The 7 Best Lump Charcoals of 2020

Find the right kind of charcoal for your grill

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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Jealous Devil All Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal at Amazon

"The flavor is smooth and mild, so it won’t overpower the flavor of your food, even with long, slow cooking."

Best Budget: Royal Oak All Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal at Amazon

"Great for new users who are just getting used to the fuel."

Best Value: Rockwood Lump Charcoal at Amazon

"A great value for those who will be doing a lot of grilling or barbecuing."

Best for Beginners: Cowboy Lump Charcoal at Amazon

"Made from a mix of hardwoods including oak, hickory, and maple."

Best for Big Green Egg: Harder Charcoal 100 Percent Natural XL at Amazon

"Minimal sparking for safer lighting and grilling and minimal smoke, while imparting just the right flavor."

Best Multi-Sized Chunks: KamadoJoe Big Block Natural Lump Hardwood Charcoal Box at Amazon

"Users say the box includes a variety of sizes from medium to large."

Best Bamboo: CHARBLOX Dragon Fire Grilling Charcoal at Amazon

"A mix of woods along with bamboo that can burn hotter than typical lump charcoal."

  • 01 of 07

    Best Overall: Jealous Devil All Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal

    Jealous Devil All Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal

    Courtesy of Amazon

    One of the top-selling points for this charcoal is the re-designed bag that protects the charcoal better in shipping, so there are more larger pieces and less dust and residue. It’s a small thing, but it makes a difference when fire hits the coal.

    The coal itself is made from South American hardwoods that users say is similar to oak, but lacking the unpleasant bitterness that sometimes creeps in. The flavor is smooth and mild, so it won’t overpower the flavor of your food, even with long, slow cooking. The wood is purposely selected for coal making and is hand-cut and hand-fired in brick kilns built onsite for that purpose. The largest and most intact lumps are chosen for sale, for a consistent product in each bag.

    This wood also sparks less than some other types, so it’s a bit safer and less dramatic to light and use.

  • 02 of 07

    Best Budget: Royal Oak All Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal

    Royal Oak Lump Charcoal is affordable and is great for new users who are just getting used to the fuel, and it’s also popular with experienced grillers who like the smoky flavor. This is made from oak, hickory, maple, and walnut.

    This offers more smoke than some other brands, can be easier to light, but it also can burn slightly faster. Some users have found that the quality can be inconsistent with bits of rock or metal appearing in the bottom of the bag, although many other users have had no issues at all.

  • 03 of 07

    Best Value: Rockwood Lump Charcoal

    While not the least expensive lump charcoal you can buy, this is highly rated by users, and the three-pack of 20-pound bags reduces the price significantly, so it’s a great value for those who will be doing a lot of grilling or barbecuing. It has consistently been voted the best by websites and chefs, and it’s often used by competitive barbecue teams.

    This charcoal is made from hardwoods harvested in Missouri and includes oak and hickory as the majority of the product, along with some maple and pecan wood. This boasts a rich aroma from woods that offer a desirable flavor in the smoke, adding a pleasant flavor to the food. The wood is not purposely cut for charcoal. Instead, it is leftover wood that was cut for other uses, so it’s good for the environment as well as for your grill.

  • 04 of 07

    Best for Beginners: Cowboy Lump Charcoal

    Made from a mix of hardwoods including oak, hickory, and maple, this is a great charcoal for folks who are just starting to dabble with lump charcoal, and for all those times when a premium charcoal isn’t needed. While it’s not the least expensive lump charcoal you’ll find, the price is reasonable for everyday grilling, whether it’s burgers, ribs, or a roast.

    This charcoal burns hot and fast when needed for excellent searing, and has the longevity needed for low and slow cooking as well. It imparts a smoky flavor to food without any off-notes, for the perfect grilling experience every time. Kind to the environment, this is made from renewable resources. This is a 20-pound bag, so there’s plenty for family grilling and for parties.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Best for Big Green Egg: Harder Charcoal 100 Percent Natural XL Restaurant Style Lump Charcoal

    Made from South American quebracho wood, nicknamed “axe breaker” because of its hardness, wood for this charcoal is harvested without cutting down any living trees, making it very environmentally friendly. This works well for any charcoal grill, but specifically for kamado-style grills, like the Big Green Egg, Kamado Joe, and others that retain heat for long, low-and-slow cooking as well as high heat applications.

    This charcoal produces minimal sparking for safer lighting and grilling, and minimal smoke, while imparting just the right flavor. This is a 33-pound bag, so it’s bigger than most, so you’ll have plenty for summer grilling, winter grilling, family dinners, and parties. Users complimented it for its responsiveness to airflow changes for heat control and the long-lasting fire for slow cooking.

  • 06 of 07

    Best Multi-Sized Chunks: KamadoJoe Big Block Natural Lump Hardwood Charcoal Box

    Kamado Joe

     Courtesy of BBQGuys

    Made from Guayacan, Guayaibi, Mistal and White Quebracho hardwoods from Argentina, known as “axe breakers” because of their hardness, this wood is roasted in outdoor ovens to create the lump charcoal. The result is clean-burning wood with flavorful smoke.

    Packed in a box rather than a bag to protect the charcoal during shipping, according to users, this includes pieces in a variety of sizes, with large pieces filling the box, and medium and small pieces as well. While some users prefer to use all large pieces for long cooking sessions, the smaller pieces light faster and are good for quicker cooking foods like steaks and burgers, since there’s no need to extinguish large pieces to save them for later cooking.

  • 07 of 07

    Best Bamboo: CHARBLOX Dragon Fire Grilling Charcoal

    Charblox is a unique charcoal product that’s used like lump charcoal, but is also similar to charcoal briquettes, since it’s formed into a specific shape. It’s a less-expensive alternative to Japanese Binchotan charcoal, and great for any kind of grilling. Made from recycled sawdust, it turns a waste item into something useful, without the need to harvest trees. The unique shape makes this easier to stack and arrange for perfect heat distribution, no matter what type of grill is used.

    This version of Charblox is a mix of woods along with bamboo that can burn hotter than typical lump charcoal, but also has the ability to burn for up to six hours, for long, slow cooking sessions. Packed in a box, this is less likely to suffer damage in shipping, so you’ll get larger pieces with less dust and crumbs. This is 11 pounds of charcoal. A less expensive version of Charblox without the bamboo is also available.