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The Best Charcoal Briquettes for 2021

Plenty of people don’t really care about the contents of a bag, they just pick whatever is conveniently priced, but it’s not a good approach.

Remember one thing, you get what you pay for, so to put it simply, cheap charcoal briquette is not something you’d really like to use, you’ll see why once you learn its composition and quality.

High quality charcoal briquette makes it possible to cook for much longer, leaves much less ash and is guaranteed not to have any chemical additives or unwanted elements.

In this guide you will learn the difference in charcoal briquette as well as the shopping guidelines. To make it easier for you, I have also prepared a list of several best charcoal briquettes available on the market right now.

The Best Charcoal Briquettes for 2021

Depending on what you want to do, grilling or smoking, you have to choose the right charcoal. For fast cooking and at higher temperatures, lump charcoal will be much better, whereas for smoking with regular grills a better choice is charcoal briquette.

A relatively cheap, very easily available and effective charcoal briquette from Kingsford.

It burns slightly faster and holds high temperature for a shorter time but in terms of price per bag compared to better manufacturers it holds a better place.

It starts burning pretty fast, needs about 15 minutes to reach high enough temperature. Sadly, it leaves quite a lot of ash so I would advise against smoking with it on a grill that needs to avoid ash (for example a kamado grill).

Kingsford Original Charcoal Briquettes

The amount of fillers is adequate to the price, you can’t get the best quality for this kind of price.

It’s a classic that combines the key advantages of charcoal – price, availability and effectiveness. It can be bought easily pretty much everywhere, thanks to its low price and easy availability it has earned the first place in my ranking.

If you’re thinking about simple and fast grilling and want to save some money then don’t hesitate for a moment.

What I Like:

  • Very cheap
  • Available everywhere
  • decent temperature and burning time

What I Don’t Like

  • a lot of ash

It is advertised by the manufacturer as premium charcoal briquette that burns hotter and longer while only taking 15 minutes before you can start cooking.

I can 100% confirm those claims as that’s what this briquette really is like. Remember that quality isn’t cheap. Compared to Kingsford Original Charcoal Briquettes, it costs as much as three times more per 1 pound.

During the first stage, it can reach very high temperatures for about the first 30-40 minutes of burning. Then the temperature starts gradually dropping but it is still high enough until the end of burning.

Royal Oak Ridge Briquettes

It is perfect for every opportunity, for grilling and for smoking, although personally I recommend it more for smoking.

The advantage in form of burning time makes it a good choice for long smoking. Especially that this briquette has composition of good quality, which means that the food won’t have a weird smell/taste.

It is actually medium tier charcoal briquette that makes great alternative to the Kingsford that I suggested earlier if you want better in form of higher temperature and longer burning time.

What I Like:

  • Still not bad price for premium charcoal
  • Very good flavor
  • Very high temperatures and long burning time

What I Don’t Like

  • Produces a bit more ash

A great option, top-pier when it comes to quality but there is one problem – the availability is very limited which makes it hard to buy locally, the solution is to purchase online.

It is characterized by hot and long burning while its high quality composition allows it to produce much less ash, statistically below the average for all the competitive products.

Stubb’s all Natural Bar-B-Q Briquets is a 100-Percent all natural charcoal without any additives, fillers and chemicals present with most competitive manufacturers.

Stubb’s all Natural Bar-B-Q Briquets

The high quality charcoal works much better during cooking, especially smoking. It gives food an intense and characteristic wood-grilled flavor – that’s possibly the greatest advantage of natural charcoal briquettes.

If it’s top quality then it also has to be very expensive, that’s just a fact and we have to admit that it costs several times as much per bag as the common and easily available Kingsford Original Charcoal Briquettes.

Due to the high price, I suggest only using Stubb’s all Natural Bar-B-Q Briquets for special cooking, especially of expensive meat or simply very important smoking to you, while for classic, fast grilling you can use something much cheaper.

What I Like:

  • Top quality, 100% natural
  • Hot and long burning
  • Produce much less ash
  • Best for smoking
  • The best flavor

What I Don’t Like

  • Very High Price
  • Very hard to buy locally

4. Best Natural: Weber Charcoal Briquettes

I have to admit that charcoal briquette from Weber is good and I can recommend it but it is certainly not brilliant and lacks a lot compared to the best on the market, although it will certainly be one hundred times better than regular supermarket-brand charcoal from an unknown brand.

A huge advantage is composition – the manufacturer claims it to be 100% natural without any chemical additives.

Another huge advantage is definitely the availability of this Weber briquette, you can get it easily in many places. Yet another advantage is its relatively low price, it is not the cheapest but it’s certainly competitive especially considering the quality.

Weber Charcoal Briquettes

In practice, briquette from Weber is characterized by very long burning time as well as fairly high and constant temperature, although it leaves quite a lot of ash which is however characteristic to most briquette manufacturers.

In terms of price it stands pretty well but remember that what matters the most is quality. Avoid briquette that contains chemicals, it is better to pay a little more and be sure rather than eat food with distinctive “funny” taste, which on top of that is also unhealthy.

What I Like:

  • Good for grilling
  • Without any chemical additives
  • Easily available in stores

What I Don’t Like

  • Produce a bit more ash

What to look for in charcoal Briquettes

The right shape – Uniform chunks of charcoal are easier to arrange which is convenient when you use different cooking methods.

As little fillers as possible – Look for the “Hardwood” label which confirms that briquette is made of better quality wood. Check the amount of fillers as well, which cause briquette to burn faster and leave behind much more ash. Overall, briquette is characterized by bigger amount of ash but it can be largely limited by using high quality charcoal.

Small amount of dust and particles on the bottom of the bag – Sadly, you can only check it after you open the bag, if it happens to you then it means poorer quality. Good briquette doesn’t crumble, is solid and maintains its shape.

Avoid lighter fluid – If you decide to cook without paying attention to those warnings then get prepared for the meat to gain a weird “chemical” taste and smell. All lighter fluids and similar things are nothing but chemicals that are advertised as a way to get the charcoal burning fast and easily. In reality, there’s a number of equally easy, cheap and fast methods that don’t utilize any chemical agents (charcoal chimney starter + paper + paraffin cubes etc).

Why choose charcoal briquettes?

You already know very well that besides charcoal briquettes you can also choose lump charcoal, which differs a lot.