Outdoor, BBQ

Barbecue debates: charcoal versus briquettes

Nothing signals more that summer has started than the smell of barbecue in the air. But as our grills heat up, so does the eternal debate: charcoal or briquettes? All barbecue adepts have their own preference. Nevertheless, both charcoal and briquettes have their pros and cons and a lot depends on what food you’ll be preparing. 

Lump charcoal

Lump charcoal is a natural product. It only consists of wood, which has been burnt without oxygen. It’s faster to light and burns hotter than briquettes. Also, there’s less ash to clean up afterwards. If your barbecue has air vents, its easier to control the temperature than when using briquettes. That being said, once its reached its peak temperature charcoal quickly loses its heat and thus burns faster than briquettes. You’ll have to refill more frequently, while charcoal is more expensive than briquettes.

Therefore, lump charcoal is ideal if you want to sear your meat quickly, for example when grilling a steak or a burger. Lump charcoal is often made from hardwoods, which give off that distinct smoky wood aroma to your food. 

Charcoal briquettes

Briquettes are a lot cheaper than charcoal. They’re made from wood by-products compressed with additives. Some of those additives can be unhealthy and give off a chemical smell. It’s a good idea to do your research and check the ingredients on the package to make sure you’re using natural briquettes. Some briquettes are also friendlier to the environment: high quality coconut briquettes don’t require any trees to be cut. Though briquettes take longer to heat they also last longer and give-off a more consistent heat than charcoal. 

Briquettes are a good idea when you’re slow cooking, like smoking or roasting, for example to prepare pulled pork. Also, if you’re throwing a big barbecue party where the barbecue has to stay lit for hours on end, briquettes can come in handy.

Instant lighting charcoal

It might sound appealing to speed up the process, but any type of instant charcoal is to be avoided at all costs. It contains unhealthy chemical additives and will give off a bad chemical taste to your food. 

If you want to speed up the barbecue process, there’s a better alternative: with a Coolado ePump lighting your barbecue will take 5 minutes instead of 45. No unhealthy chemicals involved. 

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