Is Lump Charcoal Good for Burgers?

Currently in an argument with your mates about how best to barbecue those burgers? Is one type of fuel more suited to burgers than others? If so, why? Do you find yourself having this same discussion with your buddies every time you BBQ?

Let’s be honest, a BBQ in the yard usually ends up with the men standing around the fire putting the world to rights. We are here to clear up this debate once and for all. We have researched and talked to those really in the know as we ask if lump charcoal is good for burgers.

Lump charcoal is ideal for cooking burgers. There is the advantage of it being completely natural, for a start. It is also very easy to light and produces heat quickly. It works well to sear the burgers, ready for cooking to perfection. It also produces very minimal ash residue.

Can You Grill with Lump Charcoal?

Everyone wants that perfect BBQ, right? You will never find a prouder individual than the one stood over their grill, cooking outdoors. But is it OK to grill with lump charcoal? Are there any benefits to choosing this type?

Firstly, let’s take a quick look at what lump charcoal is. When wood is burnt through the carbonization process, you are left with lumps of charcoal. This is the most natural form of charcoal and why so many enthusiasts choose it for their cooking.

Grilling with lump charcoal is not only doable but it has many advantages too. Being natural, you are left with less ash than other fuels. Also, it can light quickly and burn hotter than other types.

What’s the Difference Between Charcoal and Lump Charcoal?

Should you be slightly confused by charcoal and lump charcoal then don’t worry, we have answers.

Charcoal itself is the dusty residue you are left with after heating wood with a lack of oxygen supply. It is heated at a temperature of around 750℉ and the burning process removes all moisture.

Lump charcoal is the end product of the burning process. It is favored by so many due to its natural form and purity. BBQ enthusiasts swear by lump charcoal due to how quickly its lights and how well it responds to oxygen.

How Long Should Lump Charcoal Burn Before Cooking?

The charcoal flavors far outweigh that of standard grilling in the kitchen.  However, it is important to know exactly when to start cooking your food on hot charcoal. Ideally, lump charcoal should be left to burn for 15 minutes before you begin cooking. You can add more if you need to as it heats up quickly.

How Much Charcoal do you Put in a Burger?

Part of how successful your burgers are will depend on getting the quantity of coal right. With food such as hot dogs and burgers, you do not need a huge amount. Instead, pour it onto the grill until it forms one single layer.

How do you Arrange Charcoal for Burgers?

Simplicity is key when it comes to arranging the charcoal for your burgers. You do not need any fancy formation. Using a technique known as direct cooking is the best way to go about preparing your grill for burgers. This involves simply laying your hot charcoal out in a single layer, evenly across the grate.

You may want to leave a space with no coals for when the fat from the burgers causes flames. Once these subside, you can place the burgers back over the charcoal.

What is the Best Way to Cook Burgers on a Charcoal Grill?

You know all the basics and how to get the perfect setup for those burgers. So, let’s turn our attention now to the best way to cook them so you can impress everyone around you!

Sear Those Burgers First

The first part of the cooking process is to sear them. This involves putting them directly on the heat for about 4 minutes per side. The searing process locks in all the juiciness while also giving the burgers that authentic crust.

Do not be tempted to press them down using a spatula or any other utensil. If you press down on the patties, you are undoing the searing process and releasing the juices. When the flames become angry, simply remove the burgers from the direct heat for a few seconds.

Cook as Normal Once Seared

After you have seared the burgers, you can cook off the direct heat for the duration. They do not need long, a few minutes on each side, and flip them just once during this stage. Keep a close eye on them as you don’t want to overdo them.

Add your Extras

Is a burger even a burger without cheese on it? And what about onions? Make sure you allow extra time for any extras you want to add such as cheese and onions. You will want the cheese on long enough to go a little gooey.

Final Thoughts from our BBQ Specialists

We didn’t want to just put our opinions across here so, what better than to speak with individuals who know their stuff?

I put forward the same questions to them:

Which charcoal is best for cooking burgers? And

Would they recommend using lump charcoal and why?

Firstly, I spoke with a company called Hog Roast Specialist – Wolf Catering which is based in Swindon in the UK. He said, “I would recommend using lump charcoal. It’s easier to light than briquettes and less chemically”.

Secondly, we have a butcher and BBQ specialist called Tom’s, based in Sidcup, in the UK. When asked the same questions, we got this response; “In my opinion, a nice hard lump wood coal would be best as they are a natural fuel with good flavor. It achieves a nice high heat for getting a nice sear on burgers”.

Thirdly, I put the same questions forward in a US-based Facebook group which is for all things BBQ and charcoal related. Their answers were all the same and of the same opinion as the two above. Burgers and lump charcoal go together perfectly.