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Charcoal: Briquettes vs Lump

There are many ways to barbecue. Grills come in all varieties from a fancy custom rig to portable folding beach grill. Of course the grill you choose depends on a variety of criteria: space, cost, and application.

Once the grill is chosen, and probably assembled, the next thing to consider is how you light your grill. If the grill is gas powered then it is a simple process. But if you are going charcoal, it can be a bit more complicated. The go to is simple lighter fluid. While I do still use it at times, I don't like it and I don't recommend it. It always seems to leave a lighter fluid flavor behind. I've seen people spend time to light charcoal with a blow torch, but it always seems to take a lot of time.

The best method I've ever found is the chimney starter. In my house there are always ads and coupons lying around waiting to be crumpled up in balls. It is also somewhat satisfying to use bills, they're on auto pay anyway, and junk mail.  This is the most natural way to light the grill there is.
I've recently made the switch from charcoal briquettes to lump charcoal. It is one of the best culinary decisions I've made in a long time.

With briquettes,  there was always a flavor I was trying to mask with smoke from various types of wood. Now, with the oak lump charcoal, the smoke is there and the undesirable flavor is gone. If you're on the fence or looking to try something new, I strongly recommend that you make you switch to lump charcoal.


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