Best Charcoal Briquettes: Less Additives, Great Performance

Best Charcoal Briquettes

Whether you’re smoking or grilling, using a quality charcoal fuel has the power to improve flavor, boost results and make the whole experience that much easier. But, with so many different brands and types out there, it sure can get confusing when you’re trying to decide which brand to buy.

To make it easy for you, we’ve reviewed the best charcoal briquettes out there. Here we look at a mix of heat level, ash production, and additives (or lack of them!). We’ve also tried to stick to charcoal briquettes that are readily available across the country. Sure, you might have a great one that’s locally available to you. And, while we’re all for supporting local, it’s just too hard for the purpose of this review. We’ve also included a few different price points so you’re sure to find something that fits your budget.

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Jealous Devil Maxxx XL All Natural Hardwood Charcoal Pillow Briquets

Bigger briquettes = a longer burn-time and Jealous Devil have created just that with their Maxxx XL Charcoal Pillow Briquettes.

These things are so big that they’re pretty much twice the size of a regular briquette. They’re all-natural, made from quebracho hardwood with a small amount of vegetable starch to bind them. Quebracho wood burns nice and hot. So, that combined with their large size makes a high-quality, long-burning briquette that’s ideal for grilling but also performs just as well for low-and-slow smoking.

Because there’s no additives, ash production is minimal and they don’t tend to spark or pop. Overall, Jealous Devil Maxxx Briquettes are definitely a premium product with excellent, long-lasting performance. Plus, they come in a resealable waterproof bag for easy storage and reliable performance.

Pros

  • All natural formula
  • Large briquette size gives a longer burn-time
  • Resealable waterproof bag

Cons

  • Price

Royal Oak Chef's Select 100% Hardwood Charcoal Briquets

Royal Oak is a household name when it comes to quality and affordable charcoal. And, we’re loving their latest Chef’s Select 100% Hardwood Charcoal Briquets.

Suitable for both grilling and smoking, the Royal Oak Chef’s Select is made from American Oak and Hickory with no extra ingredients. That means you’re getting pure wood smoked charcoal flavor without the nasty chemically taste of some poorer quality varieties.

American Oak is known for burning consistently at a high temperature which helps to make these briquettes burn hot and long. But, they also perform well low and slow. With no flareups and good temperature distribution throughout, they perform reliably which is what you really want for great results time and time again.

In the bag, the briquette size is expectably uniform. And, ash production is pleasantly low.

For the price, Royal Oak Chef’s Select is an amazing deal for anyone looking for an additive-free charcoal briquette that performs strongly and consistently.

Pros

  • No additives – 100% hardwood briquette
  • Sustainably sourced
  • Ideal for both grilling and smoking

Cons

  • Take longer to light than more ‘traditional’ briquettes with additives

Cowboy All Natural Hardwood Briquets

We put Royal Oak at the top of this list because, for their low price, they’re amazing. But, we do think that the Cowboy All Natural Hardwood Briquets perform that little bit better.

With a mix of 95% hardwood and 5% starch-based vegetable binder to hold the briquettes together, they’re all-natural for that real wood-fired flavor without any harmful additives.

They light quickly, don’t produce much ash and give good even heat. You can use Cowboy’s Charcoal Briquets for grilling or low and slow smoking. They do have a decently long burn-time, especially at lower temperatures.

In fact, if you remember Stubb’s Charcoal Briquettes, these are the same, just rebranded for a more trendy look.

Pros

  • All-natural briquette made of hardwood and a vegetable binder
  • Even burn temperature
  • Long-lasting, especially at low heat

Cons

  • Price

Weber Briquettes

Trust the Weber name? With more than 65 years of experience in grilling and smoking, Weber have mastered a thing or two. And, these 100% natural Weber Briquettes are no exception.

Now, Weber don’t tell us exactly what’s in their well-crafted charcoal. But, they’re 100% natural. There’s no chemicals so all you’ll be tasting is your food.

The slightly larger briquette size means they’ll burn more consistently for longer. Plus, the resealable waterproof bag makes storing them easier and keeps them in great condition.

Pros

  • 100% natural
  • Larger briquette size burns longer and stronger
  • Resealable waterproof bag for easy storage

Cons

  • More expensive than some

Original Natural Charcoal Hardwood Briquettes

Fast starting with low smoke and minimal ash, the Original Natural Hardwood Briquettes are an affordable yet premium choice for both grilling and smoking.

They’re all natural, made from 100% hardwood and burn surprisingly easily when you consider that there’s no additives or chemicals to give the wood a boost. The flavor is legit and does leave a pure woody, charcoal smoked flavor.

Available for an affordable price, the Original Charcoal Briquettes are actually ‘chef grade’. And, their grading does back up their consistently great performance. But, if you’re still on the fence, there’s actually a 100% delicious guarantee whereby you can get your money back, no questions asked within 30 days if you’re not happy.

All natural, no risk, what’s not to like about that?!?

Pros

  • Pure hardwood charcoal briquette
  • Low smoke and sparks
  • Money back guarantee

Cons

  • Price

Kingsford Original Charcoal Briquettes

These popular briquettes have been around for a long time and rightly so, because they’re effective, high-quality and easy to use.

Kingsford’s 100% natural briquette has a unique shape with Sure Fire Grooves so there’s more edges for faster lighting without the chemicals. They burn well both at low and high temperatures and last a decently long time as well.

Pros

  • All-natural charcoal briquette
  • Sure Fire Grooves create better airflow for faster lighting
  • Long burning

Cons

  • Creates a bit more ash than other brands

ECONEW EcoCharcoal 100% Natural Hardwood Briquettes

Last but not least, we have a great option for the eco-friendly griller that’s not just self-proclaimed. ECONEW’s EcoCharcoal is certified as socially conscious by the FSC & Rainforest Alliance.

They’re 100% natural and burn pretty cleanly and lightly for a smoky flavor that’s not overwhelming.

In terms of burn, EcoCharcoal is a little harder to get started (definitely use a chimney). But, once they’re going, they burn consistently, last a long time and handle high heat well. Ash production is minimal and overall, they’re actually a great product that’s guaranteed to be sustainably sourced – a nice bonus!

Pros

  • FSC & Rainforest Alliance certrified as eco-friendly
  • 100% natural briquette
  • Burns well at high and low heat

Cons

  • Hard to get started