Choosing Charcoal Briquettes vs. Lump Charcoal
In the gastronomic world – where many campers spend at least some of their time – the debate over charcoal briquettes vs lump charcoal as the preferred fuel source for grilling and barbecuing rages on. Every backyard chef has a favorite dish.
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More Things To Know About The Fastest And Easiest Way To Light Lump Charcoal
However, picking one or the other isn't the greatest way to approach this debate. Both types of charcoal have their uses. All you need to know is which to use and when.
What Exactly Is Charcoal?
Charcoal briquettes are made by slicing pieces of hardwood into uniform shapes and sizes. After that, they are roasted in a special oven.
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Mineral char, mineral carbon, limestone, starch, borax, sodium nitrate, and sawdust are added to the char. After that, the mixture is molded, packaged, and sold.
As they burn away, none of these "additives" are found to be toxic or to provide flavor to food. (The complaint that briquettes give food cooked over them an "off" flavor is really about "easy-start" briquettes that have lighting chemicals sprinkled throughout.)
Lump charcoal is small chunks of hardwood roasted in the same manner as briquette charcoal, but without any added additives or shape.
Even within the same bag, the size and shape of individual bits of lump charcoal vary substantially.
Lumps vs. Briquettes
Charcoal briquettes are a more consistent piece to piece since they are "manufactured." They burn more evenly, more slowly, and at a lower temperature.
Briquettes should be used for any purpose where you will be cooking for an extended amount of time - say, more than 45 minutes.
When it comes to Dutch oven cooking, employing briquettes is a science in terms of both temperature and cooking time.
Briquettes are a good, all-purpose option. So, how should you light lump charcoal?
Lump charcoal burns more hotly and quickly than briquettes. There are occasions when that's exactly what you want, such as when searing a steak or cooking in harsh winter temperatures when it can be difficult to bring the grill up to the necessary searing temperature.
Lump charcoal burns faster because it burns hotter. This type of charcoal is already substantially more expensive pound for pound, so if you grill frequently, you'll notice the price difference even more.
You can stretch the lump farther if you use a super-efficient porcelain grill. If "no additives" is a must, lump is the only way to go.
Avoid using lighter fluids, regardless of whatever option you choose. Use a starter chimney or a blowtorch, such as the Bernzomatic Campfire Torch, to provide direct flame. When you burn lump charcoal, there will be nothing in the way that will make your food taste bad.