Cooking with charcoal has advantages like adding that authentic BBQ flavor to the food. I love cooking with charcoal because it can get up to high temperatures that I need for cooking.
There are different types of charcoals for cooking, but charcoal briquettes are the most efficient because they burn clean and slow for cooking any type of food.
Buying them might be as easy as grabbing a bag of them from the store but is the quality of the briquettes good for their price?
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Charcoal briquettes are not made the same way and it means that different companies produce charcoal briquettes and make them in different ways.
So with this post, I have listed the best charcoal briquettes on the market and some answers that will help and guide you to buy the best charcoal briquettes for the next barbecue!
What Are Charcoal Briquettes? How Are They Made?
Charcoal briquettes are small pillow-shaped charcoals that are made out of sawdust, bits of wood, and additives that are pressed together.
This is a more familiar type of charcoal as most stores sell charcoal briquettes. These bits of wood, dust, and additives are compressed together to give them their pillow shape.
They burn longer compared to other types of charcoal and can maintain temperatures better.
The additives in charcoal briquettes are usually included to light them easier, add a specific flavor, smoke more, make the components stick together, or all of the above.
Good quality charcoal briquettes will burn longer and maintain temperatures better while cheaper ones will tend to produce more ash.
That is why it is essential to know what to look for when buying charcoal briquettes. According to the set standards, the following are the best charcoal briquettes on the market.
The Best Charcoal Briquettes
1. Kingsford Charcoal Professional Briquettes
These charcoal briquettes are professional-grade and can be used for grilling, searing, or slow-cooking any food. They have a 2.5-hour burn time which is pretty standard.
The burn time is long enough to slow cook meat like ribs, briskets, and more.
This also allows the cook to find the right temperature and maintain it without adding another batch of briquettes.
The Kingsford Charcoal Professional Briquettes light up easily and will be ready to grill in just 10 minutes.
After cooking, there is not much mess as Kingsford has a low-ash formula for these briquettes.
- It burns hot and can maintain temperatures well.
- Does not produce too much ash.
- Lights up relatively easily.
- It is a bit expensive.
2. Royal Oak Chef’s Lump Charcoal Briquettes
These charcoal briquettes are made from hickory and American oak only. This makes the briquettes 100% hardwood and will burn longer than most briquettes.
Professionals almost always get these briquettes because they burn hot and long. They are quite difficult to come by because of that.
The briquettes are also low-ash which makes them good for cleaning after cooking. The wood used for making these briquettes are also sustainable.
Cooking with the Royal Oaks premium briquettes is easy because of the shape of the briquettes themselves, and they have a gap in the middle which allows for better airflow.
Like the Royal Oak Ridge Premium Charcoal Briquettes, there is also a ridge in each briquette shaped for peak performance and better airflow.
- Unique shape that allows better airflow.
- Made from 100% hardwood so the briquettes burn longer.
- Sold in large 40-pound bags which will last for a long time.
- Can be a little pricey
- Not great for transportation because of the large sizes.
3. Duraflame Cowboy 26014 Natural Hardwood Briquettes
These natural charcoal briquettes are a great alternative to low-quality charcoal used in backyard barbecues. They are all-natural and burn clean compared to other briquettes.
The Duraflmae charcoal briquettes are made from 95% hardwood and 5% vegetable matter to bind the wood bits and dust together.
When used in roasting or at slightly low temperatures, the Duraflame briquettes are perfect.
They do not burn too hot but they can maintain temperatures well.
- The briquettes have uniform shapes that make them burn evenly.
- Made from 100% natural parts.
- Low ash emission.
- Does not burn as hot as the other options.
4. Weber 17950 Charcoal Briquettes
Weber is a great company when it comes to grilling and the standards they put on the appliances they produce are the same when it comes to the Weber charcoal briquettes.
The Weber charcoal briquettes are made from 100% natural substances with no additives, and this makes them burn hotter and cleaner while also lasting longer.
The charcoal briquettes from Weber have a burn time of 3 hours, and that is a lot longer than the other charcoal briquettes on the market.
- This is the best value for money on the list.
- Long burn time of up to 3 hours.
- 100% natural charcoal briquettes for a cleaner burn.
- Not professional-grade and are not competition-briquettes.
5. MUXI Portable Grilling Charcoal Briquettes
These charcoal briquettes are perfect for cooking outside the house, meaning when camping trips and tailgating where the charcoal briquettes need to be transported.
Regular charcoal briquettes are hard to transport because they make a lot of mess. These MUXI portable charcoal briquettes are perfect for that function.
The charcoal briquettes are made with a unique design and are packed in 4 pieces. These are 5 inches x 5 inches square briquettes that can fill a small grill with just 2 pieces.
They take about 15 minutes to properly light up but they can burn really hot.
- The unique shape makes them easy and less messy to transport.
- Clean product with individual wraps on each briquette.
- It burns easily and burns hot.
- It does not burn long with only 1.5 hours of burn time.
Is Royal Oak Or Kingsford Better?
Kingsford charcoal briquettes are better because they burn cleaner than Royal Oak. There is also less ash from Kingsford charcoal briquettes than Royal Oak briquettes.
1. Burn Time
When I tested them, the Royal Oak charcoal briquettes did burn longer than Kingsford charcoal briquettes so Royal Oak takes the win here.
Royal Oak charcoal briquettes are heavier than Kingsford briquettes which explained why the Royal Oak briquettes burnt about 15 minutes longer.
2. Ash Production
The Kingsford charcoal briquettes did not put out too much ash when they finished burning. There is roughly 50% less ash from Kingsford than the Royal Oak charcoal briquettes.
This might be because the Royal Oak charcoal briquettes are denser, but I prefer the fewer ashes from the Kingsford charcoal briquettes when it comes to cleaning up.
3. Heat And Cooking
These two charcoal briquettes from two different brands burn nearly the same in a way where they are equally hot and can cook almost anything.
Both charcoal briquettes have ridges in the middle that allow for better airflow so they do heat up really well.
Overall, Kingsford charcoal briquettes are better because they burn cleaner and produce fewer ashes than the Royal Oak charcoal briquettes.
Royal Oak also had company issues about environmental violations which can be a huge deal for some people.
Which Charcoal Briquettes Burn The Longest?
Kingsford also takes this win with their Long-burning charcoal briquettes that last 40% longer than the original charcoal briquettes from Kingsford.
The main reason is that the long-burning charcoal briquettes are made from premium chars, and this means that the charcoal briquettes burn longer and will need fewer refills throughout the cooking process.
But the question is, do they burn clean, and if not, are there other charcoal briquettes that burn cleaner?
What Is The Cleanest Burning Charcoal?
All-natural charcoal briquettes are still the kings of burning clean charcoal. The Duratflame Cowboy charcoal briquettes are examples of clean-burning briquettes.
Since charcoal briquettes are made from compressed wood bits and sawdust, they burn clean as long as they do not have additives.
There is, however, another type of charcoal that also burns clean and is believed by many to be the healthier option. That is lump charcoal and it is fair to assume that because they are truly natural.
Charcoal Briquettes Vs Lump Charcoal
If natural and environmental-friendly are the standards, lump charcoal takes the medal as it is made from natural substances without any additives.
1. Burn Time
Usually, lump charcoal burns for up to an hour, sometimes shorter, while charcoal briquettes can burn up to 3 hours depending on the quality of briquettes.
Charcoal briquettes are also better at maintaining stable temperatures for longer periods of time than lump charcoal.
Lump charcoal lights up easier than charcoal briquettes so they start burning out their energy sooner than charcoal briquettes.
2. Ash Production
Since lump charcoal burns cleaner, it also produces fewer ashes than charcoal briquettes. The sadist and wood bits from charcoal briquettes tend to produce more ashes.
3. Temperature Control
Once they are lit up, lump charcoals can be easily controlled. By adding or removing some charcoals, the temperature can easily change.
Charcoal briquettes are more on maintaining an even temperature so they tend to be more difficult when it comes to control the temperature.
What Burns Hotter: Lump Charcoal Or Briquettes?
Lump charcoal burns hotter than charcoal briquettes because of its natural substances. There are no additives that produce only fumes, almost all its energy is used for heat.
This makes lump charcoal perfect for grilling and searing because of the hotter temperature. On the other hand, Charcoal briquettes are better for cooking for long periods of time.
So charcoal briquettes are better for smoking while lump charcoal is great for higher temperatures such as grilling and searing food.
Lump charcoal burns easily but it burns hot so when cooking with them, frequent refilling of the charcoals is needed. Lump charcoals are also more expensive than charcoal briquettes.
What To Look For When Buying Briquettes And What To Avoid
The list of charcoal briquettes above is a quick selection if there is no time to research what to look for and avoid when buying briquettes.
If none of the above are your first choice, these guidelines can help select the best charcoal briquettes on the market.
What To Look For
Charcoal briquettes are not that expensive but some of the ones with the best quality are hard to come by. Select the charcoal briquettes that are available both in the market and online.
Kingsford charcoal briquettes are available in both online and physical stores. The best option is to buy in bulk so the briquettes will last longer and cost less in the long run.
- Size And Shape
The best way to tell whether the brand of charcoal briquettes is good or not is to look at the actual briquettes and determine whether the shapes and sizes are uniform or not.
Uniform charcoal briquettes are great for stacking and using more briquettes in small fireboxes.
Some briquettes also have ridges in between that allow for better airflow. Check out the Royal Oak Ridge Premium charcoal briquettes for the best ridges for airflow.
Charcoal briquettes with thin edges are also better than round ones since the thin edges light up faster and easier.
It is best to go with all-natural charcoal briquettes as they burn cleaner and hotter. The additives added to charcoal briquettes can be harmful in the long run.
Charcoal briquettes made from hardwood are also better as they burn longer. They also will not crumble inside the bag, which indicates that the briquettes are of high quality.
What To Avoid
Always check for the ingredients used on the charcoal briquettes and avoid too many additives. Lighter fluid is sometimes added to charcoal briquettes, which should be avoided at all times.
Lighter fluid can be harmful to our health while also adding a bitter taste to the food. Although this allows the briquettes to light up faster, it is not helpful healthwise.
It is better to avoid Softwood like pine because they release a bitter type of resin, and they also burn faster and will not last as long as hardwood.
Fewer fillers and fewer chemical binders also mean that there will be less ash. So it is best to avoid briquettes with many chemical binders and fillers.
The more natural ingredients there are, the better, cleaner, and healthier the burn of the briquettes will be. So make sure to avoid chemicals, and always go with natural briquettes.
What Are Natural Charcoal Briquettes?
Natural charcoal briquettes are charcoal briquettes made out of 100% natural ingredients. Most are made from hardwood sawdust, wood bits, leftover woods, and some additives.
The additives used are also natural instead of chemicals, and such are vegetable additives that help bind the other ingredients together.
Natural charcoal briquettes are also made the same way as lump charcoal.
After being compressed, they are burnt without oxygen to release any moisture or sap in the wood bits.
They are great for grilling and smoking as they burn cleaner than briquettes that use chemicals as binders, added flavor, or lighters.
There is also lower smoke with natural charcoal briquettes and minimal ash so they are easier to clean.
All-natural ingredients made out of hardwood also tend to burn longer than the briquettes with too many chemicals, but how long exactly?
How Long Do Briquettes Burn?
Good quality charcoal briquettes burn for up to 5 hours with consistent heat. That is why charcoal briquettes are great for long cooking processes like smoking.
Compared to lump charcoal that burns only an hour or 2 hours maximum, charcoal briquettes burn longer.
Some charcoal briquettes that are not made from hardwood or have many chemical additives burn shorter at 1.5 hours or 2 hours.
It is best to go with charcoal briquettes made from hardwood and all-natural additives to get a longer burn time.
So yes, they can maintain an even temperature for a long time but how hot do charcoal briquettes burn?
What Temperature Do Briquettes Burn At?
Charcoal briquettes ignite at a temperature of over 600 degrees Fahrenheit and can get up to temperatures of up to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit.
A full firebox of charcoal briquettes can get the grill to a temperature of up to 800-1000 degrees Fahrenheit, enough to cook pizzas in just 1 minute.
If the goal is to cook low and slow, then the charcoal briquettes can easily come to lower temperatures by reducing the number of briquettes used.
Charcoal briquettes can maintain temperatures as low as 225 degrees Fahrenheit, perfect for smoking meat.
This is one of the many reasons I love using charcoal briquettes as they can cook almost anything.
Your next barbecue will sure be amazing with the help of the best charcoal briquettes like Kingsford in cooking steaks, briskets, hotdogs, burgers, and many more!