So you have a Big Green Egg, congratulations! Now you need some fuel to actually grill (I use Big Green Egg Charcoal). Here’s the big question, “should you cook with natural lump or briquettes?” Well if you own a Big Green Egg, I highly recommend using natural lump charcoal (as does the Big Green Egg Company). While briquettes may be more convenient, any convenience is severely outweighed by the many benefits of natural lump charcoal.

Benefits of Natural Lump Charcoal

  • No Additives: This is obvious from the name “natural lump charcoal” but it is important none-the-less. There are no chemical additives in lump charcoal. All you get is 100% natural charcoal that burns much cleaner than additive-filled briquettes and won’t make your food taste like chemicals.
  • Burns Hotter: Natural lump burns much hotter than the standard briquettes. This helps when trying to reach those high temperatures for searing off steaks and pork chops.
  • Easier to Light: Lump charcoal is easier to light, meaning you’ll get grilling faster.
  • Better Temperature Control: Using lump charcoal is more responsive to oxygen, making it much easier to control the temperature. Just regulate the flow of oxygen with the Daisy Wheel and Draft Door, and you should have a rock-steady cooking temperature. Because it’s more responsive to the flow of oxygen, natural lump charcoal is perfect for those 10+ hour long cooks. You can fill your Egg up and not have to worry about replenishing the charcoal during an overnight cook.
  • Less Ash: Natural lump charcoal produces significantly less ash than briquettes. As a Big Green Egg owner this is very important, not only because fire box isn’t very big but because less ash means more consistent air flow. As we know, air flow is key to temperature control. You can’t have consistent air flow if your fire box is clogged with ash.

Why Not Use Briquettes?
I don’t recommend using charcoal briquettes in your Big Green Egg for two main reasons. The first is chemical additives. I don’t have the most sensitive palate in the world, but I would rather not put it to the test seeing if I can taste all the chemicals from the briquettes. The second reason is ash production. Briquettes produce a lot of ash! Trying to cook 10+ hours using briquettes would result in a clogged fire box and an oxygen starved fire. Plus you would probably need to clean out the fire box after every single cook, which is something you don’t need to do with lump charcoal.

Do I Need to Buy Big Green Egg Brand Charcoal?
Not at all! Any natural lump charcoal will work perfectly with your Big Green Egg. I use the Big Green Egg brand charcoal because this is what is sold at the hardware store near me. There are dozens of different brands, so you may want to experiment to see which you prefer. I use Big Green Egg Charcoal, but that doesn’t mean you have to!