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Lump Charcoal and briquettes-BTU’s

BTU’s in Lump Charcoal and Charcoal Briquettes.  WOW, What a Difference!

I found this comment to one of my pages so interesting that I thought it would be a great idea to publish the following about lump charcoal and charcoal briquettes and the amount of energy or heat given off by each.  Take this into consideration next time you purchase lump charcoal and briquettes.  It just might surprise you.

One other thing to note that you will not find referenced often on the internet is BTU per pound. While lump is usually more expensive, you’re getting more BTU’s in the bag.

Nowadays “charcoal briquettes” contain less and less charcoal in them. They’re a lot of anthracites, sawdust, and other cheaper sources of BTU’s. Worst of all, most briquettes contain limestone–even the ones marked “professional”, “competition”, “all-natural”, etc. Between that, the starch, borax, sawdust, a higher moisture content, and everything that is NOT charcoal, it drives down the BTU/# usually to somewhere around 7000-9000 BTU/#.

Lump charcoal that is kilned to 80%+ carbonization, is anywhere from 10000-12000 BTU/#. For a good indication of what you paid for, look for the white smoke and the ash. When the ash weighs 40-50% of what you started with vs. lump which is less than 5-10%, you can see how much of what you bought truly burned. Carbon burns clear and leaves no ash. A 20# bag of good charcoal usually cooks down to less than 1# of ash or less than 1-qt by volume.

So don’t flinch at the higher price of lump, you’re using less of it in long run and cooking over 100% wood vs. a bunch of anthracite coal!!

U.S. made lump is the way to go!!

Conclusion.  Lump Charcoal gives you more heat and a better, cleaner burn than you will get from most briquettes.

This brings us to my recommendation when purchasing charcoal for your next grilling event.  After considering the facts on the differences between Lump Charcoal and Charcoal Briquettes, I don’t think there is much to decide.  Below are my recommendations.

Fogo Lump Charcoal

Royal Oak Charcoal

If you have any other recommendations or different experiences with lump charcoal or charcoal briquettes, please share with us.  I would love to check out what you have found out or what you might recommend.  Please let us know your thoughts.

2 thoughts on “Lump Charcoal and briquettes-BTU’s

  1. Huh… what?? Wait on a minute, woah. You know what? I never actually stopped and thought for a moment what EXACTLY goes into the type of fuel that I am burning on my BBQ. It was totally shocked and blown away by the items you listed like”starch, borax, sawdust, a higher moisture content, and everything that is NOT charcoal”.
    I thought charcoal was well…… just plain old charcoal. I will need to pay more attention to what I buy in the future. Thanks for the heads up!

    1. First of all, thanks for stopping by my site.

      It is true, everything you put in or on your fire that is directly below your food will in fact give a taste to the food above it.  So if you like hickory, pecan or apple woods, it would be a good idea to use a good smoking wood as mentioned to give that wonderful taste to your food.  Everyone eating your food would appreciate it as well.  

      If you choose to put garbage in your fire pit, then your food will also taste like garbage.  There are certain types of wood and other items that should never be placed on your fire.  Only sweet woods should be used for smoking.  The trash used in SOME charcoal briquettes are also damaging to your food.  Like I said in the post, it is amazing at what can be found in some of these briquettes.  I highly recommend lump charcoal with your favorite sweet wood for a little smoke.  Lump charcoal may cost a little more per bag but in the long run it will save you money.  It burns so much hotter and does not require as much product to get your food cooked.  It also burns so much cleaner and gives a spectacular taste to your foods.

      If you look at my site I have another post that show the different types of smoking woods and the recommended foods to use them with.  Good post.

      Thanks for stopping by and please come back for additional information and recipes for your next cookout.

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