The Best Charcoal for Grilling

The Best Charcoal for Grilling

Our pick

Royal Oak Classic Briquets

Royal Oak Classic Briquets

The Royal Oak briquets lasted longer than other charcoal and burned almost as hot as the best we tested. The consistent size, shape, and quality of the briquets translate to consistently hot temperatures and long burn times.

Buying Options

$10 from Walmart
Buy from Amazon

In tests, the Royal Oak Classic Briquets, sometimes called Ridge Briquets, sustained average temperatures of about 900 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour and lasted for a total of 80 minutes of cook time—the second-best results of any charcoal we tried, and plenty of heat to produce excellent charring and searing. These briquets left behind less ash than Kingsford Original Charcoal, and didn’t impart any unpleasant flavors to our burgers. We’ve found Royal Oak charcoal to be widely available in stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot––it’s often easier to pick up a bag in person than to order it online.

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Also great

Fogo All Natural Premium Hardwood Charcoal (35 pounds)

Fogo All Natural Premium Hardwood Charcoal (35 pounds)

If you prefer lump wood

The Fogo hardwood charcoal burns extremely hot and pure with no additives, producing very low amounts of ash. Any lump charcoal is irregular in size and shape, though, which can make predicting temperature and grilling times difficult.

Buying Options

$56 from Amazon

Briquets have a uniform density and size that allow for steady temperature control, but if you want lump wood charcoal instead, our favorite is Fogo All Natural Premium Hardwood Charcoal. Lump wood has its pros and cons, but the bottom line is that the Fogo lump wood burned hotter, became ready to cook faster, and added a richer, more robust flavor to the food than any other lump wood we tested. As with all lump wood, the size and shape can make lighting and arranging the coals difficult, and can lead to less-predictable cooking times. In fact, the Fogo brand had some of the largest chunks of wood we saw out of all the lump wood we tested—one piece in particular nearly filled half a chimney.

Everything we recommend

Our pick

Royal Oak Classic Briquets

Royal Oak Classic Briquets

The Royal Oak briquets lasted longer than other charcoal and burned almost as hot as the best we tested. The consistent size, shape, and quality of the briquets translate to consistently hot temperatures and long burn times.

Buying Options

$10 from Walmart
Buy from Amazon

Also great

Fogo All Natural Premium Hardwood Charcoal (35 pounds)

Fogo All Natural Premium Hardwood Charcoal (35 pounds)

If you prefer lump wood

The Fogo hardwood charcoal burns extremely hot and pure with no additives, producing very low amounts of ash. Any lump charcoal is irregular in size and shape, though, which can make predicting temperature and grilling times difficult.

Buying Options

$56 from Amazon

Source: NY Times – Wirecutter

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