7 Best Lump Charcoal Brands to Toss in Your Grill

May 11, 2023
Written by Kristy J. Norton

The best brand is the Kamado Joe Big Block XL lump charcoal. The large pieces ensure a longer and more consistent burn, the smoky flavor is absolutely delicious, and the solid pieces maintain their shape and size in the bag!

As an inexperienced cook, I wasn’t too concerned with the kind of lump charcoal I used. However, the longer that I hung out with grill masters, the more I realized that quality and flavor really do matter. Luckily for me, I was able to reach out to the best in the business to get their recommendations.

In this post, I will reveal the best lump charcoal brand as well as give you suggestions for runner up options. I have also included a buyer’s guide!

best lump charcoal

Comparison of the Lump Charcoal Brands

Preview
Best Overall
Kamado Joe KJ-CHAR30LB Big Block XL Lump...
Runner Up
Jealous Devil All Natural Hardwood Lump...
Best Budget Lump Charcoal
Masterbuilt® Premium Hardwood Lump Charcoal...
Flavor
Natural
Hickory
Natural
Wood Type
Guayacan, Guayaibi, Mistal, and White Quebracho
South American Hardwood
Hardwood
Weight (lbs)
30
35
16
Best Overall
Preview
Kamado Joe KJ-CHAR30LB Big Block XL Lump...
Flavor
Natural
Wood Type
Guayacan, Guayaibi, Mistal, and White Quebracho
Weight (lbs)
30
Runner Up
Preview
Jealous Devil All Natural Hardwood Lump...
Flavor
Hickory
Wood Type
South American Hardwood
Weight (lbs)
35
Best Budget Lump Charcoal
Preview
Masterbuilt® Premium Hardwood Lump Charcoal...
Flavor
Natural
Wood Type
Hardwood
Weight (lbs)
16
Preview
Fogo Super Premium Charcoal
FOGO Super Premium Oak Restaurant Quality...
Cowboy Lump Charcoal
Cowboy Easy Light Natural Hardwood Lump BBQ...
Rockwood All Natural Hardwood Charcoal
Rockwood Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal - 20...
Flavor
Natural
Hickory and Maple
Oak, Hickory, and Maple
Wood Type
Oak
Hickory and Maple Hardwood
Oak, Hickory, and Maple
Weight (lbs)
17.6
19
20
Fogo Super Premium Charcoal
Preview
FOGO Super Premium Oak Restaurant Quality...
Flavor
Natural
Wood Type
Oak
Weight (lbs)
17.6
Cowboy Lump Charcoal
Preview
Cowboy Easy Light Natural Hardwood Lump BBQ...
Flavor
Hickory and Maple
Wood Type
Hickory and Maple Hardwood
Weight (lbs)
19
Rockwood All Natural Hardwood Charcoal
Preview
Rockwood Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal - 20...
Flavor
Oak, Hickory, and Maple
Wood Type
Oak, Hickory, and Maple
Weight (lbs)
20

The Best Lump Charcoal Brands

Here are the top lump charcoal options for you to choose from for your charcoal grill:

1. Kamado Joe Big Block XL Lump Charcoal

Best Overall

Specs 

  • Flavor: Natural
  • Wood Type: Guayacan, Guayaibi, Mistal, and White Quebracho
  • Weight: 30lbs

Burns for Longer

As a fan of briskets and other large cuts of meat, I often need to grill or smoke foods for a long period of time, sometimes overnight. So, I need lump charcoal that can handle such long smoking sessions.

After putting this natural hardwood lump charcoal to the test, I found my winner. According to the company, this charcoal can last up to 18 hours. And, I discovered that the coals stay lit for this duration, ensuring that I don’t have to keep topping up the grill throughout!

The only thing to keep in mind here is that these lump charcoals are pretty large. As a result, they only work for large grills not small ones.

Produces Consistent Heat

Of course, a long burn is only half the battle, you also need to make sure that the lump charcoal produces the same level of heat throughout the cook. I used a thermometer to keep a close eye on the cooking temperature and was pleased to see that it is very consistent, making it easy to cook your food at a reliable rate.

Roasted Meat on the Grill

Great Flavor

One of the things that I appreciate about the Kamado charcoal is that it is made from all natural hardwood lump charcoal. Yes, it comes from a mix of woods but each of them are high quality. I can tell by the fact that the smoke is clean and infuses the food with a lovely flavor.

Durable Structure

This lump charcoal isn’t exactly cheap so I was happy to see that each piece was solidly constructed. And, as I worked my way through the bag, I noticed that there was almost no breakage or crumbling. Instead, they all held their shape and size well.

Pros

  • Large chunks that burn longer
  • Consistent temperature
  • Great flavor
  • Durable

Cons

  • Not suitable for smaller grills

2. Jealous Devil All Natural Hardwood Charcoal

Runner Up

Specs 

  • Flavor: Hickory
  • Wood Type: South American Wood
  • Weight: 35lbs

Excellent Burn Time

One of the main perks of the Jealous Devil all natural hardwood lump charcoal is that each bag consists of large chunks. As a result, they are able to burn for an extended period of time. Not only did this charcoal last for an entire cook when smoking brisket, but it continued to stay heated for several hours more!

I also like the fact that the lump charcoal produces minimal ash. I really don’t like cleaning up after a cook but this coal does make this easier.

Consistent Burn Rate

One of the main advantages of such large chunks of lump charcoal is that the coal burns evenly. This means a more consistent temperature throughout the cook, regardless of whether you are grilling or smoking.

What I like about this consistent rate is that I can better predict when my food will be done. This is handy when cooking for a large crowd.

The large size of the lump charcoal does come with a downside. If you have a smaller grill, these pieces may not fit.

Great Infusion of Flavor

I love that this lump charcoal produces just the right amount of hickory smoky flavor. On the one hand, the taste is just enough to infuse the food with a hint of the hickory hardwood. At the same time, it isn’t strong enough to overpower whatever it is your cooking, even with milder meats.

This is my personal favorite for brisket.

Affordable Price

Right now, this hardwood lump charcoal costs a little over a dollar for a pound of charcoal – this isn’t too bad at all! This is especially since this is some of the best charcoal I have tried in a long time.

Pros

  • Longer burn time
  • Consistent temperatures
  • Great smoky flavor
  • Good value

Cons

  • Pieces may be too big for smaller grills

3. Masterbuilt Lump Charcoal

Best Budget Lump Charcoal

Specs 

  • Flavor: Natural
  • Wood Type: Hardwood
  • Weight: 16lbs

Budget Friendly

There is no denying that when you look for the best charcoal that you often end up paying a pretty price. If you are looking for a good quality lump charcoal that will not break the bank, then Masterbuilt is the brand for you!

It offers up a great grilling and low and slow cooking experience, just at a lower cost.

Quick to Light

One of my favorite things about this brand is that it is a quick to light lump charcoal without the need for lighter fluid. The fire gets going within a very short period of time and this means that your cook gets going faster too.

Unfortunately, this does come with a small problem – the fire also goes out a little faster too. Due to this, you may need to top up your grill a bit sooner than you like for longer cooks.

Flaming Charcoal Grill and Golden Grilled Meat

Great Smoky Flavor

When you taste what this lump charcoal is able to cook up, you won’t be able to tell that you are cooking with a cheaper brand. It has a clean, smoky taste and it is versatile enough to work for everything from chicken to brisket.

Pros

  • Good budget choice
  • Easy to light
  • Great flavor

Cons

  • Fire goes out more quickly

4. No products found.

Best for Ceramic Grills

No products found.

Specs 

  • Flavor: Oak and Hickory
  • Wood Type: Oak and Hickory Hardwood
  • Weight: 20lbs

Ideal for Ceramic Grills

Considering that the Big Green Egg is one of the best known ceramic grills, it isn’t too surprising to discover that this natural hardwood lump charcoal is just right for this kind of grill.

So, if you want to get the most out of what your Big Green Egg has to offer, I would advise with sticking to this brand.

That being said, this is easily the most expensive brand on the list. So, if you are on a budget you may need to look elsewhere.

Good Burn Time

This natural hardwood lump charcoal does consist of larger lumps. Due to this, it is able to burn for a longer period of time. When I put this lump charcoal to the test, I found that it was able to last the entire length of a slow cooking process for pork butt without needing to refill the grill.

Consistent Temperature

I also appreciated the fact that the pieces were of similar sizes. Due to this, they all burned at a similar rate, keeping both the heat as well as the cooking rate consistent. This makes it especially great for more delicate meats like chicken and turkey.

Great Flavor

I love the flavor of this hardwood lump charcoal. The hickory and oak lump charcoal balance each out perfectly and gives the food a robust flavor without going overboard.

Pros

  • Great for ceramic grills
  • Great burn time
  • Consistent temps
  • Good flavor

Cons

  • Expensive

No products found.

5. Fogo Super Premium Charcoal

Specs 

  • Flavor: Natural
  • Wood Type: Oak
  • Weight: 17.6lbs

High Heat

One of my favorite things about this lump charcoal is that it is able to produce really high heat. As a result, it is great for searing meat, especially steaks. I didn’t really find another lump charcoal that gave me the same kind of burn.

The only issue is that the consistency is a little off as there are differently sized lumps in the bag. So, you do have to pick, choose, and match the lumps if you want a consistent burn.

Longer Burning Time

Despite the inconsistency, there are enough of large chunks of charcoal to keep your grill burning for quite a while. I tried this charcoal out with everything from chicken to pork butts and found that it lasted for most of the cook.

Grilling Meat on a Lump Charcoal Grill

Great Flavor

I really love the flavor of this lump charcoal. It is strong enough to work well with beef but still mild enough to not overpower more delicate meats like chicken. So, it is a good option for a versatile lump charcoal.

Pros

  • High heat
  • Long burns
  • Great flavor

Cons

  • Irregular sized charcoal

6. Cowboy Lump Charcoal

Specs

  • Flavor: Hickory and Maple
  • Wood Type: Hickory and Maple Hardwood
  • Weight: 19lbs

Long Burn Time

As with all the other lump charcoals on this list, I made sure to put this brand through its paces. So, I fired up a pork butt to see if a full grill could get me to the end of the cook without an refills. And, I am happy to report that this lump charcoal made it across the finish line without any trouble at all!

Consistent Cooking Rate

Now, I do need to start off with the downside here. The charcoal does come in irregular sizes. Due to this, you will get an inconsistent cook if you simply dump the coal into the grill without sorting them out.

However, if you do make the effort to separate them by size, then you will be able to get a nice and consistent cook time and time again.

Great Flavor

As far as flavors go, I have to say that this Cowboy hardwood lump charcoal does produce the best flavorful smoke. I love that the sweetness of the maple balanced out the slight bitterness of the hickory. This also makes this lump charcoal an excellent option for all kinds of meat!

Pros

  • Long burn time
  • Consistent cooking temp
  • Great flavor

Cons

  • Inconsistent sizes of charcoal

7. Rockwood All Natural Hardwood Charcoal

Specs

  • Flavor: Oak, Hickory, and Maple
  • Wood Type: Oak, Hickory, and Maple
  • Weight: 20lbs

Great Quality Hardwood

A lot of charcoal brands are hesitant to provide much information about how their wood is sourced and how the charcoal is produced. This isn’t the case with Rockwood charcoal, however.

Their hardwood is sourced from Missouri and comes from high quality trees. In turn, this produces clean and durable charcoal lumps that burn well. I was personally impressed at how well this lump charcoal burns.

The only issue with this coal is that it is largely made up of smaller pieces. Due to this, the burn time isn’t as long and you may need to top up your grill more often.

Good Temperature Control

Even though this charcoal does consist of smaller pieces, the burn rate is quite consistent. Due to this, the temperature remains constant throughout the cook. In turn, your food cooks at a predictable rate and it is easier to tell when it will be done.

Making Kebab with Lump Charcoal

Great Flavor

The flavor with this charcoal is absolutely delicious. One of the reasons for this is because the coal is of a higher quality, producing a cleaner smoke. The other reason is that there is a beautiful blend of hickory, maple, and oak.

Due to this, you do get a nice robust smoke but it softened by the oak. And, the maple adds a nice bit of sweetness into the mix as well. As a result, you can use this lump charcoal for any kind of meat and get a great taste!

Sustainably Produced

If you are looking for a lump charcoal that is better for the environment, then this is a good pick. Not only is the charcoal made from the leftovers from timber milling, but the coal is carefully burned as well. Even the bags that the col come in are sustainably produced.

Pros

  • High quality charcoal
  • Good temperature control
  • Great flavor
  • Sustainably sourced

Cons

  • Smaller pieces have shorter burn time

How to Choose the Right Lump Charcoal?

Here are some tips on choosing the best brand and type for you:

Pay Attention to Quality

I know that this advice can seem a little redundant considering that I just provided you with a list of the best charcoal brands. However, this statement is worth repeating.

The top lump charcoal brands can be a bit on the pricey side, I know. What you have to keep in mind, though, is that you are paying for quality.

The top brands use the best wood, fire the charcoal just right, and often only include good sized lumps of charcoal in the bag.

As a result of this, you get a longer burn time, more consistent temperatures, and a better flavor to boot.

Focus on the Burn Time

The good news is that if you do choose a quality lump charcoal, the burn times tend to be pretty good. Apart from this, however, it isn’t easy to always know just how long a particular brand will burn for.

In general, brands with larger chunks will burn for longer but, once again, you will need to buy and open up that bag to find this out.

Reading reviews should help you to figure out how long a particular brand can burn for.

Lump Charcoal Grill

Match the Lump Size to Your Grill

In general, larger lump charcoal pieces are better. This is because they tend to burn longer and more evenly. Not to mention, they tend to be more durable as well which means that they won’t break into smaller pieces in the bag.

That being said, these larger pieces aren’t suitable for every type of grill. This is why you need to examine or measure your grill before you purchase the charcoal.

If you have a smaller grill, then smaller chunks would be a better option for you. It is only if the grill has the capacity that you should consider large pieces.

Consider the Flavor

It can also be a good idea to think about the flavor that you want to cook with.

If you tend to cook with more delicate meats like chicken, turkey, or pork, then fruitwoods are a good option. This includes maple, although oak can be a good option as well.

If you want something more neutral, then you should consider natural flavored charcoal.

In case you are cooking meatier cuts like beef, then hickory is a good option.

Don’t want to settle for just one flavor? The blended options are a good idea. I like maple and hickory, or oak, maple, and hickory. This allows all the flavors to be balanced out, creating a mix that is both smoky and sweet at the same time.

The Final Verdict

So, there you go – the Kamado Joe lump charcoal is the best option for your grill. Thanks to the large pieces, this charcoal burns for longer and at a more consistent temperature. It also offers up a gorgeous smoky flavor and the larger pieces don’t break easily.

Of course, everyone has their own idea of what makes the best charcoal. Due to this, I would advise you to check out all of the brands on this list so that you can decide what the best option for you is!

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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