Last updated: August 11, 2021

Welcome to our big barbecue briquettes test 2021. Here we present all the barbecue briquettes that we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the internet. We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best barbecue briquettes for you. You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy barbecue briquettes.




The most important facts

  • Barbecue briquettes are a popular way to grill. They guarantee delicious roasted flavours in the meat and burn longer than conventional charcoal.
  • Briquettes are mainly made from charcoal. There are woods of different quality and origin. Newer products are also made from ecological raw materials. The most important are briquettes made from coconut shells and bamboo.
  • These types have different properties in terms of burning time, smoke development, heat development and much more.

Barbecue briquettes: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying barbecue briquettes

What are barbecue briquettes?

Briquettes consist mainly of charcoal. This is produced by burning wood in an airtight room. The charcoal is mixed with water and binder and strongly pressed. This creates their uniform shapes.

Grillbriketts

The more carbon the briquettes contain, the higher quality they are. (Source: pixabay.com / tookapic)

Are barbecue briquettes right for me?

The advantage of briquettes over charcoal is that they can be arranged in any way because of their uniform shape and size. Some formations have advantages when barbecuing. Briquettes also take up less space in the barbecue. They are more compact and denser and therefore absorb moisture less quickly. this makes them last better.

Briquettes are harder to ignite, but they also have a longer burning time.

However, charcoal also has its advantages. It depends on the dish you are grilling. Charcoal is better suited for dishes that are to be seared briefly and at a very high temperature, such as steaks. Dishes that take a long time to cook, such as ribs, are better cooked with briquettes. Briquettes burn slowly and evenly. They can also maintain low temperatures evenly.

In this table you can see which dish is cooked for how long and at what temperature.

Dish Temperature Cooking time
Whole chicken 180 degrees 50-60 min.
Turkey breast 180 degrees 55-65 min.
Vegetable skewers 150-160 degrees 8-10 min.
Fish fillet 170 degrees 6-8 min.
Steak 230-280 degrees 5-8 min.

What alternatives are there to grilling with briquettes?

In addition to charcoal, there are of course electric or gas barbecues. These are quick and easy to use. However, many barbecue fans miss the delicious roasted aromas.

How much do briquettes cost?

The price of briquettes depends on the raw material they are made from as well as their purity and other quality characteristics.
Type approximate price per kilogram
Charcoal briquettes 1.10 euros - 2.80 euros
Bamboo briquette 2.50 euros - 3 euros
Coconut briquettes 2 to 3 euros

Are barbecue briquettes harmful to health?

When fat and meat juices drip onto the briquettes, more smoke is produced. A small amount of this smoke contains carcinogenic substances. They can be inhaled and adhere to the food being grilled. To minimise the smoke, the briquettes should glow thoroughly before grilling. Also, buy briquettes that are as low in smoke as possible.

Do barbecue briquettes harm the environment?

Classic briquettes are actually bad for the environment. The wood is often extracted in South America and Africa through clearing. Rainforest woods are also among them. As an alternative, which we will introduce later, there are bamboo and coconut briquettes. These do not cause any deforestation of trees. The coconut husks are a waste product of the production of food from coconut and bamboo grows back very quickly compared to trees. A lot of carbon dioxide is also released during barbecuing.

Decision: What types of barbecue briquettes are there and which is the right one for you?

Charcoal briquettes are the classic, but for some years now there have also been alternatives made from other raw materials. In this guide, we will introduce you to the following types of barbecue briquettes:

  • Charcoal briquettes
  • Coconut briquettes
  • Bamboo briquettes

In this section we explain which different materials are available for barbecuing and what their advantages and disadvantages are.

What are the characteristics of charcoal briquettes and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

Charcoal briquettes reach temperatures of 100 to 200 degrees. Under good conditions you can barbecue with them for 3-4 hours. It takes longer to light them. If you use briquettes made from local wood, you can also protect the environment.

Advantages
  • cheap
  • available everywhere
Disadvantages
  • only lower temperatures
  • forests are cut down
  • shorter burning time

What distinguishes coconut briquettes and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

Coconut briquettes are very dense and have a very high calorific value. These sustainable briquettes burn for between 6 and 8 hours. They reach temperatures of up to 800 degrees. So you can grill for a very long time even if you make a whole suckling pig, for example. At the same time, you use fewer briquettes compared to charcoal. The grill also gets less dirty with ash and is easier to clean. Coconut briquettes are considered easy to ignite. They smoke strongly at the beginning, but then almost stop.

Advantages
  • long burning time
  • high temperature
  • little dirt
  • environmentally friendly
Disadvantages
  • expensive
  • not so readily available
  • long glowing time
  • smoke strongly at the beginning

What are the characteristics of bamboo briquettes and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

Bamboo briquettes are pressed from scraps left over from furniture production. The advantage of bamboo is that no more trees are cleared and that bamboo grows back very quickly. They are easy to light and hardly smoke. They also glow quickly. They hardly smell and leave very little ash, which makes barbecuing much more pleasant. They burn for up to 6 hours. Glowing through these coals takes about 25 minutes.

Advantages
  • environmentally friendly
  • easy to light
  • low odour
  • long burning time
Disadvantages
  • expensive
  • not so readily available

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate barbecue briquettes

So you have decided to grill with briquettes. Now you are faced with a fairly large product selection. In this section, we explain which criteria you should look for when buying. In summary, these are:

  • Material
  • Carbon content
  • Binder
  • Foreign matter
  • Ignition aid

Material

In the decision section, we already talked about the advantages and disadvantages of different materials. Now we will go into other aspects of the material. If you use charcoal briquettes, it is very important to avoid cutting down tropical wood for the charcoal. In a 2017 test, tropical wood was found in 40% of the samples. Therefore, make sure you buy a bag of briquettes with an FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) seal. The seal guarantees that no tropical wood was used and that the forest is managed sustainably. It is best for the environment to use domestic wood for charcoal briquettes. The shorter transport route protects the environment and you can be sure that no rainforest wood is used. Hard wood such as beech is particularly suitable because it has a good calorific value. Cheap briquettes are made from waste from charcoal production. These are of inferior quality. Make sure that the briquettes are made from real charcoal.

Carbon content

The quality also depends on the grinding - the finer the charcoal is ground the better. This means you get more raw material per kilogram, which leads to a higher calorific value. The more carbon the briquettes contain, the higher their quality and the longer they burn. Very good briquettes have 65% carbon or more. But there are also some with 80-90%.

Binders

Some binders cause smoke and stink. This is especially the case with cheap briquettes. Corn starch and wheat starch are common binders.

But there are also chemical binders that can even change the taste of the barbecue food. You should keep your hands off these.

Foreign substances

Very cheap charcoal, bought for example at the petrol station, often contains undesirable additives. These not only reduce the calorific value of the coal, but can also be harmful to your health. For example, rust, wood stain, pieces of metal or pitch can be found in the sacks.

Steak auf Grill

Foreign substances in briquettes can be harmful in two ways. Firstly, they can get into our food and cause damage to our health. Secondly, they can pollute the environment when burnt. (Source: pixabay.com / dbreen)

That's why you should only buy briquettes that bear the DIN-Plus logo. They do not contain any added substances.

Lighting aid

Some briquettes also contain a substance that speeds up the glowing process enormously - a built-in ignition aid. These coals need between 3 and 5 minutes to glow through. They can also be lit without further aids, just with a lighter - ideal for impatient grillers.

Facts worth knowing about barbecue briquettes

Next, we answer the most frequently asked questions about using barbecue briquettes.

How many barbecue briquettes do I need?

In this table you can see how many charcoal briquettes you need depending on the type of barbecue.

type of grilling briquettes for the first hour briquettes for each additional hour
smoker fill 2 layers 12 pieces
direct grilling with 47 cm grill 20 per side 7 per side
indirect grilling with 37 cm grill 15 per side 6 per side
indirect grilling with 47 cm grill 20 per side 7 per side
indirect grilling with 57 cm grill 25 per side 8 per side
indirect grilling with 95 cm grill 75 per side 22 per side
Dutch Oven size 8 10 on top and 5 on bottom 5 on top and 4 on bottom
Dutch Oven size 16 22 on top and 12 on bottom 8 on top and 2 on bottom

With briquettes made of bamboo and coconut, you need about ⅓ to half as much.

Basically, it's better to use fewer coals first and then check the temperature. You can always add more, but once the food is burnt you can't undo it.

What is the best way to grill with briquettes?

The so-called minion ring is very popular when grilling with briquettes. In this video you can watch how to arrange the briquettes in a ring so that the meat is optimally roasted during long cooking processes.

How should I store barbecue briquettes?

When storing the briquettes, it is most important that they do not become damp. Then they are no longer usable. It is best to put the bag in a dry and warm room.

Can you reuse briquettes that have already been used?

Yes, when you have finished grilling, simply close the lid and close all the valves. The briquettes are then deprived of oxygen and cannot continue to burn. Then you can take them out and reuse them next time.

When should I stop using briquettes?

You can dispose of briquettes when they have become damp. Exposure to strong sunlight can also damage them. This can also make them almost unusable.

How do you dispose of old briquettes?

Leftover charcoal goes in the black bin. Contrary to popular belief, leftover barbecue charcoal cannot be used for fertiliser because it contains heavy metals.

How do you light briquettes properly?

A popular method of lighting the briquettes is the lighting chimney. This lighting aid is filled with briquettes and then fired from below. You also need a wooden barbecue lighter. In this video you will learn how to use it.

Never use spirit or paraffin. Both can deposit on the meat and are harmful to health.

Picture source: pixabay.com / Bluesnap

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