The Best Charcoal for Grilling

While Kingsford Original Charcoal briquets are cheap, consistent, and perfectly adequate for most basic grilling needs, they simply didn’t work as well as other charcoals we tested, which burned hotter for a longer period of time. Kingsford Original briquets contain substances such as mineral char, mineral carbon (coal to you and me, though Kingsford processes it in an oxygen-controlled environment, and we really could say it’s “pure carbon”), limestone, borax, sodium nitrate, and sawdust. All of those substances add up to a lot of ash toward the end of your cook and weaken the overall performance of these briquets in competition against simpler briquet formulas. In our tests, Kingsford charcoal cooled off and burned out faster than the better charcoals we found. Kingsford is one the cheapest charcoals around, however, and you can find it for sale everywhere. And with its uniquely identifiable flavor and smell, it’s been a key component of plenty of barbecuing-championship victories around the country every year.