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Lumpwood charcoal explained for you

A picture of lumpwood charcoal with illustrated flames on top

At this time of year our thoughts are drawn to roaring fires and cosy comforts. But more and more people are gravitating towards another kind of blaze – scorching hot lumpwood charcoal burning in a barbecue. It used to be that winter grilling was reserved for the grizzled vets, however many are keeping their charcoal burning bright throughout the frostiest of days. But why is this the case? Aha; well all will be revealed. Let’s look at lovely lumpwood and find out.

What is lumpwood charcoal?

To reduce complexity down its bare bones: charcoal is burnt wood.  Ok, perhaps you need a little more info to get a good grip on the concept. Basically, we lumpwood charcoal is a product derived from carbonising fragments of wood. Carbonising is a process where we burn wood over a longer timeframe at various temperatures.  This long burning technique helps to remove chemical impurities, volatile compounds and moisture from the wood. What’s left behind? A high-density carbon fuel.

Black unburned lumpwood charcoal

What are the characteristics of Lumpwood charcoal?

Sure, we could go super deep into the nuances of lumpwood charcoal (we’re charcoal freaks after all) however sometimes it’s good to keep things topline. Clarity is comprehension at the end of the day. Here’s a quick breakdown of the key properties of lumpwood charcoal.

  1. lumpwood charcoal is super easy to ignite and get going
  2. Enjoy 1-3 hour burn times depending on the type of hardwood 
  3. High heat as standard 
  4. Lumpwood burns quicker than briquettes
  5. Versatile and perfect for any cooks really – especially the BBQ basics like steaks, burgers and sausages.
  6. Burns with minimal ash for easy clean up.


Natural product. Natural flavour.

Big K Lumpwood charcoal is defo 100% natural – meaning no chemical nasties or accelerants. So you can enjoy a neutral flavour foundation, infused with that natural smoky goodness. This is the perfect background to allow the flavour of your food to really shine. 

Which woods produce the best lumpwood charcoal?

Think in terms of species here guys and gals. Basically the best lumpwood charcoal is derived from denser hardwoods such as Oak, Hickory, Maple and Birch. Why? It’s basic science really.  The denser the hardwood, the more carbonised material (AKA charcoal) is left after the burn. And the denser and higher the mass of charcoal, the longer and hotter the burn.  Each hardwood has its own distinct personality and smoky flavour profile. These characteristics affect everything form your cook (times and temps) to the flavour infusion with your food.

 Lumpwood charcoal burning white hot with red embers and grey ash

Buy Lumpwood Charcoal direct from Big K

We are to lumpwood charcoal what Willy Wonka is to chocolate – minus the Oompa Loompas. Wish we had some Oompa Loompas to be fair: that would be beyond awesome. Wait where were we? Oh yes, we have a veritable cornucopia of charcoal delights to float any boat. Our Professional range (not just for pros BTW) is packed full of lumpwood charcoal options to delight and excite. Here are two product spotlights to get your curiosity juices flowing. Obvs you can check the full Pro Range here.

Flama Lumpwood Charcoal

15kg Flama Restaurant Grade Charcoal (BCH15)

100% natural Kachi stick restaurant grade charcoal

Consistently sized sticks give dependable performance

2 hour cooking time

Quick and easy to light, ready to cook within 25 minutes

High heat output with no spitting

Ideal for Robata grilling

Flama isn’t quite like your classic lumpwood charcoal. It is made from super dense Kachi sticks hence it’s distinct stick-like form. Each of these hardwood sticks is consistently sized and 100% natural – so no need to worry about chemicals and additives. Deep in your convenience bag? Flama is easy to light, and delivers a high heat output for a 2 hour of cook. If you’re nuts for Japanese robata grilling, or you want to give it a try, then Flama is the charcoal for you. All the properties of kachi stick charcoal make it the choice of robata grillers everywhere.

12kg Dura Restaurant Grade Charcoal (ACH12)

100% natural White Quebracho restaurant grade lumpwood charcoal

Long lasting, with a cooking time of over 3 hours

Authorised for use in smoke control areas, burns with no smoke

Ready to cook within 30 minutes

Easy to light and burns to a white ash for a consistent high heat output

Suitable for all types of home and professional barbecuing

Dura does it all! Meet our best-selling charcoal taking over the BBQ scene. This high-quality charcoal is versatile, dependable and consistent. Dura burns for over three hours, delivering mind-melting heat. Thank you super dense White Quebracho wood. Oh and Dura is 100% natural and fully authorized for use in smoke control areas. Add all these factors together and it’s no wonder Dura is flying off our shelves.

Lumpwod charcoal lit and burning in a barbecue with flames rising from the pile

Apologies that we didn’t have enough time to go into crazy depth. You can check out our lumpwood Home Range here. Or why not massage your mind with this lumpwood charcoal guide? We hope you’ve enjoyed our brief overview. You should now have a solid base of knowledge to help you in your BBQ journey. Good luck out there and keep your grills burning bright.