Charcoal – Lump or Briquette?
These are random sized pieces of hardwood charcoal are made from wood and nothing more. Lump charcoal will burn at a higher temperature than briquettes, this type of charcoal is often best for cooking steaks, chops and burgers. Do take care when buying lump charcoal as some cheaper options will be full of additives and may even be softwood, this will not get hot enough and additives are never good for cooking with!
These are a uniform, pillow shaped briquette, produced from left over product when producing lump charcoal, the pieces are ground into a consistent size, then using wheat, potato or corn starch as a binding agent they are produced into the same uniform size. Briquettes burn at a lower temperature but last longer than lump-wood, and so are ideal for low and slow cooking, some brands also have wood chips pressed in making them ideal for smoking meats.
Avoid liquid starter fluids, they are a fuel that will taint your food, and completely unnecessary, by far the best and most effective way is by using a chimney starter, all you need is two sheets of newspaper and your away, or a firelighter, the added bonus to chimney starters is that you can light more and add lit charcoal to your BBQ should you need to. Below is a video of Webers’ Chimney Starter being used:
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