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Let’s look at lovely lumpwood charcoal

A picture of Lumpwood Charcoal with illustrated flame overlay

Lumpwood charcoal is Big K. And Big K is lumpwood charcoal. We’re forever intertwined in the most beautiful relationship. We owe everything to these precious pieces of carbonised perfection. We wouldn’t even exist without them. Lumpwood charcoal lies at the heart of what we do and it is the foundation upon which we have built our 100% family-owned business – touching countless other families along the way. Check out the full story here and then you’ll understand how deep the connection really goes. 

The point is that we are obsessed with charcoal. We respect it. We understand it. We realise how each fragment lives or dies by its quality. This is why we’re always excited to share our charcoal knowledge with all of you. It’s a chance to shine a light on this incredible fuel. OK, enough of the lumpwood love-fest. Let’s get into some detail.

What is Lumpwood charcoal and how is it made?

Lumpwood charcoal is basically just carbonised lumps of hardwood. Carbonising is a simple process in which we burn wood very slowly in an oxygen deprived environment. This removes all the impurities and contaminates from the wood. Once the wood has fully burned, we’re left with powerful lumps of high density carbon AKA lumpwood charcoal.

Why is lumpwood charcoal so good for a BBQ?

Yes we have referred to lumpwood charcoal as a fuel. But that’s only part of the picture. Think of it as an ingredient. In fact, it is the most important ingredient in any BBQ, affecting everything from the taste and texture of your food to how it looks on the plate. You know that subtle yet undeniable smoky flavour that’s so moreish? It comes from your charcoal. You see, lumpwood charcoal produces the flavour that binds all the other flavours together in blissful BBQ harmony.

What are the characteristics of lumpwood charcoal? 

Ease is a big one. You can light up your lumpwood quickly and easily. Usually it will be cook ready within a snappy 10-15 minutes. Heat is another trait.  Lumpwood charcoal is derived from denser hardwoods. And denser hardwoods create higher carbon density charcoal – which means hotter burning temperatures. Lumpwood charcoal usually burns a little faster than charcoal briquettes, making it perfect for hot and fast direct grilling – think steaks and sausages.   

A red bag of Big K Lumpwood Charcoal lies in the foreground, while a pile of charcoal burns red hot in a grill behind it.

High-quality, authentic lumpwood charcoal should always be 100% natural. This means no additives, no accelerants and no bindersBig K Lumpwood Charcoal is 100% natural  – bringing you a purer cook free from any chemical taste that could affect your delicious food.

Which type of wood is best?

Ok, so now we know that charcoal is produced from wood. The natural trail of thought leads us to wonder what type of wood creates the best charcoal. We’d say that hardwoods are where it’s at. This mostly due to their high density – meaning there’s more carbon in the charcoal produced . Applewood, maple, oak, birch; the list goes on. Each wood passes on its own unique properties to the lumpwood charcoal. And this brings more diversity to the grilling experience. 

But that’s not all. There are many exotic hardwoods used to produce charcoal. Take our Pro Restaurant Grade Dura; each piece is derived from 100% White Quebracho, which is a mega dense hardwood, delivering an epic charcoal with a cook time of over 3 hours. Or what about Big K Marabu?   This lumpwood is made from  100% Marabu wood. Marabu is an extremely tough, durable and dense wood – bringing you charcoal that offers super heat and up to three hours of cooking time. 

Is the size of lump wood pieces important?

While many people love getting a gargantuan asteroid in their bag, size isn’t as important as carbon density. In fact, it’s preferable to have a mix of sizes. This

gives you more potential control over your cook, as you can use smaller, medium-sized or bigger pieces, depending on how much heat you want to create. After we produce our lumpwood charcoal, we grade it by size. This allows us to create bags with a balanced mix of pieces including larger ones too. It is this attention to quality and detail that ensures every bag of Big K delivers unparalleled performance.

Excited to get your lumpwood on? Great stuff. Head over to and check out our Pro and Home range of lumpwood charcoal. You’re sure to find something spectacular to take your grill skills to another level of amazingness.