How Many Charcoal Briquettes to Use for BBQ

Are you planning for outdoor grilling? If yes, nothing can beat your charcoal grill’s smoky taste. Do you think a charcoal grill and a bag loaded with coals are enough for your outdoor BBQ adventure

Not at all, because after you open the bag, the first thing that comes to mind is how much charcoal to use in a grill.

how much charcoal to use in grill

Figuring out the amount of coal you need for your charcoal grill is an initial step toward becoming a grilling master. Knowing it can save you money, charcoal, and precious time.

How Much Charcoal To Use In Grill?

The charcoal you will need depends on the size of your grill, the time you want to cook, and how hot you want the grill to get.

  • If you cook for one person or use a small grill, then about ¼ cup of charcoal is all you will need.
  • If you are cooking for a couple, then about ¾ cup of charcoal will be sufficient.

Following grilling methods determines how much charcoal you need for your grill: 

Low and Slow: Around 225 to 230° Fahrenheit

If you are cooking with low heat for a long period (think low and slow), using as little charcoal as possible is ideal.

It will help keep your food from burning too quickly and will also result in less blackening on your food. Using briquettes instead of lump charcoal is the best way to achieve this.

Smaller pieces of charcoal are called briquettes, and they burn at a lower temperature as compared to lump charcoal. They will take longer to reach full heat before they burn out completely.


If you want to cook something on low or slow for an extended time, like 12 hours or more, then use briquettes instead of lump charcoal because they will last longer than regular lumps.

High and Fast: Around 325° Fahrenheit

If you want something cooked quickly, you should use high heat. Grilling at a higher temperature will cook your food faster. You can also get a lot of smoke from high-heat grilling, adding flavor to your food. If you are cooking for a crowd, it is a great way to ensure that everyone gets their food at their preferred temperature.

The high and fast grilling method is not as safe as slow and low or as safe as indirect cooking methods. It requires more charcoal than other methods because it requires more heat to get a good sear on the meat, but it is also faster than other methods. High heat can cause flare-ups, leading to serious injuries while handling hot coals.


Medium Heat: Around 275° Fahrenheit

A combination is a way to go if you want something cooked in the middle. You will grill over medium-high heat for a shorter period, followed by cooking over low heat for longer. It allows the inside of your food to cook faster than the outside, which results in more evenly cooked food. 

Most importantly, it does not require as much charcoal as the high, fast grilling method. To create this effect, set your grill to high heat and then turn it down to low heat once your food has been placed on it. It will let the food cook at a lower temperature, resulting in a better taste and texture.

How Much Charcoal To Use For Steak?

It depends on several factors, including the type of steak being cooked and how you are going to do that. If you are cooking a piece of beef or pork loin, then the amount of charcoal needed can be determined by the thickness of the meat. For example, if you are cooking a 4-ounce steak, you will need 4 ounces of charcoal. 


The thickness of a chicken breast does not change when grilling or broiling it, so you do not have to worry about how much charcoal to use. Depending on whether the chicken is grilled or roasted (like wings or drumsticks), the thickness will differ. As an example, chicken breasts have more fat than thighs, so they will require more charcoal per pound.

How Much Charcoal To Use In A Weber grill?

It depends on what you cook. If you grill burgers, you only need 10 to 12 briquettes. To cook something that takes time, like beef brisket, you need 50 to 60 briquettes.

Ensure that you do not ignite them altogether. Split the coal into two portions and use them halfway.


Does The Charcoal Type Affect How Much You Use It In Grilling?

The type of charcoal you use can affect how much you use. When you are buying charcoal, you will notice that there are two types: briquettes and lumps.


Compression of sawdust yields briquettes, and parts or all of the wood yield lumps. The briquettes tend to burn slower than the lumps, but both are good for grilling.

You will get steady smoke with briquettes, so you do not require more fuel to keep a fire burning slow and long enough to cook your food.



lump charcoal

Lump charcoal looks like small pieces of wood, and it burns at a faster rate than briquettes because it has no sawdust added to it.

You will find yourself using more fuel with a piece of a lump than with a piece of briquette because it gives high heat.

Therefore, it takes less time to ignite the fire and reach a temperature where food can be cooked over it.

Note: If you use briquettes, remember that you will have to arrange them in more quantity than lumps as it burns faster but gives more heat for quick cooking.

Final Words

Yes, you got it right. The amount of charcoal depends on the size and type of your grill. Therefore, before starting your grilling experience, make sure you know how much charcoal to use in a grill. In this way, you will not have to burn more than necessary just because you were not mindful enough while making your purchase.

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