The Best Charcoal Briquettes for Grilling and Smoking

Cooking is an art, and one of the fundamentals of excellent cooking is heat management. The transfer of heat energy into your food significantly alters the chemical makeup and in extension, the taste of your food.

If done right, you will get food that is tasty, nutritious, with enhanced juiciness, flavors, and composition. But, if done wrong, you will either settle for burnt meat or end up with raw meat.

Choosing the right heat source is very important, and that’s the reason we have reviewed the best charcoal briquettes for grilling and smoking and provided other helpful information to inform your buying decision.

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A Comparison Chart of the Best Charcoal Briquettes

Companies manufacturing briquettes are not in the business for a quick sale, it is a constant purchase marketplace, and they strive to have good quality products for the price they sell it.

However, though they look similar, as in all things, they are not all created equal. Thus, some briquettes are better than others.

The top 3 charcoal briquettes are described in the table below.

Editor's Choices
MUXI 4PCS Portable Grilling Charcoal Briquettes, 3 Seconds to Light, Sustainable Burning for 120...*
100% natural
Fast Lighting
Best Feature
No fumes and they are odorless
Prime
Customer Rating's
Price
$25.99
Kingsford Original Charcoal Briquettes, 7.7 Pound Bag (Pack of 2) (Packaging May Vary)*
100% natural
Fast Lighting
Best Feature
Sure Fire Groove
Prime
-
Customer Rating's
Price
from $17.99
Best Selling
COCO-BBQ Eco-Friendly Barbecue Charcoal Made from Coconut Shells for Low and Slow Grilling*
100% natural
Fast Lighting
Best Feature
GMO-Free
Prime
-
Customer Rating's
Price
from $31.99

7 Of the Best Charcoal Briquettes

MUXI 4PCS Grilling Charcoal Briquettes – The Top-Rated Charcoal Briquettes

The name and the cool individual plastic packaging give these charcoal briquettes a worthy mention on this list. But it doesn’t get any better when you know that this product is a top-quality product. Plus it takes just 3 seconds for lighting the briquettes.

Easy, light charcoal briquettes are made from 100% natural materials, which include; corn starch adhesives, botanical combustion improver, and natural charcoal powder. It is an eco-friendly product, and will not taint the taste of your food nor alter its chemical composition. You will only get clean smoke and less ash.

The MUXI Portable Grilling Charcoal Briquettes don’t require an ignition fuel. Use a long lighter, ignite the front part of the charcoal, and in three seconds, you will be ready to start cooking. This also saves you the stress of needing to ignite with hay or firewood before use.

This product has an individual plastic packaging that is dust, moisture-proof, and rugged. It is easy to take on a camping trip, allowing you to prepare your BBQ anywhere, anytime. With the rapid ignition technology, it comes with, you and your family will be spared waiting hungrily to get the light started.

The MUXI Portable Grilling Charcoal Briquettes have a wide range of uses.

However, they should not be used indoors or in any other poorly ventilated room because of the possible carbon monoxide poisoning.

Pros
  • Easy to light 
  • Individual plastic packaging
  • Does not require the use of ignition fuels
  • Made from 100% natural material
Cons
  • Can’t be used in a poorly ventilated room

Kingsford Original Charcoal Briquettes – The Charcoal Briquettes with Sure Fire Grooves For a Fast Lighting

Kingsford is the brand of briquettes used for grilling and other related cooking. It is a company began by Henry Ford, and the #1 best-selling brand for charcoal briquettes in North America.

Kingsford makes many different formulations, but the original charcoal briquettes are their bread-and-butter. There is a possibility that you have been to a barbecue where these briquettes were the charcoal of choice.

The Kingsford Original Charcoal Briquettes will make your grilling easy and fun. They come with Sure Fire Grooves that have edges for fast lighting. Also, these coals heat quickly after ignition. In about 15 minutes, you will be ready to start cooking.

They are made from 100% natural wood and natural ingredients thus, the product generates authentic smoky flavor. These natural, high-quality additives also ensure long burn performance, helping you grill your meat longer than other conventional charcoal brands.

The briquettes come in a 7.7-pound bag, making it perfect for picnics, and tailgate grilling. With the Kingsford Original Charcoal Briquettes, all your cookouts will be delicious.

This product, like many other premium brands, comes with cost-reducing fillers, but they are all-natural. It does not contain any lighter fluid or chemicals, and all ingredients used in the manufacturing process are sourced within North America.

The Kingsford Original Charcoal Briquettes won’t burn as hot or as long as some other premium brands, but they are more than sufficient to cater to your typical campground or backyard barbecue.

Pros
  • 100% natural wood and ingredients
  • Comes in a 7.7-pound bag
  • Sure Fire Grooves for a fast lighting
Cons
  • Does not burn as hot and as long as some other premium brands

COCO Eco-Friendly Barbecue Charcoal – The Charcoal Briquettes Made From Coconut Shells

The COCO Eco-Friendly Barbecue Charcoal offers something different from the regulars. Instead of the usual American hardwood charcoal, these charcoal briquettes are made from all-natural compressed coconut shells. This helps save trees as well.

These eco-friendly products are organic, GMO-Free, and burn 3x longer than regular hot coals and charcoal. This is due to its coco moisture, which creates a well-balanced medium between burning with too much smoke and not enough.

With the COCO-BBQ Charcoal, you only need to use half the amount of these charcoal briquettes per grill compared to other traditional brands. One briquette roll pack is sufficient for one grilling session (although, this will depend on the grilling and party size).

These eco-friendly briquettes aid in cooking to perfection. They will enrich your food with refreshing flavor and bold taste.

And if you have a backyard garden, the ash from these charcoal briquettes can work as a 100% natural fertilizer to nourish your plants. The packaging of the briquettes is tidy, and the shape they come in makes loading the charcoal chimney easy.

However, they burn really low and slow.

Pros
  • GMO-Free
  • Made from all-natural compressed coconut shells
  • With less, you get more
  • Enriches your food with rich flavor and refreshing, bold taste
Cons
  • Burn low and slow

Original Natural Charcoal Hardwood Briquettes – The Chef-Grade Charcoal Briquettes

Want to stay slim and fit by eating healthy food you enjoy? With these 100% natural charcoal briquettes, it’s possible. This way, you will be free from cancer-causing carcinogens while still able to grill and eat your favorite meal.

While other briquettes take forever to get lit, burn and then smell badly after the painful wait; Original Natural Charcoal Hardwood Briquettes are made from natural premium materials, and light up really quick without producing a spark, smoke, and producing minimum ash.

This means in less than 10 minutes, you can set up your barbecue, and with a couple more minutes, you will be serving recipes infused with a delicious smoky, sweet, and delightful flavor.

Because these charcoal briquettes are made from 100% natural hardwood briquettes, the first thing you will notice is how easy they burn. You won’t need a lighter fluid or any synthetic chemical to ignite.

This chef-grade briquette charcoal is produced with pitmasters and barbecue lovers in mind. Whether you are competing against one of the best pitmasters in the world or looking to prepare a lovely meal for your family, this charcoal will help you make a barbecue that will rival high-end diners.

If for any reason, this charcoal fails to meet your cooking expectations, it comes with a 30 days 100% refund guarantee. So, what do you have to lose?

Pros
  • Light up quick
  • Made from 100% all-natural hardwood
  • No fillers and additives
  • Chef grade
Cons
  • They burn fast

Kingsford Charcoal Briquettes – The Long-Lasting Charcoal Briquettes

The Kingsford Charcoal Briquettes are easy to use and contain 100% natural materials. They are made with real hardwood and contain zero synthetic additives. You won’t incur an additional expense on a lighter fluid as this product does not require any. This is because it features a Sure Fire Grooves that allows for easy lighting.

These charcoal briquettes are also great at keeping a uniform heat spread in your smoker and do not burn out quickly. Thus, they are perfect for sporting events like tailgating, backyard parties’ picnics, and camping.

With these briquettes, you will get a perfectly crisp, smoky flavor in your meats, which won’t be annoyingly overwhelming. However, some users have difficulty using these charcoal briquettes as the instructions for use can be confusing to newbies.

The Kingsford Charcoal Briquettes also ignite quickly, and the fire can get up to 12 inches in height instantly. Managing this fire may be challenging for people new to smoking, but as a pro, this won’t be much of a problem.

This single-use bag is convenient and portable to use, which allows you to grill your food anywhere.

However, despite zero chemical additives, some users have complained about a chemical taste and smell when this charcoal is used for cooking.

Pros
  • Consistent heat
  • Contains 100% natural materials
  • Easy lighting
  • Inexpensive
Cons
  • Learning curves vary with directions
  • Strong odor

Bayou Classic 500-416 – The Charcoal Briquettes Made From 100% High-Density Hardwood

The Bayou Classic is not a household name as the other brands on the list, but it consistently ranks near the top with many positive reviews. These are high-quality briquettes made from high-density hardwood charcoal.

The Bayou Classic 500-416 burns hotter than many conventional briquettes on the market, so get ready to sear like a pitmaster. It burns longer, too –a lot longer. This offers superior smoking and grilling performance.

In addition to burning long, these briquettes are bound together with a 100% natural cornstarch, and they don’t contain any synthetic filler such as chemical additives, sawdust, or crushed limestone. With these briquettes, you will enjoy true grilling flavor devoid of chemical taste and aroma.

It also comes with an enhanced ridge in the middle of each charcoal, which makes lighting super-fast. They heat up quickly too, meaning, there will be less waiting time to get started with your cooking.

This product doesn’t contain coal, and very little of anything else, except high-density hardwood, which translates to clean and nice, natural smoke flavor anytime you cook.

However, some users complain it is difficult to ignite the first time.

Pros
  • 100% natural briquettes
  • Produce less ash
  • Infuse natural grilling flavor to food
  • Consistent burn and long-lasting
Cons
  • Difficult to ignite the first time

Jack Daniels Whiskey Barrel Charcoal Briquets by Frontiers – The Charcoal Briquettes with A Distinct Jack Daniels Taste

Jack Daniels is a Tennessee whiskey brand and the best-selling American whiskey in the world. It is produced in Lynchburg by the Jack Daniel Distillery. The manufacturer of these briquettes, Frontier, instead of using hardwood or scrap wood in making these briquettes, used Jack Daniels whiskey barrels.

Having been thoroughly soaked by the wine for long periods, the barrels are brought to their manufacturing factory, where they undergo heating processes until charcoal is produced. To make charcoal briquettes, these charcoals are grounded into dust and molded into a particular size.

The charcoals are re-heated to remove moisture, making it hard and dry. They are packaged and sealed, and in that way, we got the Jack Daniels Whiskey Barrel Charcoal Briquettes.

Originally, the Jack Daniels whiskey barrels are made from oak wood, so the quality of the wood is very good and burns well. The quality of the briquettes is very high. They are not too small or too big. And because they are made from aged Jack Daniels whiskey barrels, your meat will get that distinct Jack Daniels taste. This makes it savory and very delicious.

The charcoal briquettes are easy to light up. They require only a little quantity of fuel if any, and they produce enough smoke.

However, the size of the package is small compared to the price it’s been sold.

Pros
  • Perfect sized briquettes
  • Made from Jack Daniels whiskey barrels
  • Easy to light up
  • Burn longer than ordinary charcoal
Cons
  • May require little quantity of fuel to light up.

What Is Correct - Briquette or Briquet?

best charcoal for smoking

Both spellings are used interchangeably online by users and manufacturers, and you may wonder what the correct spelling is.

It is a French word, and the original spelling is “briquette,” which means “small brick.” The spelling briquet is the Americanized version of the original (We wonder why it’s not spelled as “brickette” instead).

Anyway, both spellings are acceptable, but as a French word, the briquette is pronounced “brick-ay.”

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What’s The Difference between Briquettes and Lump Charcoal?

Charcoal comes in two primary forms: briquettes and lump charcoal. What’s the difference? They both have peculiarities and differences, pros, and cons.

The answer will help you determine the best for your cooking experience.

1. Briquettes

Briquettes are an excellent choice for smokers. They last longer and maintain a steady hot temperature for longer periods. They are usually made from sawdust, and often have additives like coal, cornstarch and many more.

Briquettes are mostly cheaper than lump charcoal, but this can be a result of additives like lighter fluid in them.

Briquettes come in small compact forms and consistent shapes which makes it easier to arrange them flat in a smoker. However, briquettes are a bit more difficult to light than lump charcoal and produce more ash.

2. Lump Charcoal

best charcoal for weber kettle

Lump charcoal is pure charcoal that is free from additives. It is made by burning wood without oxygen, the process drives off all moisture and residual gases, leaving behind pure carbon, often in the shape of the wood piece that was processed.

You won’t find two bags of lump charcoal containing the same sized pieces. It is more expensive, burns faster, and it’s hotter than briquettes. Lump charcoal is more natural and purer, it contains no additives whatsoever.

You need more experience and close supervision to use lump charcoal for cooking. You may run into problems if you do not know how to adjust your air vents on your smoker when it burns very hot.

What to Consider When Buying the Best Charcoal Briquettes

Before picking the best charcoal briquettes for your grill, the following are factors to consider.

1. Time

Consider the time you want to spend grilling your meat to decide what type of charcoal briquettes to buy. While briquettes generally take a bit longer to light, some heat and light faster than others. Some briquettes will grill your meat in about 30 minutes, while others may require a longer amount of time.

Ensure whatever briquettes you choose will fit well into your pre-planned cooking time frame.

2. Beware of Synthetic Additives

Cheaper brands of briquettes will often add synthetic additives like lighter fluid to their products. Not only will this introduce a chemical taste to your food, but it is also bad for your health and the environment.

These additives will increase your cooking time because you need to wait for the fluid to burnout before you can cook.

3. Temperature

Temperature plays a significant role in the ultimate taste of your food. Settle for a briquette that burns uniformly and maintains a steady heat for long periods. Learn how to control your air vents if the briquettes get too hot for your meat.

Ingredients in Charcoal Briquettes

Manufacturers use different types of ingredients in making their briquettes. A small one-man-band briquette maker will likely use a set of ingredients sourced locally.

In general, the ingredients used in making briquettes will fall into one or more in the following categories.

weber charcoal briquettes
  • Release agent – borax
  • Filler – silica, clay, soil, etc.
  • Colorant – lime, calcium carbonate, and limestone
  • Accelerants – sawdust, waxes, and sodium nitrate
  • Binder – all types of starch, clay, kaolin, and cement
  • Heat fuel – biomass, coal, mineral carbon, charcoal fines, and wood charcoal.

Conclusion

Whether you are new to smoking, or already a pro, your charcoal briquettes of choice can affect your entire meal. All the products in the review above are top quality. They will give you a good burn time, and leave little ash behind.

For the best quality and to achieve a rich smoky flavor, we recommend the MUXI Portable Grilling Charcoal Briquettes. They are easy to light and made from 100% natural materials. You do not need an ignition fuel to start cooking, saving you the stress of needing to ignite with hay or firewood before use.

Sale
MUXI 4PCS Portable Grilling Charcoal Briquettes, 3 Seconds to Light, Sustainable Burning for 120...*
  • Product Information: 5.2 pounds of barbecue charcoal from 100% natural material (natural charcoal powder, corn starch adhesive and botanical combustion improver); 4 pcs per box; box size: 10.6x5.3x3.9...
  • Packaging: Box for outer packaging, individual plastic packaging; moisture-proof, dust-proof and long durability; Easy to take. Enjoy your barbecue anywhere any time, creating a sweet opportunity for...
  • Usage: Just use a long lighter to ignite the front part of the product. No lighter fluid or prep needed. It can be ignited in 3 seconds, effectively avoiding the trouble which needs the ignition with...
  • Features: No ignition fuels required, fast, clean, no fumes and odorless, won't produce harmful fumes if burned. The barbecue can be carried out 10-15 minutes after the ignition of surface. The...
  • Product Vision: Make BBQ easy for everyone and their family. Time of gathering is precious. More time can be spent on warm communication instead of waiting hungrily thanks to our new products with...

With the options above, you will experience little or no problem. Your grilling experience will be easy and smooth while still getting the best possible taste.

We love to hear about your charcoal-briquette-grilling experiences. Please feel free to use the comment box below.

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