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What is the best charcoal? The comparison

May 20, 2020Betty Schneider

Barbecue charcoal comparison: which charcoal is better? Heat beads or grill briquettes from the coal factory

Local barbecue sessions are high season at these times! Many grill professionals still rely on the smoky aroma that only a real charcoal grill offers. For the taste of steak and sausage, not only the grill used is important, but also the one Quality of charcoal crucial. If the charcoal does not burn properly or does not generate enough heat, even the best charcoal grill will not be able to cook the meat properly. We did the test and two of the best brands of charcoal compared with each other based on customer reviews. We take a close look at both the heat beads and grill briquettes from the coal factory. In this post, we will show you which charcoal performs better according to users.

What distinguishes good charcoal?

To find out what the best charcoal is, you first have to know what characterizes good charcoal. If you want to buy charcoal, you realize pretty quickly how big the offer is. The selection ranges from cheap discount coals to premium briquettes, which promise much better heat development. Good charcoal is characterized - purely in terms of the barbecue experience - primarily by a long glow time, good ignition behavior and good heat development. These factors are influenced, among other things, by the type of wood used during charcoal production. The The best charcoal is made from hard hardwood and does not contain any other additives. Charcoal made from hard woods such as beech has a good ratio between weight and volume. The burning time is correspondingly long thanks to the high density and results in lower consumption. Exactly this fact is often underestimated, which is why many hobby barbecues unfortunately fall back on cheap discount charcoal instead of spending a little more money on better charcoal and at the same time reducing consumption. Who has to consume less buy less and also shows a resource-saving awareness.

In order to determine the best charcoal, we compare the two mentioned premium products based on the following criteria:

  • optics
  • Ignition duration
  • Glow time and heat development

Are there differences in charcoal that should be taken into account when making a comparison?

In general usage, the terms barbecue charcoal or charcoal have established themselves. But it can definitely be said: Barbecue charcoal is not just barbecue charcoal. Few of them are aware that a distinction is made between classic barbecue charcoal and compact barbecue briquettes. Charcoal usually ignites faster as briquettes. Charcoal cannot keep the heat that long. This is where the great strength of grill briquettes comes into play: The briquettes can hold the heat longer. They are therefore particularly suitable for grilled dishes that take a long time to prepare, such as pulled pork. or with special grill methods such as the minion ring. However, it depends Quality of the grill briquettes strongly on the composition of the coal and the processing. As there is increasing demand for grill briquettes, we are testing grill briquettes.

Our test products: Heat Beads grill briquettes and grill briquettes from Kohlemanufaktur

To find out which charcoal is the best charcoal, we have chosen two quality brands from our online shop. On the one hand, we look at various customer reviews of the heat beads and, on the other hand, the reports on the grill briquettes from the coal manufacture.

Optical differences between the test briquettes

When you order Heat Beads Briquettes for the first time, you may be surprised at the small size of the 9 kg bag. This is simply because the Heat Bead grill briquettes particularly tightly pressed and are therefore quite small. The high density is associated with a high weight but a small volume. This indicates a long burn time, which the manufacturer also advertises. One difference that immediately catches the eye is the size of the briquettes. The coal factory briquettes are bigger and lighter each than the heat beads. Theoretically, the briquettes from the coal factory should have a shorter burn time due to their lower density, but ignite more quickly. We will get to the bottom of this assumption in the corresponding sections of the text.

According to the users, the shape of the heat beads is ideal for stacking a minion ring. In one case, from the customer reviews of the coal manufacture's briquettes, we could see that some of the briquettes were broken Suitability for a minionring impaired. This fits in with the lower density, which of course has an effect on the stability of the briquettes. A customer mentioned that the bag of the heat beads was a little leaky and they did some coal dust trickling out have to count. We think that it is the fraction as well as the leaky packaging are exceptions.

The coal factory also stands for quality when grilling. The Kohlemanufaktur grill briquettes are available in 5 kg bags and are a little cheaper at 1.90 € per kilo. The heat beads currently cost € 2.11 per kilo.

The lighting time of the test grill briquettes

The high density of the heat beads grill briquettes is already noticeable during the ignition time. For example, we recommend using a Rösle stainless steel chimney to ignite briquettes. Incidentally, in a post linked below, we give tips on lighting charcoal, which is why we are not going into details here. The heat bead briquettes in the three-quarters filled chimney glow through in about 30 minutes. The reports from users vary between 20 and 45 minutes. Depending on what kind of grill model, what kind of lighting technique and quantity was used. For example, the lighting process can be accelerated a bit by adding the right pieces of charcoal.

Quote from customer experience: “In the grill fireplace, lighting the Heat Bead briquettes is relatively easy. Put two to three lighters underneath, light them and after about 20 minutes you have the perfect embers with almost no smoke. "

The low smoke development was just as positive as the odorlessness of the heat beads. According to user experience, the lighting phase lasts longer than with other manufacturers, but the long glow duration, which we will take a closer look at in the following section, is convincing. The charcoal manufacturer's grill briquettes also highlighted the odor neutrality that prevailed after the lighting phase, but more customers say that lighting does not seem to be quite so easy.

Quote from customer reviews (Heat Beads): “If you want to grill a sausage quickly, maybe you should. take another coal, that's a waste of money. The charcoal is ideal for long BBQ orgies or meat that has to be grilled over a long period of time and at a constant heat. "

This comment refers to the heat beads, but we generally advise against grill briquettes for quick and short grill sessions. Better buy charcoal here. Grill briquettes are designed to burn for a long time and, as is well known, the sausage does not take long.

Annealing time and heat development of the heat beads and the coal manufacture briquettes

Even if the lighting phase takes a long time, the heat beads convince by the fact that they keep the heat much longer than other well-known grill briquettes. Over 300 degrees are possible without any problems.

Due to the long burning time and the very even burning behavior, users like to use the heat beads for the low & slow grill method. But one user also reports that the preparation of pulled pork in the smoker for 15 hours is no problem. He only needed 3 kg of heat beads for this, but 4.5 kg for a competing product. Best of all: some of the briquettes were left over after indirect grilling and hadn't burned out. These briquettes can then be used again without hesitation.

Quote from customer review: “The briquettes glow perfectly and will be the very first choice for my Dutch oven in the future. I had to go to other manufacturers again. Here I could have made a second approach. "

The Heat Bead grill briquettes can obviously be used very well for bread in the Dutch Oven. That the temperature can be held for several hours can be seen from many reviews. Experienced users who have tried different products emphasize that the heat can be kept evenly over a longer period of time. Only one user said that he used the heat beads regularly and had the problem of not getting the smoker up to temperature with one batch. Since there is no further experience in this direction, we consider this to be an exceptional case. Otherwise the quality is classified as constant.

Quote from customer review: (Kohlemanufaktur Briquettes) "Holds the embers very well ... I can recommend anyone who wants to grill a little longer. Also suitable for a tuxedo "

We noticed that the customers of the Kohlemanufaktur grill briquettes are quite satisfied with the burning behavior and the burning time. However, nobody puts extremely high grill temperatures or an above-average burning time in the foreground, as was often the case with customer reviews regarding the heat beads. In terms of grill duration and heat development, the grill briquettes from the charcoal factory have to admit defeat to the heat beads. This is especially true for the duration of the grilling. While the heat beads always generate the same amount of heat over a number of hours, the lighter and less densely pressed grill briquettes from the coal manufacturer only last for a few hours. We therefore recommend using the heat beads over the charcoal factory briquettes when it comes to indirect grilling. The briquettes from the charcoal factory seem to be much better suited for quick searing of steak and meat and for direct cooking of grilled dishes. The heat is generated evenly and very solidly, which still makes the grill briquettes much higher quality than briquettes from the hardware store or discount store.

In an overall comparison, however, the heat beads received more praise than the briquettes from the charcoal factory, which despite many positive reviews received more negative feedback in comparison.

Quote from customer review: "Of course I was also animated by so-called product tests, but ultimately the impetus came from a heated debate in a barbecue community, where branded briquettes (" W ") were against heat bead. Trying it out was the order of the day .. Result: My grill (57 cm ball BBQ .. not from "W") has not seen anything else for more than 6 years. "

Conclusion of the charcoal briquette test

On the basis of qualitative data, we have a result as to which grill briquettes perform better in practice. The Heat Beads grill briquettes feel heavy in the hand and you can tell how qualitative the briquettes are. The heat development of the grill briquettes is particularly even and long-lasting. Slowly cooking large pieces of meat for ten or more hours is no problem either. The strength of the Kohlemanufaktur grill briquettes lies in the even, solid heat development. Grilling steak directly at high temperatures is no problem. In terms of long-lasting heat development and particularly high temperatures, however, the Heat Beads have the edge. In our shop you can of course find both grill briquettes.

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