6+ Best Charcoal Briquettes to Make Grilling Easier

Choosing the best charcoal briquettes can enhance your grilling experience. Different brands offer varying compositions and features, affecting ease of lighting, burn time, and flavor imparted to food. Royal Oak stands out for consistent results, while Kingsford Match Light offers hassle-free lighting. Weber briquettes provide great value, B&B Oak is natural and flavorful, Cowboy burns super-hot, and Jealous Devil is dense and long-lasting. Ultimately, the choice between hardwood charcoal and briquettes depends on personal preference and cooking needs.

Charcoal briquettes for barbecue

It’s time to get down and dirty as we explore the somewhat inconsistent world of charcoal briquettes. Charcoal briquettes may all be the same color, but their similarities often end there.

Grabbing a bag of no-name briquettes on the way to your favorite camping site can lead to extreme disappointment. Find out how to choose the best charcoal briquettes to make grilling easier. 

Charcoal briquettes for grilling differ considerably between brands. Some are pure charcoal, while others contain binders and chemicals. Manufactured briquettes are more consistently sized, easier to light, and burn longer. Pure hardwood charcoal burns hotter and results in a cleaner, smokey flavor. 

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, this site earns from qualifying purchases. Thank you!

Royal Oak Premium Charcoal Briquettes

Royal Oak 192-232-021 Charcoal Briquette, 16.6 Lbs

For quality charcoal briquettes that provide consistently excellent results, it is hard to beat Royal Oak Premium Briquettes. This all-natural hardwood charcoal blends the best of both charcoal types by featuring consistently sized pieces. 

Royal Oak has succeeded in creating uniformly shaped natural charcoal briquettes that feature a patented ridge design. This unique shape promotes airflow and results in more even temperatures across the surface of the cooking area. 

Things to note about Royal Oak Premium Charcoal Briquettes: 

  • Expect to pay a little more than you would for run-of-the-mill briquettes
  • 100% hardwood charcoal made in the USA from sustainably sourced timber
  • Lights quickly
  • The unique shape facilitates a consistent temperature throughout.
  • Imparts a classic wood-fired BBQ flavor to food

Kingsford Match Light Charcoal

Kingsford MatchLight Instant Charcoal Briquets

Kingsford Match Light is on our list, as it will definitely make grilling as easy as it can be. These charcoal briquettes are primed to light up first try, so they are perfect for anyone who just wants a hassle-free BBQ experience – no lighter fluid required! 

Unlike natural hardwood charcoal briquettes, Kingsford Match Light Charcoal briquettes may give off a slightly chemical whiff as it gets started, but it quickly dissipates once it gets going. These compressed briquettes are an economical and reliable option if you need a bag of charcoal that you know will get the job done. 

Features of Kingsford Match Light Charcoal:

  • There are plenty of varieties of charcoal briquettes in the Kingsford stable. Kingsford is an established brand, so it is also well worth exploring its other charcoal briquette products. 
  • The main feature of the Match light briquettes is that they are easy to light.
  • Perfect for beginners 

Weber Briquettes

Weber 17590168, Black, Briquettes, 30 x 20 x 17 cm | 17590, 4-kilograms

Weber has become a household name for their range of outdoor BBQ equipment. It is no surprise that Weber also makes reliable charcoal briquettes that come packed with plenty of great features. 

The first thing you may notice about the Weber briquettes is that they are not as expensive as you may expect from such a giant in the industry. The reason is that their briquettes are not solid hardwood. However, they also don’t contain chemicals like many of their competitors. 

Weber claims only to use waste wood and natural binders like starch and water. The result is quality briquettes that are kind to the environment and burn for an extended period. The only slight con is that they can be tricky to light as they are designed to burn long rather than fast. 

Some standout features of the Weber Briquettes are: 

  • The moisture-resistant, resealable packaging is recyclable.
  • Extended burning time, so these briquettes are an ideal choice for slow cooking and smoking
  • Briquettes are a uniform size and are neat and easy to pour.
  • No coal or other chemicals in the briquettes. They are compressed charcoal but provide a natural wood experience.

Duraflame Cowboy Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal

Cowboy 29088 Hardwood Lump Charcoal, 8.8-Pound

Cowboy Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal is a briquette that burns super-hot. It is, therefore, well suited to anyone who loves the sizzling sound as their steak hits the grill. It is also an excellent choice for pizza ovens as temperatures quickly soar, and it isn’t difficult to maintain an even heat. 

Although more than one variety of wood is used to manufacture Cowboy Joe briquettes, this hardwood charcoal claims to only use quality hardwood. This ensures a pleasing smokey flavor infuses into the food, and reviews of the product are overwhelmingly positive. 

  • An excellent choice for creating perfectly seared meat.
  • Authentic BBQ flavor – no chemicals are added to the briquettes
  • It may be more expensive than some other brands
  • It does not create a lot of ash
  • A versatile charcoal briquette choice suitable for all types of outdoor cooking

B&B Oak Lump Charcoal

B&B Charcoal Oak Lump Charcoal, Flavor Oak, 20 lbs.

If you think that your choice of charcoal doesn’t affect the flavor of your food, think again. B&B Oak Lump Charcoal is a 100% natural product made from sustainably sourced, quality oak. The result is a product that burns cleaner and imparts an unmistakable delicious, smokey flavor to food. 

Like some other brands of 100% wood briquettes, B&B burns hot, so you may need to keep an eye on your food the first few times you use it. They are easy to light and won’t leave a lot of ash in the bottom of your grill at the end. 

Some notes regarding B&B Oak Lump Charcoal briquettes:

  • The charcoal lumps are a consistent, regular shape, making getting your grill set up easier. 
  • They are a little more expensive than brands that use artificial additives.
  • Delicious, versatile wood taste that works well with a variety of dishes
  • Rates highly on several reviews for flavor
  • Also available in a competition variety for when you have mastered the basics of cooking using these Texas-style charcoal briquettes. 

Jealous Devil All Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal

Jealous Devil All Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal - 35LB

North American hardwoods are hard, but they are no match for the dense hardwoods produced in South America! The harder the wood, the denser the charcoal briquettes and Jealous Devil is a testament to this attribute.

Although the price may seem a little daunting compared to some other brands of lump charcoal, don’t be put off. Since the pieces are so compact, you will need considerably less of the product and be able to produce red-hot coals that don’t shoot sparks or pop.  

Jealous Devil Lump Charcoal may take slightly longer to light than some compressed briquette brands, but it will burn super-hot for an extended period.   It is definitely a case of quality over quantity, and every serious griller should try a bag at least once.

Things we love about Jealous Devil Lump Charcoal: 

  • The charcoal briquettes are an irregular, natural shape. It gives a more authentic, real-wood feel when using the product. 
  • It has a pure flavor that doesn’t overwhelm the taste of food. It doesn’t add any particular flavor other than providing an overall wood-cooked feel.
  • Claims to cook twice as hot and three times as long as traditional charcoal.
  • It comes in a handy, resealable bag. Since you won’t need much, one bag goes a long way. 

How Do You Shop for Charcoal Briquettes To Use?

While most professional chefs would shun anything but pure hardwood charcoal briquettes to cook on, the ease, convenience, and inexpensive price tag on many popular brands is hard to ignore. Although charcoal briquettes may all look the same to an untrained eye, their composition can vary considerably. 

In addition to the difference in composition of charcoal briquettes that will affect your cooking experience, there are several things to factor in. When selecting our top six charcoal briquette list, we also considered the following features: 

  • How easy are the briquettes to light? 
  • What packaging does it come in? This may not seem important until you get caught in an unexpected rainstorm, and when it clears, you find your charcoal briquettes in their paper bag have disintegrated into a sludgy black mess. 
  • Burn time and heat – Do you prefer a super-hot grill, or are you more focused on a slower heat that you can sustain for longer? 
  • The size and quality of the briquettes in each bag. 
  • The cost 
  • Does it contain chemicals? 
  • Will the brand of charcoal affect the taste of the food? 

There are different strokes for different folks when it comes to grilling using charcoal. However, unless you are in a head-to-head grill-off with a seasoned pitmaster using professional quality lump wood briquettes, quality regular briquettes work perfectly in most applications. 

We certainly do not recommend using any cheap product you find as it can go horribly wrong with chemical odor or fine ash blowing around and tainting your food. With that in mind, we have listed our top 6 picks to look out for that you can use confidently to make your grilling experience effortless. 

What Are The Differences Between Hardwood Charcoal And Briquettes?

There are two types of charcoal briquettes. They can either be hardwood charcoal, often called ‘lump charcoal,’ or uniformly shaped charcoal briquettes. Although charcoal briquettes are all used for the same purpose, they differ significantly in composition. 

Hardwood Charcoal BriquettesCharcoal Briquettes
The most natural form of charcoal. It is made from solid wood. Popular varieties include hickory, oak, and birch, although briquettes can be made from any hardwood variety. It is made from compressed wood by-products. Contain binders, fillers, and adhesives to make the briquettes stay together. 
Chemical freeLights easier than hardwood charcoal
Burns hotter than Burns longer
More expensiveSince it is made with by-products, charcoal briquettes are frequently cheaper. 
It can be inconsistently sized. There may be small pieces mixed in with the usable pieces.Evenly-sized pieces of charcoal that are easy to use. 
Pure smokey taste It may give off a slight chemical smell when first lit
Fast and hot. To keep the temperature even for longer can take some practiceProvide a more consistent heat over a more extended period
Not as much ash producedIt creates a lot of ash

Is There A Difference Between Charcoal Briquets and Briquettes? 

You may have noticed that some packets of charcoal briquettes feature a variation in the spelling of the word briquette. There is no difference other than the variation in how the word is spelled. 

A factor to look for when choosing charcoal briquettes is whether they are made from natural hardwood or a recipe of compressed combustible biomass materials. Many outdoor chefs have a preference for one type of the other. 

Which Briquettes Are Best? 

Natural hardwood briquettes that do not contain fillers and adhesives are the best for quality and overall taste. Brands like Royal Oak Hardwood Lump Charcoal and Jealous Devil All-Natural Lump Charcoal are hard to beat for providing an overall natural wood experience and flavor. 

That is not to say that novice grillers will find natural lump wood briquettes as easy to use as charcoal briquettes. For anyone that needs a reliable, easy-to-light, inexpensive briquette, you can’t go wrong with Kingsford Match Light charcoal. 

Is Royal Oak Better Than Kingsford? 

Royal Oak Classic Briquettes consistently outperformed Kingsford Original Charcoal in an independent test. The products were judged on factors that included:

  • Sustained cooking temperature
  • Overall taste
  • Amount of ash left behind

However, remember that Royal Oak and Kingsford have a range of products. That means you may find a specific product in the Kingsford briquette range that works well for you. For example, Kingsford Hickory Briquettes offer an aromatic taste along with the convenient reliability that you can expect from Kingsford.  

Which Is Better, Charcoal Or Briquettes? 

Lump charcoal is natural wood that has been burned in the absence of oxygen to create a lightweight fuel that burns clean. There are no added chemicals or special potions besides the hardwood you started with. You can even make it yourself at home if you are up for the project

The primary component of all briquettes is wood, but many brands contain fillers and chemicals. Having additives does not necessarily make a particular brand better or worse than another. It just makes it different. Additives often make the product easier to work with, as briquettes can be uniform and include lighter fluid. 

For taste, natural lump charcoal does have the edge over charcoal briquettes. However, it can be a lot more expensive than blended charcoal briquettes. When choosing, consider what you will be cooking and then decide which briquettes will be the most convenient and affordable option. 

Final Thoughts

Charcoal briquettes vary considerably between brands and types, but they are all created to make grilling easier. The best charcoal briquette is the type that matches the food you need to prepare, will light reliably, and will get the job done. When choosing, consider factors like price, composition of the briquettes, size, how long it will burn, and if it will impart any specific flavor to your food. 

Similar Posts