Pure hardwood charcoal, better known as lump charcoal, is made entirely from hardwood logs that have been heated at high temperatures, with very little exposure to oxygen. Moisture, sap, and resins in the wood are volatilized and vaporized, leaving behind only combustible carbon. The logs eventually break down into black lumps of carbonized hardwood that light faster than wood logs and maintain a relatively even range of temperatures. As lump charcoal burns, it releases clean wisps of aromatic smoke reflecting the type of wood used to make the charcoal. However, be aware that not all lump charcoal is the same. Look for a type of wood that you like (for example, mesquite, oak, or a combination) and choose bags filled with big lumps, about the size of your fist, that clearly show real wood grain.
BENEFIT: Lights quickly and produces aromatic smoke that reflects the variety of wood used to make it.
Weber Briquettes – Hardwood Charcoal Briquettes
Hardwood charcoal briquettes are compressed black pillows made from crushed pieces of hardwood charcoal held together by a natural starch. The hardwood charcoal briquettes are so densely packed that they burn longer and more evenly than lump charcoal. If you’re missing the aromatic smoke that lump charcoal produces, then add wood chunks or chips to the perimeter of the lit hardwood charcoal briquettes. The large size of Weber Briquettes ensure consistent heat, longer grilling times, and are cost effective due to lower fuel consumption.
BENEFIT: Achieves a longer, more consistent burn than lump charcoal, with less woodsy smoke.
Standard Charcoal Briquettes
Standard charcoal briquettes are the most commonly available briquettes on the market. They are compressed bundles of ground charcoal and materials such as clay, limestone, and cornstarch binders. While they don’t produce quite as much heat as lump charcoal or hardwood charcoal, these briquettes do very well at holding a steady temperature. In fact, they often burn longer than hardwood briquettes. Add some wood chips or chunks to the smoldering briquettes and you’re all set to smoke a first class low and slow meal.
BENEFIT: Burns long and holds a steady temperature.