Lump Charcoal Vs Briquettes

There is something special about cooking, especially barbecuing, that people love sharing their viewpoints. The hottest topic is whether to use lump charcoal or briquette for BBQ. Everybody has their thoughts on it according to different perspectives.

If you are new to grilling or barbecuing them, choosing between lump charcoal or briquettes can be a mess. Both fuels have the edge over each other from a particular angle.


What Is Lump Charcoal?

Lump charcoal is a type of charcoal made from heat-treated wood chips used in traditional charcoal briquettes. Lump charcoal is perfect for smokers and grills because it has a high fuel density and burns at a temperature higher than regular briquettes.

So, it is ideal for cooking and smoking meats, fish, and vegetables.

Types Of Lump Charcoal

Common varieties of lump charcoal are the following:

Hardwood Charcoal

Hardwood charcoal is made from the wood of oak, hickory, maple, or other hardwoods. It is available in both natural and artificial varieties. Hardwood charcoal burns hotter than lump charcoal but also produces more smoke than lump charcoal because of the higher heat.


Richland Charcoal

Richland charcoal is made from a mixture of hardwoods and softwoods. The most common varieties include hickory, mesquite, and pecan. Richland charcoals burn hotter than other types of lump charcoals, but they produce less smoke than most other types.


Sweetgrass Charcoal

Sweetgrass charcoal is made from sweetgum or oak wood. It burns hotter than most other types of lump charcoal. Many professional chefs use sweet grass charcoal for cooking at high temperatures with little smoke production.


Lump charcoal is popular for home grills because it burns hotter and cleaner than briquettes or lump hardwood charcoal. It does not burn as fast, making it an ideal fuel for smoking meats, especially fatty cuts like brisket, ribs, or whole chickens.

Lump charcoal has better heat retention than briquettes or briquettes with added filler material like coconut shells. As a result, it is easier to maintain a steady temperature when smoking foods at low temperatures (275°F) or slow roasting foods at higher temperatures (450°F).

How To Use Lump Charcoal?

The following steps will help you use lump charcoal for cooking: 

  • The easiest way to start a fire with lump charcoal is by using newspaper as kindling. 
  • Place several sheets of paper on top of each other and press them together tightly, so they stick together. 
  • Then place the entire stack in a pile on top of your campfire ring or bucket ring for easy access when needed. 
  • When ready to use the charcoal, just push it out onto your fire pit or grate.

How Long Does Lump Charcoal Burn?

The average burning time of lump charcoal is about two hours per pound. For example, if you have 1 lb of lump charcoal that you want to use for cooking, you can expect to get about 2-3 hours of cooking time before the fire needs to be re-lit.

What Are Charcoal Briquettes?

Charcoal briquettes are the most popular fuel for grills in America. They are made from compressed wood, which is dried and ground into a powder. In addition, they have a long burn time, so you can cook with them without waiting for them to heat again.

Types Of Charcoal Briquettes

Common varieties of charcoal briquettes are as follows: 

Sawdust Briquettes

Sawdust briquettes are made from wood dust, sawdust, and wood chips. They are lighter than black powder or lump charcoal and easier to handle than hardwood charcoal.

They burn hotter and faster than most other types of briquettes. Sawdust briquettes are often used in outdoor grills, fireplaces, and stoves.


Heat Logs

Heat logs are a type of charcoal that is constructed from sawdust, sawdust dust, and wood chips. Heat logs burn hotter than regular charcoal and produce less smoke.

They are popular among wood stoves because they do not require additional fuel/tools to ignite or maintain the fire. Heat logs are usually sold in bags of 12 pounds or smaller.


Bark Briquettes

Bark briquettes are made from tree bark, dried apple slices, and apple cider vinegar. They are ideal for gas grilling devices such as campers, RVs, etc.

Bark briquettes produce a more intense flame than regular charcoal and provide better heat control than lump charcoal by absorbing moisture from the air at lower temperatures (around 200 degrees Fahrenheit). 



Charcoal briquettes are used in both indoor and outdoor grills. They provide warmth, reduce smoke, and add flavor to your food. They are also a perfect replacement for charcoal if you have allergies or asthma because they have less ash content than lump charcoal.

Charcoal briquettes come in various shapes and sizes, but they all work the same way as they produce heat when you burn them. The size of the briquette affects how much heat it produces. Large sizes will burn hotter than smaller ones.

How To Use Charcoal Briquettes?

Charcoal briquettes are excellent for grilling foods like chicken, ribs, and vegetables. They produce smoke that adds flavor to the food while cooking it evenly on all sides. Since you are not overusing your foodstuffs on the grill, the heat cooks the food more evenly than on an outdoor grill.

Smoked foods such as salmon or trout require a higher temperature than grilled foods, and charcoal briquettes can help you achieve that temperature quickly and easily without using oil or butter. You can also use them in other types of smoking, such as jerky making or making jerky sticks for your smoker or grill.

How Long Do Charcoal Briquettes Burn? 

Charcoal briquettes burn for about 4 to 5 hours. The burn time for a charcoal briquette depends on how much hardwood it contains and how much air it can hold. A higher percentage of hardwood will make briquettes burn longer than lower percentages.

Charcoal Briquettes Vs Lump Temperature

Lump charcoal has higher heat output and provides better grilling results, but it can be more difficult to light when compared to briquettes. It also leaves a lot more ash behind when you use them as intended, making it difficult to adequately clean your grill after cooking.

Charcoal briquettes have an average temperature of about 1,000°F when ignited by an electric or gas lighter. The temperature increases throughout the cooking process until it reaches around 2,000°F or 2,500°F at peak. Lump charcoal typically starts at around 1,000°F or 1,200°F.

Lump Charcoal Vs Briquettes Flavor

Lump charcoal is made from the same type of wood as briquettes, so that you can use both in any grill. But the two are not interchangeable. The primary difference between them is that lump charcoal burns hotter than briquettes, so if you want your food to cook faster or more thoroughly, you might choose lump over briquettes.

On the other hand, briquettes are a bit denser than lumps and produce less ash when burned. So when it comes to creating more heat for slow and low cooking, briquettes would be a better choice than lump coal. From this, you can infer that the grilled meat using briquettes will be tender and soft.

Difference Between Lump Charcoal And Briquettes?

Lump charcoal is a type of charcoal that is formed into long, thin slabs. These slabs are often referred to as “lumps” because they have a shape similar to that of a lump of clay.

Lump charcoal comes in natural or non-natural varieties, and some types may be more resistant to heat than others.

Briquettes are made from compressed sawdust, wood chips, or other materials. They are made by compressing these materials and then heating them in an oven at high temperatures until they become hard enough to burn without producing ash (reducing their efficiency).

Frequently Asked Questions

Charcoal is a mixture of carbon and ash. The carbon makes the charcoal burn hotter than wood, but the ash keeps it from burning too hot. When you put a piece of charcoal on a grill, the hot gas from the fire burns off the carbon, leaving behind just its impurities. It makes charcoal an efficient fuel source for grills because you can use very little of it to get a lot of heat on your grill.

No, lump charcoal and briquettes are made differently and have different properties. Lump charcoal has been pressed into a block shape that is easier to handle and burns hotter than briquettes. Briquettes are small pieces of compressed coal or wood that are then shaped into cakes or pellets for easy handling and faster cooking.

No, lump charcoal does not add smoke flavor. You should have to use smoked wood to add smoke flavor to your food. You can add mesquite to your grill or smoker when cooking with lump charcoal, but it will add a different type of smoke that you may or may not want in your food.

Briquettes contain ash, carbon, and small amounts of chemical compounds harmful to the human body. Charcoal briquettes are not toxic if they are not made from poisonous ingredients such as arsenic or lead compounds. By toxic, if you mean ingesting charcoal briquettes, they can harm your health. 

The charcoal briquettes contain no additives and are not sticky like other types of charcoal. Lump charcoal burns hotter than briquettes, which makes it ideal for grilling foods such as steaks, burgers, and fish. The small size of the charcoal pieces allows for quick ignition and a longer burn time than other types of charcoal. So, it all depends on your personal preference.

Final Words

Even after reading this post, I can guarantee you will still have some more unanswered questions. Therefore, I suggest you buy both lump charcoal and briquette, start using them, and figure out which one works best for you. Make a list of pros and cons from your experimentation, so next time you will know which fuel to choose when buying charcoal.

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