full of ash with this purchase. Instead, you will get a nice mix of medium-sized lump charcoal perfect for your grilling needs.
The brand name, Fogo, is the Portuguese name for fire. It’s no wonder that fire is at the heart of this product. According to the manufacturer, it takes very little time to light the charcoal, and only 15 minutes until you can start grilling. If you plan on making a quickly grilled dinner in the middle of the week, it’s nice reassurance that you can get your meal started quickly. For flavor, expect a smoky texture, a bit more profound than other similar products.
Overall customers are very enthusiastic about Fogo Super Premium Hardwood Lump Charcoal. It is a true contender for the best lump charcoal for grilling, and the only downside is that its quality does come at a premium price.
When it comes to lump charcoal, the more natural, the better. You’ve chosen lump charcoal for a reason, and you don’t want any unnecessary fillers or chemicals. Kamado Joe KJ-Char Big Block XL Lump Charcoal is made from 100% natural materials, including Guayacan, Guayaibi, Mistal, and White Quebracho woods. This unique combination produces both a sweet and smoky flavor with your grilling. If you need a break from the overwhelmingly smoky flavor of pure oak or hickory, the addition of the fruit trees will break this up.
The 100% natural lump charcoal from Kamado Joe KJ-Char Big Block XL Lump Charcoal means that there will be no sparks or smoke while grilling. Hanging around a grill in a summer tradition and this product will help with the overall atmosphere.
For burning times, expect a nice, long burn. This is ideal for smoking meats or cooking larger cuts. The price is a bit higher than other products, but the quality means that you can cook longer with it, which will mean having to replace a bag less often.
Keep in mind that this is a 20-pound bag. You may need to buy multiple bags, just so you don’t run out of fuel before perfecting your latest grilling masterpiece.
When it comes to grilling, the Big Green Egg (BGE) is a remarkable symbol. If you see a large green egg in someone’s backyard, it’s time to start sniffing around for your invite. The best lump charcoal for a BGE is, no surprise, the Big Green Egg Oak and Hickory Lump Charcoal.
Sourced by the same people that created the ultimate griller, this lump charcoal is a perfect blend of oak and hickory, made from wood all found in the USA. It’s always nice to support a local company.
When you purchase this product, you can be assured that it is 100% natural. There are absolutely no fillers or additives. This is perfect to create the ultimate grilling experience. The wood used doesn’t produce sparks and leaves relatively little ash. There is a nice mix of different sized pieces of charcoal, just be sure to arrange them properly, with larger chunks at the bottom, to allow proper air flow.
If this sounds too good to be true, it isn’t. But you will have to pay a premium price to use this great product. At nearly double the price of other bags on our list, you will have to think carefully if you can afford the Big Green Egg Oak and Hickory Lump Charcoal. However, seasoned grillers will know that the journey to the perfect meal starts from the basics like high-quality charcoal as is in this package.
With a name like Wicked Good, you can’t help but expect something special from this best lump charcoal brand. The Wicked Good Charcoal Lump Bag is made from premium hardwood that has been sourced from South America. It produces a nice, crisp smoky flavor that is perfect for most of your grilling needs.
The charcoal helps to create an even cooking experience so that you don’t have to spend every minute glued to the grill. As a bonus, there is no strong smell produced while grilling so you can gather round and enjoy every aspect of the experience.
The charcoal lump is all natural, but it does not have as amazing of a selection process as other brands. As a result, some packages come with either too many large-sized pieces or too much dust.
To offset this disparity, the price is affordable, which is why so many customers keep coming back to it. If you’re new to grilling and not sure what, to begin with, Wicked Good Charcoal Lump Bag is a good choice. It is affordable, creates a delicious flavor, and allows you to experiment with different sizes of charcoal.
If you are new to the world of lump charcoal, you might want to start out slow and the Cowboy 24220 Lump Charcoal is the best way to do so. While this isn’t the most amazing lump charcoal on the market, it is very affordable and perfect if you’re a newbie in the world of grilling.
The Cowboy 24220 Lump Charcoal is still a reliable product to use. It is made from 100% natural hardwood, and there is very little ash produced when burning. You can expect a light, smoky taste to your food.
The biggest drawback with the Cowboy 24220 Lump Charcoal is that the product used to have either very large chunks or very fine powder and not enough in between. Based on recent user comments, thankfully, this issue has been rectified. So, you can expect more decent medium-sized pieces of charcoal, while still remaining at an affordable price.
One other issue with this product is that there is really not a lot of information with regards to its wood source. It is marketed as hardwood, so you can expect some form of oak or hickory, but not even the country of origin is stated. This isn’t a major issue, except for those grillers who want a complete history of their food.
What makes it stand out?
Lights quickly and easily
Nice, subtle taste with food
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
History of too-large sized pieces
Things to Consider
Before you purchase your next bag of lump charcoal, let’s arm you with all the information you will need. There’s no sense in buying a bag that won’t work for your needs, so once you understand the finer details of lump charcoal, the easier your purchase decision will be.
Advantages of lump charcoal over briquettes
Lump charcoal is more of a premium product than briquettes, but what makes them stand out, apart from their price tag? Lump charcoal is made from pure wood, cooked in the absence of oxygen. Briquettes, on the other hand, could be made from multiple sources, including sawdust, wood chips, or peat.
Lump charcoal will heat to a much higher temperature than briquettes. While this is a nice advantage, you will need to pay close attention to the grill to minimize the risk of burnt food. There is a lot more precision cooking when it comes to lump charcoal, but if you can master it, your grilling experience will forever be delicious.
Features to consider while choosing lump charcoal
Lump charcoal is fantastic to use in grilling. It is a natural choice and the flavors involved are subtle enough to enhance any food. To better understand the way to grill with charcoal it’s important to know what the different features are of this product. For the varieties available to its origin, here are the features to consider with lump charcoal.
Type of wood used
Different woods will produce both different tastes and aromas. Woods for lump charcoal are generally classified as either light or heavy.
Lighter woods include maple trees and fruit trees and will produce a sweeter flavor. If you plan on grilling fish or chicken, this type of lump charcoal will pair well. Heavier woods include hickory, oak, and mesquite. They will produce a stronger, smokier flavor and work well with red meat.
One final consideration when choosing the type of wood used in your lump charcoal is that the burning temperature will differ. Cherry wood burns at 1100 F while maple burns at 1200 F. To attain the temperature needed for a proper cook, you may have to adjust the venting system in your BBQ. Lump charcoal is a great option for grilling but can take a few tries to figure out all its nuances.
The package size of your lump charcoal is essential to note because when it is combined with the total price, it can determine if your purchase is a bargain or not. All lump charcoal is packaged differently. The average weight seems to be 20 pounds but can range between 17 and 22 pounds per bag. It is therefore vital to not just compare products by total price but to try to break it down to dollar/pound.
Country of origin
There are so many different varieties of wood from around the world. And true charcoal connoisseurs will understand the importance of finding the right location. Even different species of trees will have different textures and grilling tastes, depending on where they were grown.
You can find lump charcoal from as diverse countries as the USA, Paraguay, and even Ukraine. There’s no right country of origin to choose from. Instead, you can add to the story of your grilling feature and impart a bit of trivia to your guests.
In addition to the features previously discussed, you may notice a few more unfamiliar phrases. If you plan on storing your lump charcoal outside, then a waterproof package like of the Jealous Devil All Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal is a great asset.
The term ‘spark-free’ may appear on the package. This term is less about glitter and more about possible sparks flying from your grill. Spark-free charcoal ensures that you will have a safe grilling experience.
One final feature to look for is if the charcoal is all-natural. While lump charcoal is by definition made from wood, you still want to be careful about any added materials. When it comes to your food, the more natural, the better.
How to grill with lump charcoal
Lump charcoal is a fuel source, but it still needs a starter to combust. Begin by laying out your lump charcoal in your BBQ. If you have different size pieces, arrange the large pieces at the bottom and then scatter the medium and small size pieces on top. You will want an even layer for even heat.
Light a long match for safety reasons and hold to the charcoal. It might take a few seconds, but eventually, the charcoal will catch on, and the fire will spread to the other pieces. Wait a few minutes until the charcoal is fully lit and then add your food to the grill.
If you are new to the lump charcoal grilling experience, it’s important to be aware that lump charcoal burns a lot hotter than other fuel sources. It’s a good idea to push the lit charcoal to one side of the grill. This way you can sear your meat over the charcoal and then move the meat to the other side of the grill to fully cook it. For more delicate foods like vegetables, pay close attention and if possible, use a grilling basket to better protect from open flames. You will not want to leave anything you grill for long periods of time.
Yes, you technically can add flavored briquettes to lump charcoal, but you’ll want to think hard before doing so. Lump charcoal is a premium product for a reason. It is all natural, made from hardwood, and has its own distinct flavor. Briquettes are made from natural sources, but from items like sawdust, wood chips, or peat. Combining the two may disrupt the natural vibes you have with your grilling. Keep in mind that all lump charcoal will have different tastes. So, if you want to flavor your meat with a smokier taste, then go for a hardwood like hickory or oak. If you want a sweeter taste, go with a fruit tree like cherry or apricot. Sometimes a subtle flavor enhancement is all you need.
There is a science to lump charcoal, and most aspects need to be considered. When it comes to size, you will want to have a selection of small, medium, and large pieces. Larger pieces will hold a temperature longer and maintain your cooking atmosphere. Medium size pieces will help bring the temperature up, and smaller pieces will give a nicely needed spike in temperature as they burn. If you’re not too sure how to handle different sizes, then go with medium-sized charcoal pieces for an easier grilling experience.
Unfortunately, this is not an easy question to answer as it all depends on what you are grilling and for how long. A long burn at a low temperature for smoking can actually use the same amount of charcoal as a fast, high-temperature hamburger grilling session. If you grill two to three times per week, expect to go through at least one bag of lump charcoal per month. It’s always best to have extra bags on hand as you never want to run out mid grilling, or not be able to head out to the grill whenever you feel the itch.
Hopefully, the search for the best lump charcoal has ended. Our Editor’s Choice is the Jealous Devil All Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal. The name really says it all. Made from all natural lump charcoal that produces a deliciously smoky taste, even the Devil will be jealous of your grilling.
Yet another premium selection on our list is the Fogo Super Premium Hardwood Lump Charcoal. Deriving its name from the Portuguese word for fire, this quick acting lump charcoal is perfect for mid-week grilling adventures.
Finally, you can’t go wrong with the Kamado Joe KJ-Char Big Block XL Lump Charcoal, our pick for Best Natural Lump Charcoal. With a blend of Guayacan, Guayaibi, Mistal, and White Quebracho woods, you can expect a sweet and smoky flavor.
With all these best lump charcoal products to choose from, we hope your grilling is as delicious as it smells.