Lump charcoal is a natural, clean-burning fuel produced by slowly burning compounds out of wood, leaving only the carbon. Wood contains water, sugars from sap, and other chemicals that do not burn consistently. When wood is burned normally or burned in a fireplace (or campfire), it produces smoke and a large amount of ash. But when hardwood scraps are left to smolder for 10 or more days in a kiln, the wood is reduced to 1/6 of its original weight and transforms almost entirely into carbon, which produces less smoke and ash. Lump charcoal created by this process burns hotter and more consistently than briquettes.
Lump charcoal is primarily used in barbecue grills, smokers, blast furnaces, art glass kilns, and for other applications where consistent, intense heat and minimal ash and smoke are required.
The briquette process was popularized by Henry Ford, who made briquettes in order to sell wood and sawdust byproducts from the Model T assembly line. Briquettes contain additives, fillers, and binders, like borax, starch, limestone, sodium nitrate, fly ash, mineral char, mineral carbon, and sawdust. Many “match lightable” briquettes also use petroleum. To create briquettes, these items are mixed together and pressed into a “pillow” of sorts. Because of these fillers, Briquettes produce more ash than lump charcoal. That ash can clog smokers during “low and slow” cooks.
Lump charcoal burns hotter and longer than briquettes because of the absence of the fillers and binders. Lump is the most pure form of charcoal. It’s as close to pure carbon as you can get. Lump produces a consistent fire and taste, and allows you to add your own smoking woods to control the flavor and intensity.
Good lump charcoal is only made from hardwood. Softwood is not nearly as dense and contains more sap, which won’t burn off completely in the kiln. When you burn lump charcoal made from softwood, you’ll notice more smoke and ash. Softwood lump charcoal will not last as long.
Good lump charcoal is kilned and cooled for the right amount of time at the right temperature. This removes all of the sap, tar, and moisture from the wood, which makes the charcoal brittle. If you throw a chunk of lump charcoal at a hard surface, it should break into several pieces. If it doesn’t, it’s still wood on the inside. If you have trouble maintaining a temperature below 250° F or above 500° F—you guessed it! It’s still wood. And if lump charcoal continues to smoke 10-15 minutes after it’s lit, it still has tar and sap in it.
Good lump charcoal will make a metallic “tink” sound during lighting and when contacting other piece of lump charcoal. Improperly kilned lump charcoal will just sound like wood chunks.
Rockwood lump starts easy and last longer then most major Brands