What is the best charcoal for barbecues?

henrylapps July 10, 2020

Have you decided to buy yourself a charcoal barbecue? Excellent decision! Now you have to think about what type of charcoal you are going to use for your barbecue. Because you may be wondering, what is the best charcoal for barbecues? True?

Charcoal, the best

The truth is that it is quite easy to decide. Charcoal is, without a doubt, the best for a barbecue. This charcoal is made by burning oak wood, at about 500 degrees Celsius in the absence of air.

With this, almost all the humidity of the wood is eliminated, and the calorific value that the coal will later have is increased. This makes it double that of the wood at the beginning. Of course, the process to make this type of coal is slow, and takes about 20 days.

Charcoal is made from different types of wood. Holm oak is the most common, but you can also find charcoal from orange, quebracho or coconut. Each one has a different calorific value, and according to which dishes it is more suitable.

There is also what is known as mineral coal. This is the one that is extracted directly from the coal mines. Formerly it was used for trains. But, at present, it is not in use due to its high degree of contamination.

How can you identify quality charcoal?

It certainly can take a little while to distinguish quality coal from being a novice. Now, keep in mind that the coal you are going to find in supermarkets is of lower quality than what you can buy from a coal shop. The reason? These are manufactured with a process that takes just a few hours, mass produced quickly. Therefore, they have a lower calorific value.

A quality coal must have these characteristics:

  • Durable: Quality charcoal can last for a long time, making it much more economical and less labor-intensive because you don’t have to add more charcoal to your barbecue.
  • Tasty: A good charcoal helps meats, fish and vegetables taste better.
  • Greater calorific value: In a barbecue, calorific value is everything. The higher the better. Quality coal reaches a temperature of 500 degrees, while a lower one may not even reach 300 degrees. This causes you to take longer to do the dishes.
  • Heavier: Good carbon can also be identified by weight. A 3 kg bag of quality charcoal takes up half the space of a bag of the same weight as a poor quality charcoal.

How should the fire be lit with coal?

It is not something that should worry you much, because the coal is actually much easier to ignite than it seems. There are no flammable pills or liquids to use, as this will only add a kerosene smell to the dishes.

Using a portabraas, or electric lighter, you can light the coal. As an addition to help the ignition to be slower but safer, pine cones or wood chips are used. A somewhat slower, but safe process.

Is charcoal or wood better?

Remember that charcoal is still wood that has undergone a fire-retardant process to achieve that shape. But the truth is that there are some differences when it comes to using coal or wood.

The calorific value of coal is greater than that of wood, so if you have a large barbecue you will be more interested in this type of material. And for some meats, it will always be better to use charcoal than wood. It also lasts much longer on. Coal can be on for a couple of hours, while wood consumes faster.

On the other hand, in the long run it is much cheaper to buy sacks of coal than wood. Of course, for some delicacies it will always be better to use wood. But, if you want to save, coal will always be the best option.

Better for grill or barbecue?

You already know that there is a big difference between barbecue and grill, right? Barbecues are better for cooking because the lid keeps the heat better and they are much safer. However, what is it best for?


Without a doubt, charcoal is better for barbecues. Because charcoal is healthier, it’s not so harmful that smoke hits your face while you’re cooking. Although it is much better to use a brick barbecue, in a charcoal you can use it without fear. In addition, it is easy to clean and remove the remains that are stuck.

Related Posts