The Best Lump charcoal for your grill and Smokers

Best Lump 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 good lump 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 seven amazing charcoal brands you can find online or at your local hardware store. Lump charcoal is good for cooking high and fast, but also low and slow.

I have owned a Kamado Green Egg grill for 5 years and have used hundreds of pounds of charcoal. I have put every brand of charcoal through that grill over those five years, and I now share with you my top five long charcoal recommendations.

Best lump charcoal brands Reviews

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

1. Jealous Devil All Natural Hardwood – Best Overall

Jealous Devil 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 a quality of a 100 percent natural product. 

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 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:

  • Jealous Devil 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:

  • 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 lump charcoal bag

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

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

Like the Jealous Devil, it 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 large chunks, unlike what I have seen with other cheaper brands.

What We Like:

  • High quality natural made from natural hardwoods.
  • long-lasting, but it does burn faster than Jealous Devil Charcoal.
  • It produces a good, balanced, and mild smoky flavor.
  • It works great in kamado ceramic grills.
  • Pretty consistent restaurant-quality. 
  • 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.
  • It can burn faster than other brands.

3. Royal Oak All Natural Hardwood – Budget Pick

Royal Oak lump charcoal bag
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 packaging bags, such as small rocks, and let me tell you, I have as well.

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

However, this is a very affordable brand and an all natural. 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 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 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 lump charcoal bag

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 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 who cook regularly. 

What We Like:

  • 30 pounds of 100 percent natural – 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

Harder charcoal bag

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

What We Like:

  • Restaurant-grade ,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 brands on this list.

6. Rockwood All Natural Hardwood

Rockwood natural charcoal bag

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 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 for the price.

7. B B Charcoal

B&B charcoal bag

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 product 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, hickory, and maple, or another popular blend is hickory, maple, and pecan. Be prepared to pay a bit more for a truly 100 natural product.

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 product will impact its flavor profile and how fast or slow it ignites and how long it burns.

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

Size And Shape consistency

lump charcoal sizes

When selecting a charcoal product, consider the shape and size consistency of the coals. Too many different lump sizes create uneven heat, but large pieces can also make it 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, these bags are heavy, and some bags can be dirty. 

Do yourself a favor and have your charcoal delivered to your doorstep, these bags are heavy.

Tips from the team at BBQ Grill Academy

How To Light Up Lump Charcoal

Lump charcoal lights easily, but using a 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.

Related: The difference between lump charcoal and briquettes

Conclusion

All these charcoal brands are great, but there are two brands we absolutely love. Based on our research and lengthy hours of testing , the Jealous Devil is out top pick due to the flavor it produces, its low to little spark, and its ability to burn well and hot for long periods. Also, its lump size is very consistent.

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

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

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