A lot of my friends ask me what I use to fuel my BBQ’s. Well obviously my gasser uses……gas but for my charcoal BBQs I actually use lump charcoal. The reasons for this are as follows:
– Temperature control
Lump charcoal can be more readily “regulated” charcoal briquettes are meant to be used for “uncontrolable” environments such as kettles etc. whilst my BBQ-ing at times requires high heat (300C / 600F and higher temps and sometimes low and slow (250F for the duration of an overnight cook).
Especially when you want to sear a steak at high temps and slowly cook later in the same cook lump charcoal seems to respond a lot better than briquettes.
– Chemical free
Most briquettes are made with all sort of “foreign” material whilst lump charcoal only contains the pure ingredient (albeit different types of wood) as they “compress” the wood used with other materials.
Don’t even get me started on the “easy-light” briquettes as they contain all sort of chemicals to make them “easy-light”. Yum yum petrol flavoured food (well not that bad but nor far off either). Get yourself a “chimney” (gotta have BBQ gadget for charcoal/briquettes) and the lighting becomes a lot easier. I’m not 100% sure but I feel that the taste of lump charcoal is noticably better than cooking with briquettes???
– Ash production
This can be a bit contentious as it does depend on the type of lump charcoal used however generally the amount of ash produced by briquettes is more than using lump charcoal. It also depends whether you are into ceramic cooking and your BBQ has a limited fire bowl thus the amount of ash it can hold is not very mcuh (my KK has a slightly different construction and I have never encountered any “too much ash” issues).
I WISH!!! unfortunately the aforementioned benefits do come with a price. It is cheapier (and easier) to pick up a couple of bags of briquettes from Woolies instead of buying lum charcoal (if you can find it). Anyway I buy my 20kg bags from a local supplier but am giving it serious thought to buy a pallet and buy in bulk as the charcoal doesn’t go off (as long as you store in an enviroment with limited moisture.