Charcoal Briquettes vs Lumpwood Charcoal: Which Is Better

Barbecue fanatics have a lot of passion. Everyone has different opinions when it comes to barbecuing. Everyone also has something that makes their BBQ different.

There’s no shortage of chats and comments on social media about how people prefer to barbecue. One of the hottest debates currently going on is whether lumpwood charcoal or briquettes are the better choices. It can be difficult to choose between the two, but we are going to make it easier for you. With that said, read on to learn the differences between the two.

Choosing The Right Charcoal

It’s all about personal preference when it comes to which type of charcoal you should use, but nonetheless it’s a good idea to know the differences between briquettes and lumpwood. Which you should choose comes down to what you will be cooking, so it’s important to learn about the benefits of both kinds off charcoal.

So, which should you go for? There’s no need to sit here for hours trying to figure out which is the better option because we’ve put together a brief guide to help you make your decision. It will explain the differences between briquettes and lumpwood charcoal. By the end of it, you’ll know how to make the choice between the two every single time you’re ready to have a barbecue.

charcoal briquettes vs lumpwood charcoal

Lumpwood Charcoal: What Is It?

Pieces of wood are slowly burned to create lump charcoal. It is burned until all of its moisture, natural chemicals and sap are released. Afterwards, a charcoal lump is left. This lump of charcoal doesn’t leave much ash after it’s burnt out, and it lights quicker than briquettes.

Lump charcoal allows you to easily control your grill’s heating, if your grill is equipped with air vents. This is due to the way lump charcoal responds to oxygen. Lump charcoal also contains no additives or fillers, which means it’s a clean way to barbecue and it’s a great choice for those who like to cook their steak caveman style.

However, you have to be careful when it comes to temperature control. This is because lump charcoal burns faster than briquettes. They’re also go hotter than briquettes.

Characteristics Of Lumpwood

This type of charcoal can be lit easily and quickly. Most lumpwood charcoals can burn at high temperatures, but they burn quicker than briquettes. If you’re cooking burgers or searing steaks, then this is great.

When you use lumpwood, you’ll notice that only a little bit of ash is burnt. No additives are used when making lumpwoods, so you won’t end up tasting a hint of lighter fluid in your food. Big K’s lumpwood charcoals are made with no lighting aids, chemical additives and 100% natural wood is used. You will love how your food tastes.

Charcoal Briquettes: Overview

Leftover woods and sawdust are primarily used to make briquettes. However, additives are used during the production process. Lump charcoal on the other hand doesn’t involve additives in the creation process.

Additives are used in the process because they help produce clean blocks of briquettes. They also hold the materials together. In turn, the briquettes can be stacked.

Briquettes don’t go as hot as charcoal lumps, even though they do take longer to burn. Chemicals or lighter fluids are sometimes used to make briquettes, which means lighting them is easier. In some cases, you might taste whatever you burn. This is due to the additives involved in the process of making briquettes.

Lots of people who use briquettes claim that the additives smell when they cook their foods. They describe the smell and taste similar to a fish smell, but don’t let this be the reason you don’t use briquettes. Just make sure you use briquettes from a reputable brand, that way there’s less of a chance of you smelling a strong odour from the additives.

Characteristics Of Briquettes

Briquettes typically take longer to burn than lumpwood, and cooler heat is usually used to burn them. This is why they are perfect for slow cooking, indirect low cooking and for closed barbecues. Furthermore, controlling the temperature is easier with briquettes. Another good characteristic of briquettes is they are easy to work with, which is due to the way they are shaped.

One downside to briquettes is they take longer to light than its lumpwood counterparts. A distinguished smell can be produced if you choose a briquette that has a starch binder. You can avoid this by choosing natural compressed briquettes.

Briquette Shapes

Briquettes are available in various shapes, which have an effect on charcoal’s burning characteristics. One of the most common shapes they’re found in is pillow shapes. Pillow shaped briquettes are perfect for indirect cooking, and they do an excellent job at retaining heat within your barbecue.

Au Natural Applewood or Big K’s Au Natural products are perfect for those who have a large barbecue planned or for those who need excellent performance over a lengthy and slow cooking session. These products contain a central hole that helps with air flow, and they have been compressed into hexagonal tubes. The briquettes burns evenly, and won’t create any cold spots.

Which Is The Best Type Of Wood

Lumpwood can be made with various types of wood, such as maple, applewood and oak to name a few. Each of those woods produce charcoal that have different burning characteristics. In turn, you can have a different kind of grilling experience with each.

Generally speaking, hardwoods is what makes up lumpwood charcoal. This is why the charcoal burns for longer periods of time when compared to many other types of lumpwoods, and why they can give briquettes a run for their money when it comes to cooking time. For example, some lumpwoods are made with White Quebracho, which is wood that is very dense and can create charcoal that offers over three hours of cooking time.


Eventually, the lumpwood charcoal is graded by size. Next, bags containing the same size pieces are created. Small pieces of charcoal usually fall apart and turn into ash, while the larger pieces take longer to burn.

We use pieces that have been graded as large pieces. This is good news for you because it means you receive lumpwood that is consistent and dependable. If you like to cook foods that take a longtime to cook or you enjoy cooking for longer periods of time, then you’ll love this lumpwood.

The Materials

Another attribute of briquettes that we like is the materials used to make them. They’re made from compressed wood products, but there are innovative products that are being produced constantly. For example, sustainable sources are used to create Big K’s Coconut Shell Briquette. The process involves compressing and carbonising coconut shells, which results in pillow shaped briquettes.

Lump Charcoal Or Charcoal Briquettes: Which Is Better

We prefer all-natural charcoal briquette, unless the barbecue you’re using requires low amount of ash. Briquettes’ shapes offers consistent performance, which results in great tasting meals. Briquettes take longer to burn, which means less time spending watching your grill. Lump charcoal has kind of lost its appeal due to being able to get your hands on all-natural briquettes.

Briquettes are harder to light than lump charcoal. However, we still think briquettes are really good. Sure, it takes longer to cook food, but it’s well-worth the wait.

It’s just a nice bonus that the price is slightly lower. Although we naturally go for briquette, we would still have no problem using quality lump charcoal. Lump charcoal is a great choice for fuel, especially considering it’s easy to light and doesn’t produce a lot of ash. Furthermore, there’s no shortage of people who use lump charcoal every single time they need fuel.

The truth is there is a major divide when it comes to people’s opinions on whether lump charcoal or charcoal briquettes are better. It is up to you to determine which is the best out of the two. Lots of people have different opinions.

We suggest trying them both. Generally speaking, you can’t really go wrong with both, but it does come down to personal choice. There could be a chance you will enjoy cooking with both types of charcoal, but the only way to find out which is better for you is to give them both a try.