What is the Difference Between Lumpwood and Briquettes?
Lumpwood charcoal is made by burning wood very slowly without any oxygen present, burning away all of the water and other contaminating substances until pure carbon remains. Oftentimes, a bag of lumpwood will contain a mix of hardwoods, such as oak, hickory, and more, this variety offers the unique woodsmoke aroma that many people associate with barbecued food.
Lumpwood lights a lot faster approx 20-30 mins than briquettes (which takes approx 30-40 mins) and also burns hotter. However, once it has reached its peak temperature, lump charcoal loses it heats quite quickly and, therefore, burns faster than briquettes. For these reasons, lumpwood is ideal for barbecuing things that do not require a long cooking time, such as steaks and burgers, etc.
You'll find lumpwood burns for approx 1-2 hours.
Briquettes are manufactured by compressing wood products with additives that help them light and burn consistently. Briquettes with no additives will be labelled as 'natural' or 'hardwood', but burn almost as hot and as quickly as lump charcoal. Briquettes burn slower and at a more consistent temperature, making them ideal for slow cooking and roasting as they rarely require you to refuel your barbecue. They are also ideal for those big family barbecues when you have everyone around and you would like to maintain the heat in your barbecue long enough for everyone to get second (and third, and fourth) helpings. However, briquettes take longer to light than lump charcoal and produce more ash.
With the Weber briquettes, you can rest assured you are getting a natural product. The Weber briquettes are simply made from the ground up lumpwood charcoal which has been compressed using potato starch, so you can be certain no nasty additives have been added, and will not come near your food.
The Kohle Premium Long Lasting Briquettes offer a burn time of four and a half hours, as opposed to the Weber briquettes three hours, making them perfect for Low 'n Slow cooking.
Most recipes offer specific instructions on quantities of briquettes, allowing for more precise cooking, which is difficult to convert to lump charcoal as lumpwood has no standardised size. This means that briquettes offer more consistency and exactitude over lump charcoal when cooking.