When I’m not cooking on gas, I love using lump charcoal vs. briquettes. Lump charcoal is real honest-to-goodness wood that has been partially burned down. There are no fillers or additives – just wood. Good wood = good flavor.
But not all lump is the same
You want to look for lump made from quality hardwood that is consistently sized and doesn’t contain other scraps like bark, limbs or rocks.
Black Diamond CharWood asked me to try their lump charcoal, and I put it to the test.
Before even opening the packaging, I was impressed. Instead of coming in a huge bag like most lump, Black Diamond CharWood is packaged in an easy-to-carry and easy-to-store box. This comes in really handy when I want to load a few in the RV for a road trip.
And because of how the CharWood is processed, the charcoal is actually lighter than traditional lump, making it easier for me to handle.
To open the box, you tear off a corner and pull out the opening of a large plastic bag. The interior bag keeps moisture out and dust residue contained, so it won’t spill out onto your patio – a problem with some of the brown-bagged lump.
The bag was a little large to get a nice pour of wood. I shared that with one of the owners of the company, and he told me they were already aware of that flaw, and they are changing up their packaging to make it even better. I love companies that listen to customer feedback.
Now to the real test – the wood
When I poured a few layers in my Big Green Egg, I was impressed with the consistent size of this lump. Some brands have really long pieces mixed with really stubby pieces, which makes the layering and wood-to-air ratio uneven.
Black Diamond CharWood prides itself in consistency. All of the lump in my box was very similar in size.
Like most lump, this started up quickly, especially with the help of their wooden roll fire starters. These little guys are awesome. They’re little rolls of wood shavings that have been dipped in paraffin wax.
You tuck a couple into the wood and they light right up – with no aftertaste.
The CharWood burned great. It got nice and hot like most lump charcoal, but there was less smoke and sparks because there is less moisture in each piece. Black Diamond said their pieces average 94 percent carbonization. Other lump averages less than 50 percent.
What I love about lump is that you can reuse the pieces that haven’t fully burned. Once your food is done grilling, just close all the vents. Any leftover pieces will stop burning, so they can be relit for a later grill.
The final stage of any good lump review is the ash. Lump far surpasses traditional briquettes because briquettes leave you with a bucket full of ash. Traditional lump leaves a much smaller amount, and surprisingly Black Diamond CharWood burns so clean, there is hardly any ash left.
But as an added bonus, any ash that does remain can be used in your garden as BioChar. Mix it in with your soil to improve plant growth.
Disclosure: Black Diamond CharWood provided this product to Girls Can Grill at no cost, so I could test it and provide feedback to other grillers.