The Best Lump charcoal for your charcoal grill  Smokers and Kamados – 2o22 Guide

burning charcoal

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If you own a charcoal grill, congratulations, you own one of the best cooking tools known to man. However, unless you use the best charcoal for your grill or smoker, you might be spinning your wheels and missing out on a world of flavor, efficiency, and great cooking.

In this article, we are going to show you the best lump charcoal you can find for your charcoal grill. Lump charcoal is good for cooking high and fast but also low and slow in a slow cooker.

I have owned a Kamado Green Egg grill for 5 years and have used hundreds of pounds of lump charcoal. I have put every brand of lump charcoal through that grill over those five years and we’d all just spent years cooking. I can now share with you my top five long charcoal recommendations.

There are a bunch of charcoal brands and marketing terms on charcoal bags, so in this guide, I will not only show you the top seven, but I will also show you what to look for when choosing and purchasing lump charcoal.

Our Top 7 picks for Best lump charcoals

  1. Best lump charcoal – Jealous Devil All Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal  Top choice
  2. Fogo Super Premium Hardwood Lump Charcoal – Runner Up
  3. Royal Natural Oak All Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal – Budget option
  4. Kamado Joe KJ-Char Big Block XL CharcoalGood for Kamado Grills:
  5. Harder Charcoal 100 Percent Natural XL Restaurant Style CharcoalGood Option
  6. Rockwood All Natural hardwood
  7. B B Charcoal

1. Jealous Devil All Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal – Best Lump Charcoal and high quality lump charcoal

Jealous Devil has made good efforts to package and deliver the highest quality lump charcoal to your doorstep. We are very impressed by the three-layer bag, which does a great job of keeping the coals dry and in good shape.

testing jealous Devil Lump charcoal

Paraguayan Quebracho Blanco “ax-breaker” hardwood trees are the primary wood of the Jealous Devil all-natural hardwood blend. The coal is made from South American hardwoods that are similar to oak wood but do not contain the unpleasant bitterness that sometimes creeps into certain blends. The use of a small batch carbonization process ensures quality of this 100 percent natural lump charcoal. 

I like this charcoal because it produces little spark, low ash, and smoke, which is great when cooking on small portable grills or kamados. This charcoal blend produces a subtle flavor and is ideal for grilling or smoking meats.

Flavor Profile: The smoky flavor is smooth and mild, which is excellent for slow cooking.

What We Like:

  • Natural hardwood lump charcoal: Jealous Devil Charcoal promises a 100% natural product from dense hardwoods with no chemicals, fillers, or foreign materials. We like this!
  • Great packaging, a three-layer bag, will help keep the coals in good shape and dry.
  • Great for Kamados, minimal ash.
  • Long and superior burn times, lights quickly, gets to cooking temperature fast.
  • It produces a good smoky flavor, which is great for poultry and fish.
  • good-sized coal chunks.
  • It’s great for low and slow cooking.
  • Light up quickly.

What We Don’t Like:

  • This charcoal burns hot, and users need to know how to control airflow and temperature.
  • Some people might find the taste of this hardwood blend strong but not unpleasant.

2. Fogo Super Premium Hardwood Lump – Runner UP ( Best for Smoking )

Fogo charcoal is made from South American hardwood. This lump charcoal comes from “Quebracho,” known for its hardness. We appreciate that this charcoal produces little ash, lasts a long time, is flavorful, and is a restaurant-grade product.

Fogo is an excellent charcoal brand. For a long time, this has been the go-to option for many BBQ pitmasters. FOGO Super Premium Lump Charcoal is easiest to find online. I was surprised by how hard it is to find such a good product locally. 

Like the Jealous Devil, this lump charcoal burns slowly without filling up your grill with ash. The distinction lies in flavor. Fogo has a more subtle, almost undetectable flavor; don’t alter the food’s flavor too much.

Fogo claims that their charcoal is not derived from living trees, which contributes to the preservation of our planet. So, in a sense, this brand is environmentally friendly and strives to be environmentally friendly.

Fogo is natural charcoal, and it shows; when I opened the bag, there was nothing but charcoal, unlike what I have seen with other cheaper brands.

What We Like:

  • High quality natural charcoal made from natural hardwoods.
  • long-lasting charcoal, but it does burn faster than Jealous Devil Lump Charcoal.
  • It produces a good, balanced, and mild smoky flavor.
  • This charcoal works great in kamado ceramic grills.
  • Pretty consistent restaurant-quality charcoal. 
  • Lights up fast, easy to light – burns hot, minimal ash.
  • Big lumps of charcoal ( Fogo Bags pack a lot of large chunks )
  • Fogo premium blend would be my first choice, but Jealous Devil produces less spark, so this is a very close second pick.

What We Don’t Like:

  • During ignition, small charcoal pieces can spark a lot.
  • This charcoal can burn faster than other brands.

3. Royal Oak All Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal – Budget Pick

hand holding royal oak charcoal

Royal Oak Lump Charcoal is made in the USA using 100% natural wood but uses renewable oak hardwood, walnut wood, and hickory hardwood. Some users have reported finding foreign objects in charcoal packaging bags, such as small rocks, and let me tell you, I have as well.

Although Royal Lump Charcoal uses “natural recycled wood,” you do not get the quality and coal size consistency of other charcoal brands listed in this article. You can get as many large pieces as you can get small coal chips. 

However, this is a very affordable brand and an all natural lump charcoal. In fact, you can see many pitmasters using Royal Oak. Why? Because even though it is not as high quality and refined as other brands, it is affordable and it gets the job done, plain and simple. 

This charcoal blend is an excellent option for those getting started in charcoal grilling and who are looking for great value and availability.

What We Like:

  • Good value—using recycled wood cuts down on the cost.
  • It works well in any grill, including Kamados.
  • Lights up fast, easy to light
  • Balanced mild flavor

What We Don’t Like:

  • Some users have reported finding foreign objects in the charcoal bags, although to be fair, the way lump charcoal is manufactured opens the door for small rocks and other debris to make it to the end product.
  • I have used Royal Oak on my kamado grill, and it sparks a lot during the light-up process.
  • Smaller pieces, inconsistent chunk size—this can be annoying when trying to set up the grill for smoking.
  • A 30 pound bag we purchased for our test did have many small pieces of coal. Small coal lights up fast but also burns fast.

4. Kamado Joe KJ-Char Big Block XL – Good for Kamado Grills

Kamado Joe’s 100% Natural Lump Charcoal is made from real trees, so it burns clean and gives you a robust wood-fire flavor. This is high quality charcoal and will keep your smoker’s ash drawer pretty empty.

While some brands use scrap wood and processed wood with fillers, Kamado Joe uses a natural blend of hardwoods—Guayacan, Guayaibi, Mistal, and White Quebracho.

Kamado Joe Lump Charcoal offers good quality; it is easy to find and a good option for those cooking in Kamados. This charcoal can be re-ignited and reused multiple times, which is well liked by those cooking regularly. 

What We Like:

  • 30 pounds of 100 percent natural lump charcoal- good quality.
  • can burn for up to 18 hours—great for slow and low-smoking cooking sessions.
  • It is reusable up to three times, making it cost-efficient.
  • The blend choice of Guayacan, Guayaibi, Mistal, and White Quebracho yields great flavor.

What We Don’t Like:

  • It burns faster than the top two brands.
  • The charcoal size is not consistent.

5. Harder Charcoal 100 Percent Natural XL Restaurant Style Charcoal

Harder Charcoal makes a good product, and although it is fifth on this list, we actually like this charcoal a lot. 

Harder Charcoal is made using South American quebracho, an excellent choice for grilling and smoking meats. This charcoal is another good option for Kamados and another affordable lump charcoal option.

What We Like:

  • Restaurant-grade charcoal,good for grilling and smoking your favorite foods. 
  • A good option for Kamados.
  • Good for smoking meat.
  •  Handmade from Quebracho Wood – good flavor.

What We Don’t Like:

  • smaller charcoal pieces compared to the top lump charcoal brands on this list.

6. Rockwood All Natural Hardwood Charcoal

Rockwood All Natural Hardwood Charcoal is a good hardwood lump blend and is priced affordably. We like this brand because, although its blend is not from some exotic jungle tree, it is made from natural hardwoods like premium Missouri Oak, Hickory, Maple, and Pecan wood. This natural hardwood lump charcoal blend produces a mild but tasteful smoky flavor. The wood for this blend is sourced from hardwood leftovers from lumber mills.

What We Like:

  • Rockwood, all natural hardwood, works well in kamado grills like the Big Green Egg.
  • The mild flavor does not overpower the meat’s seasoning.
  • Made from oak for those oaky-flavored lovers.

What We Don’t Like:

  • The quality is not as good as the top brands, but it is a good value lump charcoal for the price.

7. B B Charcoal

Another alternative is B B charcoal, which is made entirely of natural oak wood. If you like oak flavor, B B charcoal will provide some flavor, but not as much as the top brands on this list.

What We Like:

  • It burns clean and lights up fast.
  • good for cooking at high temps and fast.

What We Don’t Like:

  • Chunks and lumps are not as consistent as the top brands on this list.

Things To Consider When Buying Lump Charcoal

Type of Wood Used Or Wood Mix – “The Blend”

Some businesses use recycled wood, which, despite being less expensive, can introduce unwanted preservatives and other chemicals that were used to “treat” the wood for its original purpose. Better brands produce their charcoal from actual trees, real wood, limbs, and branches.

lump charcoal testing

Purchase charcoal that is made from natural wood and contains no preservatives. An example of a wood blend is oak wood, hickory, and maple, or another popular blend is hickory, maple, and pecan. Be prepared to pay a bit more for truly 100 natural lump charcoal. The best lump charcoal is made using more expensive methods and incredibly dense wood.

Popular blends are oak-hickory, maple, oak walnut wood, and hickory, being the top pick adopted by top pitmasters. The type of wood used to produce the charcoal will impact its flavor profile and how fast or slow it ignites and how long it burns.

All our lump charcoal tests are performed using a Kamado grill, and using good quality charcoal is important.

Keep in mind that dense charcoal has a longer burn time and, in most cases, better quality, but hardwoods can have a “distinct” flavor. If you want  a nice smoky flavor but nothing too out of the norm, oak is a good base wood.

Size And Shape Consistency Of Hardwood Lump Charcoals

lump charcoal sizes

When selecting a charcoal product, consider the shape and size consistency of the charcoal. Too many different lump sizes create uneven heat, but also large pieces can be challenging to control the fire.

Too many small pieces will light up quickly, but they will also burn faster and generate more ash. During our tests, using our kamado, we discovered that big charcoal lumps allow greater airflow, cleaner smoke, and a good clean fire.

Availability

Lump charcoal is not widely available or easily accessible in all stores. We prefer brands available online, so we can have the charcoal bag delivered to our doorstep. After all, charcoal bags are heavy, and some bags can be dirty. 

Do yourself a favor and have your charcoal delivered to your doorstep. Good charcoal for grilling is hard to find at gas stations and small stores.

Tips from the team at BBQ Grill Academy

How To Light Up Lump Charcoal

Lump charcoal lights easily, but using a charcoal chimney starter will help you light lump charcoal faster and safer. There are different methods and techniques for lighting charcoal, but the chimney starter method remains as one of the preferred methods.

You want to avoid using lighter fluid. You are not only defeating the point of getting an all natural source of fuel but lighter fluid can introduce chemical smells that you can later taste on the food.

FAQs

How Long Does Lump Charcoal Burn?

You can expect a burn time of about an hour when cooking at low temperatures, not searing a steak at 600 degrees, and your grill is properly set up.

Conclusion

All these charcoal brands are great, but there are two brands we absolutely love. Our top choice is the Jealous Devil All Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal due to the flavor it produces, its low to little spark, and its ability to burn well and hot for long periods. Also, its charcoal size is very consistent.

We also believe Jealous Devil charcoal bags are among the best in the market and protect the coals.

In a very close second place comes Fogo Super Premium Hardwood Lump Charcoal. Fogo Premium Hardwood is a great brand and, for a long time, has been the go-to charcoal for many of our cookouts.

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Alison Uebel

Alison Uebel

Alison is an amazing writer and food lover. She is an active member of our local restaurant community. "I have worked in the food industry for over 10 years have a deep-felt passion for BBQ food, history, and recipes. It is amazing to share my knowledge and teach others how to enjoy grilling and BBQ Food. Grills I Owns: Pit Boss Pellet Smoker Big Green Egg Large

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