Briquettes (or briquets) are basically blocks of compressed charcoal with other ingredients that help retain its shape. They are made by compressing coal dust and other combustible materials such as sawdust, peat, and wood chips.
Unlike lump charcoal that contain pure wood, briquettes contain additives. The additives hold the compressed material tight to create little blocks that are squarish or roundish in shape. The shape of the briquettes makes it easier to pile inside the grill.
Selecting charcoal briquettes was easy in the not so distant past. The only choice that you had to consider was whether you wanted them dry or presoaked.
Today, selecting charcoal is a difficult ordeal.
This post will help you in selecting the best briquettes for charcoal grills. After reading this post, you will know the benefits of briquettes as compared to the alternatives and also how to buy the best ones of grilling.
Benefits of Briquettes for Grilling
Better Heat Control
Unlike lump charcoal, briquettes allow better control of heat since they are of uniform size. In addition, they are drier and denser compared to logs due to which they burn hotter. These also burn longer as compared to logs.
Another reason most people prefer briquettes over logs is that you don’t need to feed the fire as often. Logs must be fed after every half an hour while briquettes must be fed after every couple of hours. This makes them more convenient when grilling.
By using briquettes, you will be able to maintain the desired temperature for a longer period. That’s why they are preferable for slow grilling. You can heat the briquettes high enough to make them suitable for searing a steak. They are also a lot cheaper as compared to lump charcoal that is another big plus.
Low Moisture Content
For the best grilling, the fuel source should contain low moisture content. This is important for the fuel to burn efficiently. Kiln dried logs generally have a moisture content of up to 20 percent. On the other hand, briquettes have a moisture content of 10 percent.
Recommended by Experts
Experts recommend briquettes as compared to lump charcoal and other fuels. According to Consumer Reports, briquettes are preferable to other fuels since they are easier to light, control, and stack. This makes the task of grilling much easier and also results in better-cooked food. In comparison, lump charcoal is harder to control due to uneven sizes.
On the whole, briquettes are much better as compared to other types of fuels for charcoal grills. The briquettes can be added in a pyramid format. This will result in low ash production. You should spread the briquettes in about a layer and start cooking. Also, you should leave the grill uncovered otherwise the flames will die out and start to produce lots of ash.
Important Information When Using Briquettes with Charcoal Grills
You should never use gasoline to light charcoal when using briquettes. In addition, you should not add lighter fluid directly to hot charcoal. When discarding them, make sure the ashes are cold to avoid burns.
Never try to burn briquettes inside vehicles, homes, or tents. They give off carbon monoxide that can be deadly when inhaled in large quantities. Lastly, you should barbecue away from trees, overhangs, and other flammable items.
Factors to Consider When Buying Briquettes
Briquettes offer a lot of advantages as compared to other types of grills. But you need to select the right brand as not all offer great value for money. You shouldn’t be fooled by looks. While all briquettes look the same, some of them are better as compared to others.
Low Ash Production
You should select briquettes that do not give a lot of ash. Ash harden when moist and can clog the vents. This will make it hard to clean the grill. Moreover, ash can also smother the fire that will result in inefficient heating.
High Charcoal Content
Another thing that you should look at when buying briquettes is the charcoal content. Briquettes with high charcoal are better as they produce more heat. These will provide the best heat resulting in better-cooked food.
However, most manufacturers don’t give the recipes of the briquettes. You will have to read the reviews of briquettes to find out which brands have high charcoal content. The review section contains the best five briquettes that give the best results when grilling.
Go for briquettes that give a good burn time. A briquette with a long burn time will be able to hold shape and provide heat for a longer period. This will result in better cooked tasty grilled food.
A briquette that does not hold shape when in the bag or put in the firebox is useless. Good quality briquettes don’t easily crumble to bits and pieces. Briquettes that maintain shape are easier to arrange and stack that results in more controlled heating and multi-zone cooking.
A good briquette easily catches fire when ignited. You will have an easier time grilling with fuel that catches fire quickly. Avoid low-quality briquettes that take longer to light as you have to spend a lot of time just to heat up the grill.
To recap, you should make sure that there is minimum debris in the bottom as it indicates well-formed briquettes that hold shape. Moreover, the edges of the briquettes should be thin as they are easier to ignite.
Read the label on the bag to ensure that there are minimal fillers to ensure less ash production. In addition, the bag should indicate high hardwood content as it results in cleaner burning.
Lastly, you should avoid self-lighting briquettes at all costs. They are sprayed with volatile petroleum products or other mineral spirits. The briquettes give off a smell that is similar to jet fuel. In addition, the chemical flavor of the food will permeate the meat when cooked. While the fuel will light easily, the smell will linger when the food is grilled. The smell of the food will linger when it is served to the guests.
Now that you have read about briquettes and also the factors that must be considered to select the best ones, let’s read the top five ones that make the cut due to high-quality briquettes.
1. Bayou Classic Natural Charcoal Briquets
Bayou Classic Natural Charcoal Briquets contains 100 percent natural hardwood with no chemical addictive. The briquettes are made completely from natural renewable sources. So, you can grill at peace with the knowledge that the fuel was made using environmentally friendly ingredients.
The best thing about the briquettes is that it is made from high-density hardwood. The hardwood is bound together with cornstarch and contains no sawdust, limestone, and other chemical additives. You can enjoy grilling with the briquettes as it gives deep flame that results in perfectly grilled meat.
The briquette lights fast and provide long-lasting consistent burn. In addition, the briquette produces less ash since there are no chemical fillers or additives. You can enjoy the natural grilling flavor that all the guests will love.
2. Kingsford Original Charcoal Briquettes
Kingsford Original Charcoal Briquettes is another hard quality fuel for charcoal grills. The fuel will make grilling easy and fun. You can grill perfectly cooked meat with the briquettes. The groves in the briquettes have more edges that result in fast lighting.
The briquette will heat quickly in about 15 minutes. They are about 25 percent faster as compared to other brands.
You will get authentic natural smoky flavor when you use the fuel with a charcoal grill. The high-quality ingredients of the briquette will ensure long turn burn and keep the grilling going longer. A bog of this briquettes is perfect for picnics and tailgate grilling.
3. Original Natural Charcoal Hardwood Briquettes
Original Natural Charcoal is another premium briquettes brand. The briquettes light up quickly and produce minimum ash. You can set up the grill in under 10 minutes when using the fuel for grilling. The grilled meat will be infused with a sweet, smoky flavor that will taste the best.
The briquettes are made of 100 percent natural hardwood. They are easy to burn and remain burning for longer. Since there are no chemical additives, they are safer for use as a fuel for grilling as compared to other brands.
No additives or fillers are used to prepare the briquettes. As a result, you won’t have to worry about carcinogens that can cause cancer. The briquettes retain the flavor of the meat without infusing it with cacogenic chemicals.
The briquette is made for experts who want a high-quality fuel for grilling. The ‘chef grade’ briquette can compare with the best briquettes that are used in high-end restaurants. You can prepare perfectly tasting signature grilled dishes that all the guests will enjoy.
Every bag of briquettes comes with a 100 percent money-back guarantee. If you don’t like the taste of food when using the briquettes as fuel, you can request a complete refund within 30 days of purchase. But most consumers find the fuel to be more than adequate in preparing perfectly good tasting meat.
4. Kingsford Match Light Charcoal Briquettes
Kingsford Match Light Instant Charcoal Briquettes is yet another great brand. The fuel can ignite without the need for lighter fluid. Featuring Sun Fire Grooves Technology, the briquettes can warm up quickly in minimum time.
Every briquette has just the right amount of flammable content that allows faster lighting. You just have to light a match and the briquettes will quickly warm up — in about 10 minutes.
The briquettes are made of all natural ingredients that result in excellent quality grilling. The natural material will deliver a smoky flavor that all the guests will enjoy.
The bag is great for stocking up due to which the grill will always be ready for barbequing. You can add the briquettes to your BBQ supply to cook delicious meat. All the dishes made using the briquettes will look delicious and taste flavorsome.
5. MUXI BBQ Portable Grilling Charcoal Briquettes
MUXI BBQ Portable Grilling Charcoal Briquettes are made of 100 natural material. As a result, you won’t have to worry about carcinogenic compounds when grilling.
The briquettes contain natural material including corn starch, charcoal powder, and adhesive combustion material.
You can use a long lighter to light up the briquettes. There is no need to prepare or add lighter fluid. The fuel can be lighted in less than three seconds. You won’t have to go through the trouble of lighting the fuel similar to other fuels that require fine hay or firewood for ignition.
No liquid fuel is required for ignition due to which no harmful fumes are produced. You can light up the fuel in about ten to fifteen minutes. The burning time of the fuel is more than 100 minutes allowing you to cook a lot of meat.
Our Last Thoughts on the Best Briquettes for Grilling
Briquettes are safe and easy to use as compared to other fuels used for grilling. They allow perfectly cooked meat that provides the best flavor. The guests won’t have to wait long for the food to be cooked. The rapid ignition and high burn allow the meat to be prepared quickly that all the guests can enjoy.
Make sure that you avoid briquettes that contain lighter fluid as it can result in bitter tasting barbecue. Also, ensure that the briquette contains natural binders such as corn starch or others and don’t contain chemical binders.
Briquettes with 100% hardwood label are preferable since they produce more efficient heat. These have high charcoal content with little additives. Unlike other briquettes, they don’t contain pallets, sawdust, and scrap wood. In addition, these aren’t mixed with low-quality anthracite that doesn’t produce sufficient heat.