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Become King of the Grill with flavorful and easy burning charcoal

The way to become a grill master is to choose quality charcoal to cook over. Lump, briquettes, and wood pellets all have their way of bringing flavor and smokiness to your cookout. Here are our picks for the best charcoal for grilling. We’ve even included some charcoal starter so you’ll have everything for grilling.

Best overall

Kamado Joe KJ-Char Big Block Charcoal – 20 lbs

Staff Pick

The Kamado Joe grilling charcoal is large lumps rather than small briquettes. This means you use less while still getting a hot grill and good flavor. They don’t burn as fast, either, so you can use these charcoal lumps up to three times. Or, use them once and burn them for an impressive 18 hours. This charcoal is made from a blend of four different hardwoods.

$39 at Amazon

Best value

Kingsford Original Charcoal Briquettes, Two 12-pound Bags

Kingsford charcoal briquettes heat up fast and are ready to use in about 15 minutes. It’s made with natural ingredients including hardwood to create a great, smokey charcoal taste. You can cook over the open flames or wait until the charcoal is just embers. This two-pack is also a good deal and a great way to stock up for the summer.

$27 at Amazon

Best hardwood pellets

Bear Mountain BBQ All-Natural Hardwood Pellets – 20 lbs

Sometimes charcoal is used to describe any kind of tinder used in your open fire grill, including woodchips and pellets. If this is more your style of cooking, then we recommend the Bear Mountain wood pellets. There are 10 different flavors from 10 different types of trees to give your meats, veggies, and fish a variety of amazing, smoked flavor.

$17 at Amazon

Best lump charcoal

Cowboy Lump Charcoal – 20 lb

The Cowboy lump charcoal burns hot and fast and is great for searing meats. You don’t need to add lighter fluid to get this charcoal burning and it doesn’t give off any tastes or flavors typical of charcoal briquettes. Each lump is made from all-natural hardwood with a blend of several hardwoods including hickory, oak, and maple.

$25 at Amazon

Best hardwood

Fogo Super Premium Hardwood Charcoal

This charcoal comes in large lumps rather than briquettes, so it burns longer and you don’t need to use as much. It’s made from oak hardwood to give your food a great, smokey flavor that is on par with several BBQ restaurants. Because it is all-natural you can cook your food directly on the charcoal.

$33 at Amazon

Best charcoal starter

Midwest Hearth Natural Charcoal Starters

Most charcoal, whether its briquettes, pellets, hardwood, or lump charcoal, need some way to help it burn. Traditionally grillers use lighter fluid, but these bricks from Midwest Hearth are toxin-free, so they won’t add odors or tastes to your food. You only need one square to start your fire and it will begin burning in less than a second.

$13 at Amazon

Hot ‘n smokey

The best part of summer is pulling out the grill for some amazing kabobs, burgers, and smores. While gas grills are all the craze, charcoal grills still have an important presence. A lot of campsites and picnic areas only have charcoal grills available, so it’s a good idea to have some charcoal handy. The Kamado Joe KJ-Char Big Block Charcoal brings amazing taste with its large hardwood lump-style charcoal. You don’t need to use a lot because it will burn slowly and it can be used more than once, but it will still burn hot enough to cook meats and other foods well.

If you’re on a budget, or like the traditional briquette charcoal, we recommend sticking with Kingsford. It just can’t be beaten when it comes to charcoal, plus this two-pack will save you time and money in the long run. And don’t forget the charcoal starter! We recommend Midwest Hearth natural charcoal starters over traditional lighter fluid to help retain the natural taste of the charcoal.

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