We have tried every charcoal available in the United States, and found one that stands far and away as the very best: Original Natural Charcoal:
Original Natural Charcoal products contain only 100 percent original premium hardwood. This means no fillers, nitrates, chemicals, anthracite coal, limestone, treated wood or petroleum products. The charcoal lights quickly and is ready to grill in 10 minutes. It burns hot, searing the meat & locking in flavor – all while lasting longer than any other charcoal you can find. Our charcoal also produces less ash, so there is minimal waste & clean up, delivering more value and taste in every bag.
REAL 100% HARDWOOD CHARCOAL
We begin by dumping the bag out on the ground on a plastic sheet and examining the contents. We found no scrap or anything that doesn’t belong in a bag of charcoal. We sorted the charcoal into large, medium and small pieces, and then chips and dust:
As you can see in the table above, the size distribution is quite good. Half the bag is large and medium pieces and only about 9% is chips and dust which is low compared to other brands of charcoal.
Original Natural Charcoal is insanely easy to light, taking only 1½ sheets of newspaper in our chimney starter test. This ties for the easiest to light charcoal we have ever tested. While starting the charcoal in the chimney starter there was no sparking and popping. The smell of the smoke during lighting is quite strong.
In our maximum temperature test, Original Natural Charcoal burned at 1115°F which is Very High compared to other charcoals we have tested. It doesn’t come as a surprise then that the fire spread extremely rapidly. Again there was no sparking and popping and the smell of the smoke while the fire was coming up to temperature was quite strong.
Original Natural Charcoal also excelled in our burn time test with a time that ranks (as of this review) second all time among all the brands we have tested. And finally, the ash produced by this charcoal was Low compared to other brands tested.
So, Original Natural Charcoal is insanely easy to light, burns extremely hot and very very long. The size distribution is very good, as is the ash production, so it should be pretty obvious that Original Natural Charcoal gets our Highly Recommended rating. As it has just started shipping at the end of last season, it is not in a lot of retail outlets yet. However, you can find it on their website, Amazon, the Kansas City Barbecue Store, California Backyard and a few other retailers. They have plans to start selling in other retail outlets this year.