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Bringing lumpwood charcoal basics to you

A background shot of burning Big K lumpwood charcoal with a product shot of Big K Marabu charcoal in the foreground

Lumpwood charcoal. Ah yes; these black pieces of carbonised wonder are very close to our heart at Big K. On the surface, charcoal is simplistic and unassuming. A carbon dense fuel that heats up your barbecue. However, see beyond the dark opacity and a dynamic world opens up. Lumpwood charcoal is an ingredient, determining everything from the taste and texture of your food, to the look on the plate. Each piece is primeval in a sense, as our neanderthal ancestors burned charcoal 30,000 years ago. Finally charcoal is the catalyst for the BBQ experience itself. Friends and families come together to eat, chat and have fun – all thanks to lumpwood charcoal.


How is lumpwood charcoal made?

There’s no mysterious alchemy or voodoo here people. The process is actually very simple – just a bit of good old-fashioned combustion. Basically, lumpwood charcoal is produced by burning and carbonising, pieces of hardwood. What’s carbonising? Well carbonising is a basic process where we burn wood slowly over an extended period of time.  This methodology removes moisture and chemical impurities from the wood, leaving behind a carbon dense fuel.


A shot of lumpwood charcoal burning red hot in a barbecue base


What are the properties of Lumpwood?

Obviously there’s a plethora of different lovely lumpwood out there. But speaking in general terms, lumpwood charcoal is easy to light, burns for 1-3 hours and produces high heat. Lumpwoods are very versatile, however as they burn quicker than briquettes, many people use lumpwood for the barbecue basics like steaks, burgers and sausages.

Looking for a cleaner cooking adventure? Look no further than lumpwood. The majority of lumpwood charcoal is 100% natural with no chemical nasties or accelerants – meaning a delicious smoky flavour for your food. Plus lumpwood coal burns with minimal ash making clean up a breeze. Oh, and just so you know, all of our lumpwood charcoal is 100% natural, derived from dense hardwoods. Had to throw in a selfless-plug there!


Which wood is best to produce lumpwood charcoal?

Wood species is the main player in the lumpwood charcoal performance equation. We’re after dense hardwoods. This is because the denser the hardwood, the more carbonised material is left for burning. Andt his means longer and hotter burns all around!  Think applewood, oak, maple and birch, or more exotic examples such as Marabu or White Quebracho. Every hardwood has its own properties and characteristics. This ‘personality’ is reflected in the final charcoal product.


a shot of lumpwood charcoal burning at its hottest covered in a thin grey ash


Lumpwood charcoal piece size

While briquette production creates uniformly shaped charcoal with a uniform density, the lumpwood production process is more of a natural thing – think less overall human intervention. Once the lumpwood charcoal is carbonised, we are left with a variety of piece sizes with differing densities. We then grade the pieces by size. As already mentioned the size of the pieces is important as it determines burn time and temperature.  At Big K, we only use the larger graded pieces in our restaurant grade lumpwood charcoal, so you’ll get a dependable, consistent lumpwood that goes the distance.


A quick word on charcoal briquettes

We are dealing with lumpwood charcoal here guys. But as we have touched on briquettes, allow us to fill in the knowledge gap a touch.  Briquettes are a more ‘manufactured’ type of charcoal. In other words, the production process is more hands on. Essentially we take a mixture of carbonised biomass materials – such as sawdust and other forms of wood waste – and place this into a mould. Then everything is compressed at extremely high pressures in a specialised machine. This creates uniformly shaped charcoal briquettes. And each briquette has approximately the same density – meaning a more consistent and predictable burn.  These super handy briquettes come in a wide range of shapes, from the conventional ‘pillow’ shape, to hexagonal ‘tube’ forms. The latter have a central airhole to enhance airflow and improve the overall burn from the briquette.  We could go on and dive into the nuance, however we need to stay on topic. Check out this blog if you want to know more about briquettes, or read up on the comparisons between lumpwood and briquettes here.


Big K lumpwood brings flavour and performance to any BBQ

As you can tell, we are defo a little crazy about lumpwood. You don’t spend over half a decade in the charcoal game if you don’t have that burning passion. We’ve taken all that love and focus and poured it into creating a super-diverse and super-awesome range of lumpwood charcoal for the Big K Family! Check out the main players below.


A pile of lumpwood charcoal lies in a barbecue grill ready to be lit


Big K Pro Charcoal Range

Looking for lumpwood charcoal in the UK? Just head over to and check out stunning range of lumpwood charcoal. We’re talking high quality, 100% natural and ethically sourced lumpwood here guys and gals.

Pro Marabu – 100% natural Marabu charcoal with a 3 hour cooking time.

Pro Chilla-Grilla FSC — FSC certified 100% natural lumpwood with a 2 hour cook time

Binchotan – Premium high carbon density charcoal, hard and metallic feel, no smoke, no odour.

Binchostix – All the performance of our Bincho – just in nifty, smaller sticks.

Pro Dura – 100% natural White Quebracho lumpwood with a 3 hour cook time

Premium Cocoshell briquettes – sustainable briquette made form waste sawdust with a 3 hour cook time.

Flama – Catch this 100% natural Kaachi Stick Charcoal – epically hot temps and gargantuan 3 hour cooking times as standard

Au Natural – 100% natural compressed hardwood charcoal briquettes. Cleaner. Purer. More potent. FSC certified.

We’re sure your cerebral database is humming with activity after this info drop. If you have a burning desire to find out more details about charcoal, lumpwood or bbq lumpwood charcoal, explore a wide range of charcoal related topics in our blog right here.


Stay frosty out there!




Fill your boots




    • 100% natural compressed restaurant grade charcoal briquettes and FSC® Certified.
    • Made from wood waste with no binders
    • Ready to cook within 35 minutes with up to 3 hours cooking time
    • Central hole to aid air flow for even burning
    • Best used in combination with Big K’s Chilla-Grilla charcoal
    • Easier to light than regular RCB10
    • Long lasting
    • High heat

    Pallet deals – save up to 25%





    • 100% natural restaurant grade FSC® Certified lumpwood charcoal
    • Ideal for home BBQers looking for superior grilling
    • Up to 2 hours cooking time
    • Easy to light and ready to cook within 30 minutes
    • High heat output
    • Sourced sustainably from an invasive bush in Namibia

    Pallet deal – save up to 25%





    • 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





    • 100% natural Marabu restaurant grade lumpwood charcoal
    • Ready to cook within 30 minutes
    • Up to 3 hours cooking time, perfect for restaurants or large events
    • High heat output with low smoke produced
    • Sustainably and ethically sourced from an invasive thorn tree

    Pallet deals – save up to 25%



  • Charcoal burns brightly at the base of a charcoal barbecue.



    • High quality briquette produced from waste coconut shell
    • Great performance with up to 3 hours cooking time
    • Super quick and easy to light
    • Low smoke, low odour
    • High heat output
    • Timber free product made from sustainable sources











    • 100% Natural
    • Low smoke and no odour
    • Produces a high heat to seal in food moisture
    • Honouring traditional production methods
    • Branch pieces 50-100mm
    • No flame and virtually smoke free



  • Red hot glowing binchotan lumpwood charcoalPhoto illustrating the white charcoal





    Out of Stock

    Binchotan Charcoal




    • 100% Natural
    • Low smoke and no odour
    • Produces a high heat to seal in food moisture
    • Honouring traditional production methods
    • Unique musical sound
    • No flame and virtually smoke free