Fire is the most important ingredient in grilling, and there is no doubt that charcoal is the best source for fire. It’s inexpensive, readily available, and provides lots of options for different situations. That’s where the doubt shows up! When the folks at Smokeysteakranch try to choose which charcoal briquette to use, the selection can be overwhelming. The market is absolutely full of them, with plenty of options based on your personal preferences.
You could spend years grilling to try them all out, but the easiest way to find out what charcoal is best for you is to check the reviews at https://smokeysteakranch.com/best-charcoal-briquettes-reviews/.
As you think about which briquette will work best for you, remember these four big factors. They all play a big part in determining which brand of briquette you should be using.
Wood Types: It’s All About Good Taste
Cooking over fire is all about imparting the flavor of the wood into the meat. The rubs, marinades, and other ingredients interact with the wood flavor to provide the final taste profile of the meat. You can choose oak, mesquite, various fruit woods, and many others, each of which does things a little differently from the others. That is especially true of what the wood does in combination with the other ingredients you have put together.
Not surprisingly, the combinations matter. Certain woods work better with certain types of meats as well as with the spices and other tastes. Wine experts know about pairing different types and vintages with the correct food, and charcoal is no different.
Your own experience and research will provide a lot of information about which wood is the right type for your briquettes, so remember what you’ve learned as you start checking Smokey’s reviews of briquettes.
Finding Your Price Range: Who Has Money to Burn?
Everybody is on a budget. Sometimes it’s big, sometimes it’s small, but there is always a limit. You don’t necessarily have to pay more to get better briquettes, so it’s really a question of value rather than absolute price. You will certainly get what you pay for with most of the high-end products, but they just may not be the right product for what you’re trying to do.
Price is also a matter of frequency. How often do you plan to grill or smoke with charcoal? If your answer is a couple of times each week, you need to identify a briquette that won’t run into too much expense. If you are more event-oriented and will only smoke a few times a year, you can obviously afford to pony up a little more money for your charcoal. Smokey’s reviews will help steer you toward a good option for either end of the range.
Briquette Shape & Size: Random or Consistent?
There are two factors involved in briquette shape. The first is burn time. We’ll speak to that directly in a minute, so right now we’ll just remind you that smaller briquettes burn faster and will need frequent additions to maintain a steady temperature. If you don’t have time to tend your cooking without interruption, it will be important to have a larger briquette that will sustain itself a little longer.
The other big factor is handling. Big, chunky briquettes may be appealing because they are more natural-looking, but what about your grill or smoker? Will those larger pieces be too big to handle effectively? Will the smaller ones fall through the grate too soon? Can you measure how much heat you’re actually adding if the briquettes are all different sizes? Your cooking plans and your equipment will play a big part in which type of shape you want in a briquette.
Burn Time: Low and Slow or Hot to Trot?
Now we’re back to burn time. Some briquettes will reach cooking temperature much faster than others. That is probably the route you’ll want to go for grilling, because you need to establish a high temperature quickly. You will also want any additional charcoal to hit cooking temperature quickly in your chimney or other preheating device. On the other hand, smoking may allow a little more time to get the temperature established.
You also need to think about temperature maintenance. A fast-grilling briquette will dissipate quickly, leaving you busy getting more charcoal started and added to the fire. By the same token, fast burn may be better in a tailgating or camping situation where you need to be able to empty the grill quickly and get it cooled down to pack up.
By now you should see the most important factor in choosing a charcoal briquette: Your personal circumstances. Grilling and smoking call for different briquettes. Your time frame, taste preferences, and equipment also play a role. In short, there is no one best briquette for every situation.
Figuring out the right briquette for your situation means first that you need to know what you plan to do and how you plan to use the charcoal. Then you know what points are most important as you read through Smokey’s reviews.
If you know your needs and know what Smokey thinks, you’ll have an easy time choosing a charcoal briquette that will give you the terrific results you want