How should I say? I think beside the term “coffee addicts,” I can describe my family as a bunch of grilling freaks. And you know what is ideal to complete an unforgettable BBQ party? Exactly, it’s the best lump charcoal. In the past, when we still possessed a big house with a large backyard, my grandpa used to make it for the BBQ party held each Saturday. Now, we cannot maintain the tradition, so packed lump charcoal on sale is the best alternative.
We have tried many types of lump, from the cheapest to most expensive ones in the market to find the best. They cannot reach the quality of homemade one, but some have proved competence and significant effects. I know you don’t want to waste much time and money to experience all the types, so the article may come in handy when you need something of high quality.
Firstly, before jumping to the review, let me explain a bit about the things we are looking for. To say it the most straightforward way, lump charcoal is the product of the wood burning process with little oxygen. So, it is charcoal’s most natural form.
Compared to briquettes, a less pure hardwood burner, the lump can be lit up faster, burns hotter, hardly leave any ash after finishing the job. Besides, it is clear that lump is more responsive to oxygen, which means we can control the fire’s temperature easily given a grill with adjustable air vents.
List of Best Lump Charcoal Products
(According to The Real Experience of A Grilling Addict)
8 Must-Have Features to Look For In a Best Lump Charcoal
Now, I bet you are considering which criteria I’m basing on to decide which one is a good type of lump charcoal, and which one is not. Of course, I don’t say things just because I want to. There are a bunch of features people often look for when seeking the best lump charcoal. I have my own standards, too, and now I will share them with you.
LIGHTING UP SPEED
People using a BBQ oven or a green egg for the first time may get confused with how to light up the charcoal. You can’t expect lump to burn with just a match, but good products should ease with lighting. If you have hover over the oven more than 15 minutes but the charcoal is still jet black, so one, it’s of bad quality and useless; or two, you are too dumb to go on the way to become a grilling master.
Packed lump charcoal is not too expensive, but more extended the chunks can last in the oven, the more grateful families using much of the product (just like mine) will be. Some people may mistake the long-lasting charcoals with those including large pieces. According to my experience, larger chunks can stay longer, but it means you have to burn more lump, and the cost stays the same. Besides, long-lasting charcoal will be much helpful when you want to cook a full pot of stew in your backyard oven.
Your BBQ will taste much better if it is evenly cooked. Therefore, you should choose lump charcoal whose burning is consistent.
It is better to notice that some kinds of lump charcoal burn much hotter than the others. Ones which can produce significant heat are more likely to give you better tasting grilled dishes.
THE CONTENT OF THE CHARCOAL BAG
If you have experience using more than one kind of lump charcoal, you may see some brands add fillers to the bag. The tiny pieces, which are entirely useless, often find their way to the bottom of the sack, so we can’t see it soon after opening.
THE PRESENT OF ADDITIVES
Some brands put some substances into the lump to boost the lighting up speed or reduce the ash remnant. However, those additives will change the original smoky aroma of a great BBQ. Besides, who can tell whether they are harmful to our health or not?
Lump charcoal with a high amount of additives included has a high chance of giving out chemical smell while getting burnt. You will know if the product you just ought is good right after it lightens up.
THE AMOUNT OF ASH REMNANT
Best lump charcoal will leave little ash after cooking. Too much ash will make the cleaning process after the party more troublesome. Not to mention the dirt sticking to the food will cook. Although ash from lump charcoal doesn’t contain harmful substances, it may make you lose your appetite by one look.
Products which are too cheap often have questionable quality, while too expensive ones not only make you break the bank but also don’t usually meet our expectation. Costly lump charcoal often comes from famous brands, who, as I often say in my articles, sell their name more than the real value.
You should choose a product which goes well with your budget, but not too cheap because cheap often turns out to be costly in the long run. Just consider all the criteria above and compare them with the price.
Full-Length Reviews of 5 Best Lump Charcoal Products
Jealous Devil 100% Natural Lump Charcoal, Restaurant Quality for Smoking and Grilling – Best Shape and Size
It’s a bit surprising to me that many people don’t know about the fantastic product. We often buy ones from familiar brands such as Big Green Egg, Royal Oak, Original, and avoid trying new things. In my opinion, Jealous Devil is breaking all records of best lump charcoal and gaining the champion. There are many things I want to praise about the product, and just a little bit complaining.
What We Like
- Best Shape And Size: the chunks are not too small or too big so you can fit them into many ovens. Some cheap brands often stuff the bag with vast pieces of lump charcoal then fill the space with tiny, useless bits. You will never see such situation in Jealous Devil.
- No Additives: The lump charcoal is made 100% from natural ingredients. There are no strange-smelling chemicals added to the product. That’s what the manufacturer says, and when I lighten it up, there is no unpleasant odor of chemicals, so I think they are honest.
- Easy To Catch Fire: It took me no time to get accustomed to the lump charcoal. I poured some cooking oil on it, and maneuver with a lighter and a few pieces of paper. That’s it, one minute and we’re done. In the past, some product had made me hover over the oven more than 20 minutes with no result.
- Long-time Burning: The manufacturer has claimed that Jealous Devil burns twice as hot and three times as long as traditional others because there is 7000 cal/g of cooking power. Not quite right, anyway, but I do find the product lasts much longer and gives out incredible heat.
- Restaurant Quality: which means no smoke, no sparks, little ash, and simple cleanup after cooking. It also boosts the flavor of your dishes by adding some mild, natural smoky aroma to the taste.
- Not so smoky: If you are a fan of extreme smoky things, Jealous Devil may not meet your expectation.
- Limited supplying: Sometimes we fail to get a bag of Jealous Devil for our BBQ. I don’t know why, but Oak Royal and Fogo seem more accessible.
Fogo PREMIUM HARDWOOD LUMP CHARCOAL BLACK BAG
– Best For Long Time Grilling
The name Fogo appeared a long time ago, and they still maintain a pretty good reputation. Grilled dishes cooked on Fogo lump charcoal have a unique, subtle, woody flavor. Before knowing about Jealous Devil, my family had used Fogo consistently. Now, when the local store runs out of Jealous Devil, Fogo is the safest choice for us.
What We Like
- Long-time Burning: That’s the most beneficial feature I want to point out about Fogo Hardwood Lump Charcoal. In fact, I see it lasts longer than Jealous Devil, so it’s the most suitable choice for stewing or slow cooking.
- Easy To Lighten Up: Not so easy as Jealous Devil, but not bad at all. Don’t forget to add some oil or gas, or else the lump charcoal cannot catch fire.
- Pretty Big Chunks: I see they are of fist-sized, and the shape and size are relatively stable.
- No Ash Left: Big phew for the arduous cleanup. A great favor for us grilling freaks.
- There Are Still Tiny Pieces: You won’t see them at first, but when there is only 1/3 of the bag left, the useless bits will appear.
- Too Big… Maybe?: Due to the huge size of the chunks, perhaps it’s not a so wise choice for quick grilling. In the case, you should try to break them down into smaller pieces.
Royal Oak Lump Charcoal – Best Material
The name Royal Oak tell all about the quality of this product. 100% natural wood, mostly oak, is used to make the ultimate product. Therefore, not only the burning is consistent, the heat given out is impressive, but the smoky aroma is very natural as well.
What We Like
- 100% Natural Material, Mostly Oak: Cheap brands often mix other kinds of wood into the lump charcoal to reduce to producing cost. Royal Oak just doesn’t. You can rest assured about the material quality of the brand.
- No Additives: It means no strange chemical smells, no compromised taste of the dishes, and so invisible risks. We are completely safe with Royal Oak.
- Easy To Catch Fire: If I had to give a mark to the feature, it would be 7/10. It’s good, not so good, but good enough to give a thumbs-up.
- No Ash Left: Big bravo from house-wives.
- Inconsistent Sizes: Sadly, there are still a few so small pieces that we can’t use.
- Low-quality Products In The Market: Imported ones, which aren’t made in the USA, often have a short time to burn, leave ash, and give out a little chemical odor while cooking.
Original Natural Charcoal - Blend of Apple, Cherry, and Oak Trees
– Best Smoky Smell
Original will never make customers disappointed if we just consider the smoky aroma the dishes will receive. Being the perfect combination of apple, cherry, and oak woods, Original lump charcoal has a flavorful, impressive smell. Just by lighting up an oven full of the product, I can make the members of my family’s mouths watering without putting anything on the fire.
What We Like
- Unique Aroma: A big thumbs-up for the manufacturer. You can hardly find any other product with the feature.
- No Additives, No Strange Chemicals: Specialists have proved it right through analysis. You can be sure about that.
- Consistent Burning: It means your BBQ will be done faster and cooked evenly.
- Small Package: If only the sack is bigger, buying new bags repeatedly is such a nuisance.
- Boasting Advertisers: Don’t believe 100% percent of the ads, or you will be bit disappointed. The product is good, but not as significant as what they say.
Bayou Classic Natural Charcoal Briquets
The most meritorious thing about Bayou Classic lump charcoal is that the price is compatible with the quality. It’s not the cheapest thing you can find in the market, but the comparing to the quality, it is impressive. With the same good features, Royal Oak is more expensive owing to golden brand name. If you a starter who doesn’t want to risk too much money, Bayou Classic is a suitable choice.
What We Like
- Low-price With High Quality: Only under $20 for 20lbs full of good features.
- Consistent Burning: I should say the feature is the same as that of Original, but with a much lower price.
- Not So Consistent Shape and Size, But Little Useless Pieces: The chunks aren’t of the same quantity, but there is only a little dust that you can’t use.
- Limited Burning Time: Looking for a long-lasting product? You may consider another. The burning time is not so impressive, or I should say considerably short. Keep an eye on the oven and add more lump charcoal for stewing or slow grilling.
In A Nutshell
There are only 8 criteria to judge whether a product is good or not, but deciding which one is the best lump charcoal relies mostly on you. Above are just 5 suggestions which my family has tried and seen the merits of. If you want to save the time and money, just try one of the five. I strongly recommend Jealous Devil, but if you are seeking for some special features, others are available for selecting. Hope you may have a good time with your loved one around a wonderful BBQ oven!