In order to get the most authentic and aromatic charcoal barbecue flavor, I recommend using only 100% natural hardwood lump charcoal. Why?
Hardwood lump charcoal is characterized by faster burning speed and higher temperature at the same time, it provides better temperature control, does not contain chemical additives that affect the flavor of food, and produces much less ash.
In contrast, charcoal briquettes are cheaper, but they contain chemical additives, burn longer, have a much lower temperature, and produce more ash.
So, can briquettes be used with kamado grills?
The answer is yes, but you have to remember some things. The manufacturer recommends only hardwood block charcoal for good reason, which is significantly different from briquettes.
The main argument in favor of using lump charcoal in kamado grills instead of briquettes mixed with charcoal is the amount of ash left after the charcoal is burned.
Briquettes will definitely produce more ash, which is not good if you want to cook for many hours, a lot of ash will block the vent, which plays a key role when cooking on kamado.
Let me start with an important note, don’t use lighter liquid to burn charcoal.
According to the instructions, after using a lighter liquid, you must wait for some chemicals to burn out before you can start cooking. The fact is that even after a period of time, people can still feel the chemical smell in the food and the air caused by the burning of lighter liquids.
Now I want to show you three ways to burn lump charcoal in kamado, which do not contain chemicals and are cheaper in the long run.
Method 1: Electric starter
1. Open all the vents all the way
2. Put a few lump charcoal on the bottom of the grill, and then put an electric starter on it.
3. Wait about 10-15 minutes until smoke and charcoal burn, then unplug the power plug and remove the electric starter and place it in a safe place to cool down (remember that it is very hot, so make sure to put it In a safe place).
4. Add some new charcoal, close the lid, adjust the vents accordingly, and wait 15-20 minutes for the grill to reach a temperature suitable for cooking.
This is not an expensive method, but it is undoubtedly the best method for burning lump charcoal in kamado. No chemical additives, no need for any kind of fire (such as paper), will not stain your hands, it is easy for everyone. The disadvantage is that you need to have a power supply nearby, which may cause problems for people outside.
Method two: Chimney Starter
1. Remember to open all vents.
2. Put two newspapers on the bottom of the charcoal chimney, and then fill the chimney with lump charcoal. If you do not have a newspaper, you can put in paraffin blocks.
3. Next put the newspaper or cube on the fire and wait for 10-15 minutes until all the charcoal is covered with ashes.
4. Pour hot charcoal into kamado and fill the remaining space with more new charcoal.
5. Close the lid, open the vent, and wait for about ten minutes until the kamado grill heats up and reaches the proper cooking temperature.
What are the benefits of this method? The charcoal chimney starter can make charcoal burn evenly in a short time without using chemical fire.
Burning charcoal in the chimney only requires a few newspapers or lighter cubes (one is enough). The charcoal chimney starter is something I think every barbecue enthusiast should have.This is a foolproof method to burn charcoal quickly and easily without the use of chemical reagents.
Method 3: Charcoal Fire Starters
1. Open all vents.
2. Place some lumpy charcoal on the bottom of the grill, and then place the recommended amount of charcoal igniter.
3. Wait a while for smoke to appear, and let the charcoal heat up for 10-15 minutes.
4. Once the charcoal has burned, add some new charcoal blocks and close the grill lid. Keep the vent open until the desired cooking temperature is reached.
The lighter cube is non-toxic and tasteless, and the cube is made of paraffin wax. When burned, they produce a huge flame, which can burn charcoal quickly and easily. The cubes burn for about 10 minutes, and usually one or two such cubes are enough to make the grill burn.