Types of Charcoal Used for Grilling or Barbecue

For all who don’t know- barbecuing is so much more than just tossing meat over the grill. It’s an art that takes uncommon dedication to perfect the craft! If you’re firing up the backyard grill to cook sausages or to grill vegetables-and-paneer for our all-time favourite ‘paneer tikkas,’ then your preparations are merely done for the plain grilling. Because cooking the meat just right and adding the right blend of seasonings is a labour of love, and this art is called ‘barbecuing’.

It might astound you to know that every step involved in this process affects the taste and the dining experience, and to start off with this- the first step is to decide which charcoal to use for the grilling or barbecuing.

Charcoal can be categorized into the very first inventive achievements made by man.; it was used as early as 200,000 B.C. and is still used for cooking across the globe. However, in the present scenario, we now have various options to choose from. And to help you select the best for your cooking, we have curated a list of different types of charcoal that are made available in the market for barbecue and grilling purpose:

Lump Charcoal:

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Lump Charcoal is great for cooking on your outdoor grill or fire pit! It is made by burning wood in the absence of oxygen. It gets hot quickly (approx. in 10 or 15 minutes) and can sear food in seconds, browning the surface and scenting it with pure wood smoke aroma.

But, once a lump charcoal fire gets to its hottest point, it begins to lose heat rather quickly. So, you need to maintain a certain temperature range for cooking. And for that, the fire needs to be replenished. Fortunately, the lump charcoal lights and heats quickly; this way you can get a burst of heat within 5–10 minutes of adding additional unlit coals into in.

Try to buy lump charcoal from manufacturers like Indian Charcoal who offer bigger chunks which will make the burning process slightly longer. This type of fuel works very well for quick grilling (like with kebabs or tikkas) where high temperature is needed.

Charcoal Briquettes:

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Image by Lynn Greyling from Pixabay

Unlike the pure lump charcoal, briquettes are the by-products of wood which are compressed with additives that help them light and burn consistently. However, these additives give off a chemical smell when lit; but the smell can be get rid of when you let the briquettes burn alone till the white ash layer forms. Make sure to finish off with this procedure before you start cooking.

The biggest advantage of using briquettes is that it provides a more stable burn by maintaining a steady temperature for a more extended period.

Coconut Shell Charcoal:

buy coconut shell charcoal

As the name suggests, coconut shell charcoal is charcoal made from coconut shells. Besides its use as fuel, this charcoal is commonly used in hookah. A coconut shell charcoal is made of old coconut because it is denser and has less water content as compared to a young coconut.

The shells, when burned slowly without oxygen, produce charcoal, and the charring further removes the remaining water content. This entire procedure gives us a carbon-rich fuel that burns hot very efficiently.


To conclude, we would like to quote that:

“There is no such thing as the right or wrong charcoal —the fuel source truly depends on you as a griller!”

However, we do have a tip to share- If you’re going to grill for a longer time, say more than an hour, then we suggest you opt for charcoal briquettes or coconut shells charcoal. It is because these charcoals produce longer and more even heat source, which is better when grilling for extended periods. Anything less than that, calls for lump charcoal as the best suitable cooking fuel for a sumptuous barbecue experience!

Indian Charcoal manufactures charcoal using the best firewood grown on the private land without damaging the forest ecosystem. Our quality control is one of the reasons why we are regarded as one of the best quality charcoal manufacturers in the industry.

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