Best Charcoal for Smoking – The Guide to the Best

The best often comes with the term irreplaceable and unique. It is something that is one of a kind and something that one can never find. The taste for the fuel is something similar. When it comes to food, the fuel that one uses for smoking plays a vital role. It is because it infuses the flavor in the food and gives it a different taste, texture, smell, and more. Different wood burns in different ways. Hence render their smoke flavor in various ways into delicacies. It can be difficult for an individual to pick the best charcoal for smoking.

The best varies as per the cooking style, the kind of guests, the amount, and more. It also differs as per the type of charcoal one prefers for making. Hence one must know about it. Understanding how to use the charcoal and where to use them as per the need is rare. Thus, if one loves and is into grilling, the best for a smoky flavor is a must-know!

Types of Charcoal for Smoking

The essence of cooking since time immemorial is on the style and the fuel source. One relies on it as a fuel source, and it often comes to an individual as a need of grilling. It is the perfect fuel for all barbeque meals and comes with different origins.

One of the most common confusion is the choice of lump charcoal and charcoal briquettes. Both of them are efficient and strong enough for each other.

Both of them come from wood as a source and are sturdy to render an excellent smoky texture. Regardless of it, they come with some peculiarities that make them distinct. It is these primary distinctions that make people choose them as per their needs and choices.

Lump Charcoal 

  • It is a cent percent carbonized wood that comes without the need for any filler or substituent.
  • They tend to burn hotter and to higher temperatures that are unimaginable.
  • They come in irregular shape and hence do not cater to even distribution and burning. Some pieces may not burn complete.
  • As it comprises natural wood compression, it adds an excellent and high smoky flavor to the food.
  • They burn to a higher temperature and hence burn faster than the briquettes. It is the best for fast and high cooking.
  • One may have to watch it for the perfect results as it goes to higher temperatures.
  • It is a pure compression of wood and hence tends to smell great and adds the same essence into food.
  • It can be affordable for some and not for others. As it is natural, it costs more than the briquettes.
  • They are heavier than the briquettes, and every piece may vary in flavor on the basis of natural contents.

Charcoal Briquettes

  • It is a pack of carbonized sawdust and uses binders to keep them together as charcoal.
  • They come with a limitation to reaching a specific temperature. It also burns less hot than the lumps.
  • They are even pellets of charcoal that burn even from all sides and spaces. It allows for cent percent use of the coal.
  • These are sawdust and hence do smoke but lesser than the lump charcoal. It renders a lighter flavor.
  • It comes with a low temperature while burning, and hence it runs for a longer duration. It is perfect for low and slow cooking.
  • One does not have to check it every time as one can maintain the temperature better. It also does not burn hot and hence does not harm.
  • It comprises of carbonization of the sawdust. Hence, not everyone may like the smoke flavor it renders in the food.
  • They come in various brands and flavors but are affordable and serve value for the money one pays.
  • They are lightweight, and one can carry them to various places and have an even taste.

The benefits and drawbacks of each allow an individual to look close. It lets one carry the choice of fuel as per the needs and requirements. Each of the picks has its elegance. Hence, one must pick their style and decide on the preference of the charcoal type.

Regardless of the pick, if one knows the hack of barbequing, the grilling becomes easier. It will allow one to grill the best and serve an unforgettable memory to relish!

Properties of the Best

Every charcoal choice in the market comes with its traits and peculiarities. They may vary in flavor, brand, price, and more. But, the best charcoal for smoking will always have the following core traits:


Density is the sign of biofuel available in charcoal. The higher the density, the higher is the combustion property in it. A denser fuel allows for easy and longer burning of the charcoal.

The charcoal size and density also work opposite to each other. The larger the size of the charcoal, the lesser is the density. Hence, one may need small charcoal bits that are dense and compact for better smoking.


It is the amount of heat charcoal generates to understand its smoking capacity and heat. It speaks ample about the energy it renders and the intensity of the smoking flavor.

Higher calories refer to charcoals that burn smooth, efficient, and clean. It also renders a more intense flavor in the food and high heat. The heat makes the infusion better.

Ash Content

The ash content is the amount of non-combustible material in the coal. It has a drastic effect on the burning capacity, efficiency, and duration of charcoal. Hence, one must pick it in an efficient manner.

The ash content must be moderate and not too high. The quality charcoal for smoking will come with an ash range of up to 5 percent. One must go for it for the best.


Charcoal does not come from a specific wood make. It varies in choices and hence serves the user with a variety in hand. Mangroove and malle woods are the best as they tend to give more smoky charcoals.

The choice of wood one picks also impacts the flavor of the food. Hence, one must always pick high-grade charcoals that come from the best. It should also serve the taste one yearns for in the BBQ meal.

Moisture Content

Charcoal is not free of moisture. It, too, has some dampness that is harmless and still lets it function to the fullest. The percentage of it may vary in different charcoal. One must pick the one with the least amount.

Too little water content will make it prone to less binding, and too much will make it longer to light. One must pick charcoal with a moisture content between 10-18 percent. It is perfect for lighting.

Water Resistance

Moisture is the availability of water droplets in the air. It is something that one must keep away from the charcoals. The best charcoals are not hygroscopic. It helps in keeping them safe.

It refers to the tendency of the charcoal to not absorb water or moisture from the surroundings. It affects the burning and the smoking efficiency of charcoal several folds.


One may often take sawdust as an impurity while burning the wood. But, it is one of the must-haves in charcoal that represents a quality character for smoking.

It helps to add ignition ease to the charcoal and renders an efficient start. The content of sawdust must not be too must, else the serving duration of the charcoal will decrease. It should be a perfect ignition to the coals for smoke. 

The Best in the Market

The need and the best in the market vary. One must always look out for features that state the best in a product. The choice of the best charcoal depends on the following features.

Burning Time

It must always have a high serving time. It must smoke long and must cater one with the benefit of duration. Shorter serving charcoals often end up fast and are of lesser grades.

A long burning time of charcoal is indicative of its trustworthy quality. It signifies its vigor and strength. Hence, one must always prefer charcoal with an average or above burning span.


Grilling is not a one-time habit that an individual prefers to have as per the need. It may be a regular mode of cooking for several. Hence, one may need charcoal often.

One must always pick the type of charcoal and the brand that is easy on the pockets. Buying it should always be affordable and serve the value for the money one pays for it.

Ignition Ease

The easier it is to burn any charcoal, the better it is as burning fuel. It makes the people prefer the charcoal more and renders support and a point in the advantages.

Not everyone is a professional at grilling and lighting charcoal. To those who are new to it, ignition ease can support in favor of grilling mode. It also helps with better, smoother, and easier smoking.


The sizes of the charcoal cater to their relaxation in handling, movement, and storage. A charcoal type for smoking is often in use for the best smoke flavor in food.

It must be easy to pick and drop in the grill as it may come in use several times. The barbequing is not always around the house. Hence, it must be easy to move and transport around. Also, as it comes with a small size, it will be easy to store and keep.


The packet of charcoal that one purchase must be worthy. It must serve an adequate amount of charcoal for the money one pays. It should not come in the least quantity that is unusable.

The needs and choices of an individual may defer as per the amount of smoking one needs. The pick must be such that it suffices for at least one to three sets of medium smoking needs.


The smoke of the charcoal infuses into the layers of the food. It makes the pick of the quality essential. One must always value quality more than the price of charcoal.

Higher quality charcoal may come at a higher price, but it will always serve a longer duration. The best quality will promise an unbeatable trait. It will also render an infusion of smoke flavor in food beyond imagination.


The flavor of smoke says everything in a barbeque meal. If there is no smoky texture in the meat, the grilling and BBQ are empty. Hence, one must pick the choice that renders strong yet subtle charcoal flavor.

Everyone comes with different needs and intensity of flavor in food. Hence, one must pick the type of wood for the charcoal according to the requirement. It will tune in the right texture and zest in the smoke for the best food.


The brand and the choice one picks must always be available in the market. Grilling can also be regular. It does not always come with trying and testing new charcoals for flavor and changes.

It often comes with serving the perfect smoke in the food, comes from an expert hand in charcoal handling. Hence, one must always choose the available charcoal. It helps one to buy it fresh when out of stock.


A fixed temperature plays a vital role in the best barbequing. Pick charcoal that caters to give to a constant temperature. Fluctuating grill temperature may often make you check the grill again and again.

Low and slow cooking may need the temperature to set for a longer tenure. It will allow better smoking. Hence, one must pick charcoal that renders a steady temperature while cooking.


The purity of charcoal says a lot about how one manages it and uses it. The best charcoal must render to an authentic flavor and must burn clean and pure throughout.

It must not come up with soot and ash mess that gets difficult to clean and increases work. Refined burning charcoal is another smoking charcoal need that one will love to have.


One must never buy a product on the basis of one single trait or the properties it says to render. One must always look and check on what people have to say about it.

The users of the brand of charcoal will always guide one the best. The feedbacks they render are an insight into the working of the charcoal and its smoking. One must further compare and choose the best.

The perfect fit differs and depends on a variety of states. Despite it, one must not confuse and must learn how to pick as per the need. The best charcoal for smoking varies, and none can be wrong.

The choices are perceptions and can depend on the basis of demands and tastes. Hence, regardless of what one picks, the pick will always be for fuel to meet a barbeque need.

Now that one knows the subject, learning becomes easy and smooth. It does not confuse the user. It sets a clear direction on when to use different types of fuels.

It is also indicative of an unbeatable strength that ignites the user with the power to pick the best. With the perfect choices in hand, all one needs is to enjoy the cooking and serve the taste!

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