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Can You Use Briquettes in a Kamado Joe? (Explained)

Can You Use Briquettes in a Kamado Joe? (Explained)

Can You Use Briquettes in a Kamado Joe

You can use charcoal briquettes in a Kamado Joe, though they will not give you the same flavor and performance as jumbo lump charcoal.

You should also avoid using charcoal briquettes that have been impregnated with lighter fluid, as the aroma of the petroleum chemicals can adhere to the semi-porous ceramic side walls inside the Kamado Joe.

Jumbo lump charcoal is the best type of charcoal for a Kamado Joe as it is made from real hardwood pieces that have been heated without the presence of oxygen.

This gives off a more wood-fired flavor, with richer smoke, and can also produce a hotter flame.

Charcoal briquettes on the other hand are made from wood shaving and hardwood bits leftover from lumber processing.

They are then held together with a chemical binder. If you are going to use briquettes, you should try to seek a high-quality brand like Kingsford, Weber Natural Hardwood Briquettes, Fire & Flavor John Wayne Collection All Natural Hardwood Charcoal Briquettes, or Royal Oak Premium Charcoal Briquettes.

These brands tend to use the highest quality natural wood, with a minimal amount of all-natural binders.


Should You Use Briquettes in a Kamado Joe

While they aren’t ideal, Charcoal briquettes are convenient at times and can provide superior heat control in long-smoking applications.

If you are going to use charcoal briquettes, you should consider adding some lump charcoal or premium wood chips to enhance the quality of the smoke.

In a perfect world, Kamado Joe Natural Lump Charcoal and other brands of premium jumbo lump charcoal are a better choice for a Kamado Joe than charcoal briquettes.


Difference Between Briquettes and Lump Charcoal

Charcoal briquettes are made from wood shavings and the byproducts of the timber industry, whereas lump charcoal is created from sold offcuts of wood that are heated without the presence of oxygen.

Charcoal briquettes are held together with natural binders and chemical additives to give them a uniform shape, as well as to help the briquettes to burn efficiently.

This also gives them a somewhat more consistent burn rate and makes it easier to control the heat.

Though some lower quality charcoal briquette brands use a lot of fillers, and chemical binders, which affects their performance. It also tends to make for weaker smoke and food with a hint of artificial flavors.

Some charcoal manufacturers will impregnate their briquettes with chemical lighter fluid to make them easier to light.

Though the petroleum odor they give off can affect the flavor of the food, and can even embed itself in the semi-porous ceramic interior walls of a Kamado Joe.

Lump charcoal is made from larger offcuts of hardwood that are heated without the presence of oxygen.

Since it has more real wood, lump charcoal tends to burn hotter and creates a richer, more flavorful smoke, which plays well with Kamado grills.

High-quality “Jumbo Lump Charcoal” is typically screened before it is bagged to make sure you are getting larger pieces, rather than tiny chips.

Though it is possible for shipping and handling to break a few small pieces off, you still get a lot of larger pieces that burn consistently for a long time.


Can I Use Kingsford in a Kamado Joe?

Kingsford jumbo lump charcoal and premium charcoal briquettes can be used in a Kamado Joe without affecting performance.

Just make sure to start the charcoal with a charcoal chimney, or an electric element.

The butane odor and flavor of traditional lighter fluid can be intensified in a kamado grill.

It can even embed a petroleum odor in the ceramic sidewalls of a Kamado Joe that can linger for several grilling sessions afterward.


Best Charcoal for Kamado Joe

It’s best to use jumbo lump charcoal in a Kamado Joe, from premium brands like Kamado Joe Natural Lump Charcoal, Fogo Super Premium Hardwood Lump Charcoal, and Jealous Devil Jumbo Lump.

Though these brands often come with a premium price tag. If you are working with a somewhat limited budget, you might want to look for Royal Oak Hardwood Lump Charcoal or Kingsford Jumbo Lump charcoal.

If you are a fan of charcoal briquettes, and the consistent heat control they offer, there are a few top brands to consider.

This includes Weber Natural Hardwood Briquettes, Fire & Flavor John Wayne Collection All Natural Hardwood Charcoal Briquettes, or Royal Oak Premium Charcoal Briquettes.


Final Thoughts 

Kamado Joe grills tend to do best when burning jumbo lump charcoal. Though high-quality charcoal briquettes with all-natural binders and minimal fillers are also a good choice for a Kamado Joe.

Jumbo lump charcoal is made from whole pieces of hardwood that are heated without the presence of oxygen.

This makes them burn hotter, with richer smoke and more flavor imparted to the food.

Charcoal briquettes like Kingsford are made from wood shavings and the byproducts of lumber processing.

They are held together with binders and fillers that affect the performance while producing less flavorful smoke.

Though high-quality briquettes, with natural binders, do offer greater consistency and heat control.