Grilling Guide

3 Alternatives to Lump Charcoal for Grilling

Tired of your grilling experience with lump charcoal? Explore three of the most common grilling alternatives to lump charcoal for a better cookout.

Lump charcoal is a highly popular choice when it comes to cookouts. However, whether you’re grilling in your backyard or in the stadium parking lot, you know how grating it can be to dodge smoke, sparks, and the overwhelming scent of burning charcoal. Of course, the cheap cost and maneuverability of lump charcoal make it an enticing option, but they aren’t cause enough to overlook your other options. Discover three alternatives to lump charcoal for grilling to take your barbecue skills to the next level.


If you’re looking for ways to add more flavor to your grilling, opt to grill with wood—your flavor options will become much more abundant. Different types of wood have different flavors when burned—often emitting much more favorable scents than lump charcoal, too.

Up to 13 common wood types are used for grilling—that’s a pretty diverse assortment for your backyard barbecue! To give you an idea of how rich your wood grilling experience can be, we’ll note a few popular wood types and their essences:

  • Hickory: Many barbecue experts hold hickory wood in high regard. It creates a rich brown color on meats as well as a robust flavor.
  • Mesquite: Mesquite flavor is recognized as intense and earthy. It creates a golden-brown coloring, and it’s the top choice for grilling barbacoa.
  • Oak: From meat to booze, many different industries lust after the flavors that oak exudes. You’ll likely taste hints of clove, nutmeg, and vanilla when grilling with oak wood.

Be wary that if you work with wood, achieving the heat you’re striving for may take more time and product.

Coconut Shell Charcoal

One of the most sustainable grilling options out there, coconut shell charcoal has risen in fame among grill-masters. All-natural coconut shell briquettes derive entirely from compressed shell rather than from trees, which is why they’re the eco-friendlier option.

When grilling with coconut charcoal, you’ll be pleased to know not only that you’re causing less waste but also that your charcoal will burn up to three times longer than lump charcoal. The longevity of this charcoal type—plus its odorless, sparkless, and smokeless features—make it one well worth your consideration.


Wrapping up our list of the three alternatives to lump charcoal for grilling is the South American grilling option quebracho. The name of this high-heat, low-ash alternative comes from the term “quebrar hacha,” meaning “ax-breaker.”

Quebracho has a dense makeup, which enables long burn times and hot grilling temperatures. Quebracho’s delightful fragrance and tendency to produce considerably less ash than lump coal makes it a convenient option for grillers hoping to keep clean.