While propane grills lead the market in the total number of grills sold, many home cooks prefer charcoal for its affordability and convenience.
Charcoal can get hotter than gas, and grills that use charcoal are typically less expensive because they use fewer complex parts.
Charcoal is a healthy cooking fuel, despite some of the myths surrounding it. But not all charcoal is created equal, so it’s important to use a product that is natural and free of dangerous additives.
What is the healthiest charcoal to use? Let’s take a look and find out…
Stick to Natural Lump Charcoal for the Healthiest Option
Charcoal briquettes are popular for their convenience and long burn time. However, unlike natural lump charcoal, briquettes can contain additives.
There is often a binding agent that holds the wood byproducts together. The binding agent can be responsible for the slight chemical odor that briquettes produce.
The best briquette charcoal manufacturers use non-toxic binding chemicals, but these may still impart a mild flavor when cooking on the grill.
If you want your ingredients to taste their best, natural lump charcoal, which is almost pure carbon, is always the best option.
Can the Additives in Charcoal Briquettes Make You Sick?
The additives in briquettes can include wax for binding, borax, limestone, and sodium nitrate. Recently, the top producers have moved away from using potentially dangerous and odorous additives.
Good briquettes today use nothing more than a natural binder like wax or cornstarch, and byproducts of the lumber industry like sawdust to form the pieces of charcoal. The best don’t use any binders at all.
When briquettes are marketed as being natural or organic, you can have confidence knowing that they will be free of ingredients that could make you sick. If you still have concerns, you can stick to natural lump charcoal.
Lump varieties are made from pieces of hardwood that are superheated to remove volatile organic compounds and moisture.
The Healthiest Charcoal to Use for Home Cooking
Always insist on natural products when you want the healthiest charcoal to use for home cooking.
- Jealous Devil Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal is the most popular option for charcoal that is free of any additives. Natural South American hardwood is the only ingredient used. This is hands down one of the healthiest charcoal options for your grill or smoker.
- Royal Oak Organic Premium Briquettes are an alternative if you want convenience and a longer burning time in an open grill. These briquettes are made from American Oak and Hickory with no additional ingredients, so you don’t need to worry about chemical additives.
The healthiest charcoal to use for home cooking is charcoal that is free of additives and dangerous chemicals. Your food will be healthier without any risk of flavor or odor contamination.