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What’s the Best Lump Charcoal for Smoking and Grilling?

Oct 12, 2018 | Reviews

The world of charcoal might seem overwhelming sometimes, especially if you’re a newbie. The charcoal aisle of hardware stores is getting ever crowded. If you add those alluring chips and lumps of cherry, apple or even coconut wood to the mix, choosing the perfect bag becomes a rather difficult task.

In order to make things easier for all those who are interested in buying lump charcoal, we’ve made a list of the best ones out there. To be frank, Jealous Devil lump charcoal helped me step up my backyard barbecue. In addition to that, many other buyers had the same experience with this brand, so we’ve decided to put it as our top pick.

On the off chance that Jealous Devil isn’t for you, we listed another two options that also work quite well.

Top 3 Lump Charcoal

NameBag SizeWood used 

Jealous Devil

35 lbs

Quebracho Blanco

Check Price

Wicked Good Charcoal

22 lbs

Hardwood, not specified

Check Price

Fire & Flavor

8 lbs

Oak and Hickory

Check Price

Jealous Devil

Bag Size

35 lbs

Wood Used

Quebracho Blanco

Check Price

Wicked Good Charcoal

Weight

22 lbs

Flavor

Hardwood, not specified

Check Price

Fire & Flavor

Weight

8 lbs

Flavor

Oak and Hickory

Check Price

1. Best Overall

Jealous Devil All Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal

Our Rating

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First thing’s first — literally. Our first choice, for a good reason, happens to be Jealous Devil.

I can honestly say it’s a great charcoal. Jealous Devil is made in Paraguay from a South American wood called Quebracho Blanco. When I opened my bag, the first thing that caught my eye was the size of the chunks! There was a decent amount of large ones, but nothing we can call oversized. So with this charcoal, you won’t need to bust up the pieces with the hammer. Most of the lumps were what we consider medium-sized, and there was a pleasingly small amount of chips and dust in the bag.

I certainly got what I paid for since the bag contained a bit over 35 pounds of charcoal. This charcoal is really easy to light. Also, the smoke during lighting is tolerably strong. You might discover you really like it, as I did, or it may take a little to get used to it. There was no sparking or popping at all.

Jealous Devil burns at very high temperatures, and its burn time is quite high as well. The product manufacturer says it burns twice as hot and three times as long as traditional charcoal. Even though I’m not an expert, I’ll have to agree with this statement.

Pros and cons

  • Premium material
  • Burns at a high temperature
  • Great flavor from the smoke
  • Can burn a little quicker in comparison to other brands

2. Best Value

Wicked Good Charcoal

Our Rating

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This new blend from Wicked Good stacks up very well against other charcoals. It gets our Recommended rating for sure, and it comes as a runner-up on our list. Wicked Good charcoal is a long-burning and hot-burning charcoal.

Weekend Warrior Blend is a quality lump charcoal with a minimal amount of small chips and dust. Although, you might notice that there is some crackling going on during lighting. However, it produces very little popping or sparking, even as it burns. Also, the ash production is extremely low when compared to other lump charcoals.

The smell of the charcoal seems like a mix between the smoke from tropical woods and the smoke you get from American hardwoods. Basically, it’s mild and very pleasant. We should mention that this is blended charcoal that consists of several species of wood. This means that the amount of sparking depends on which piece of charcoal you are lighting.

If you give it the airflow, the new Weekend Warrior blend is a hot burning charcoal. Otherwise, if you want to maintain low temperatures, just focus on controlling the airflow.

Pros and cons

  • Good-quality, hot-burning charcoal
  • A mild and very pleasant smoke
  • Little to no sparking
  • Not as long-burning or low-ash

3. Best for Flavor

Fire & Flavor Premium All Natural Lump Charcoal

Our Rating

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The last, but not least on our list is the Fire and Flavor’s blend of premium, all natural oak and hickory lump charcoal. In order to bring exceptional flavor to wood-grilled meats, Fire and Flavor offers all natural charcoal varieties.

Their lump charcoal is all sustainably sourced and made using industry leading processes. The production takes place in Missouri from top quality Oak & Hickory wood. The wood is not coming from a construction site, but directly from the mill.

We’d like to note that if you do end up choosing Fire & Flavor Lump Charcoal, you’ll get 2 packs of 8lbs. To some, it might appear to be a bit overpriced for the amount of charcoal you get. However, the quality of this charcoal really steps up the game!

Pros and cons

  • Infuses a great smokey flavor
  • Lights quickly and sustains the burn
  • More expensive than the other options

What to Look for in Lump Charcoal

The most important thing to remember when choosing lump charcoal is that you’re essentially choosing an ingredient! That’s right guys, you shouldn’t look at it as plain fuel for your grill or smoker. What you end up buying as fuel will end up being one of the ingredients of what you’re cooking. So we recommend you give it some thought, instead of grabbing the first bag of charcoal you see.

Let’s put it like this, you might want to start thinking of wood as you would think of wine. Fruit trees and other lighter woods will leave you with a sweet flavor, which is perfect for fish, poultry and veal.

On the other hand, heavier woods, such as hickory and oak will produce a strong flavor, which we recommend using for red meats, for instance.

Bottom line is, you should think about what your food preferences are and what kind of taste you’re going for. That way, choosing charcoal will be way easier than you could imagine.

Conclusion

Alright, we’ve made it to the end of our list of best lump charcoal. Now, not only did you learn something new about charcoal, but you also have our top 3 performers to choose from. If you’re still in doubt and can’t seem to decide, we recommend trying the Jealous Devil brand.

Billy Stewart

Chef and Reviewer for Barbequesmoked.com

Barbeque Smoked

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