Video: How to Choose Charcoal

Learn about the difference between lump charcoal and briquets.
 

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When you're using a charcoal barbecue, you need to choose your heat source; lump charcoal or briquettes. Don't worry. You got this. Each type of charcoal has its own benefits. Lump charcoal, which is naturally irregular in shape and size, is the purest form available made without any additives. It lights quickly, cooks hotter, and leaves less ash behind than briquettes, which is helpful if you're cooking on a grill that doesn't have a lot of space for ash to collect. It also gives your food that delicious smoky flavor often associated with charcoal barbecues. Briquettes are made from the bits of charcoal leftover when lumps are created. Additives are used to bind everything together and create uniform pieces of charcoal. Briquettes don't burn as hot as lumps, but they do last much longer. Your decision should depend on what you want to grill and how long it will take. If you want to get a good sear on a steak, lump charcoal will give you the extra heat and help you seal in the meat's juices. Briquettes, on the other hand, will serve you well if you're grilling fish, slowly cooking pork tenderloin, or cooking for a crowd at a picnic. Consider combining lump charcoal and briquettes to get the best of both worlds. The right charcoal will help you take your grill game to the next level. Don't worry. You got this.
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