Briquettes: The Ultimate Guide to Coal, Charcoal, and More

by Joost Nusselder | Last Updated:  June 1, 2022

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A briquette (or briquet) is a block of flammable matter used as fuel to start and maintain a fire. Common types of briquettes are charcoal briquettes and biomass briquettes.

Briquettes are a popular fuel source known for their ability to burn for a long time and provide a consistent heat output. They’re a type of fuel made from coal and other materials like sawdust, wood, and paper, compressed into a dense block that’s easy to light and burns longer and more consistently than other fuels.

In this article, I’ll dive into everything you need to know about briquettes, including their history, how they’re made, and why they’re so popular.

What are Briquettes

From Wood to Fuel: The Making of Briquettes

To create briquettes, manufacturers typically use a mixture of wood, coal, and other materials. The ingredients vary depending on the type of briquette being produced. For example, charcoal briquettes are made from leftover bits of wood and sawdust mixed with additives, while paper briquettes are made from shredded waste paper. The materials used are finely shredded or ground into small particles to make it easier to work with.

Adding Binders and Additives

Once the materials are finely ground, binders and additives are added to the mixture. Binders are used to hold the briquettes together, while additives are added to make the briquettes easier to light, burn longer, or infuse a particular flavor. Sodium, calcium, and cassava are some of the binders used in briquette making.

Compressing the Mixture

After the ingredients are mixed, the mixture is compressed into the desired shape and size. This is typically done using machinery that compresses the mixture under high pressure. The compression process removes any excess moisture and creates a hard, dense block of fuel. The briquettes are then passed through a disintegrator to remove any unwanted dust or particles.

Drying and Storing the Briquettes

Once the briquettes are compressed, they are dried to remove any remaining moisture. This is typically done by letting the briquettes sit in a dry, well-ventilated area for several days. The dried briquettes are then stored in a cool, dry place until they are ready to be sold.

Testing and Adding Brand-Specific Recipes

Before the briquettes are sold, they are tested to ensure that they meet certain content and quality standards. Manufacturers may also add their own brand-specific recipes to create a unique product. For example, some manufacturers may add steam to the compression process to create a briquette that burns hotter and longer, while others may add clay to improve the briquette’s airflow.

The Final Product: Briquettes

Briquettes are a highly efficient and convenient fuel source that can be used for a range of purposes. They are known for their long burn time and consistent heat output. Some popular types of briquettes include charcoal briquettes, paper briquettes, and phurnacite briquettes. They are sold by weight, typically in 1 kg or larger bags.

Coal Briquettes: The Ultimate Substitute for Fuel and Kindling

Coal briquettes are a type of compressed block made from coal dust or other combustible materials. They are commonly used for fuel and kindling to start a fire. Coal briquettes are a superior substitute for traditional fuel sources due to their consistent quality and steady burn.

What Ingredients are Required to Produce Coal Briquettes?

Coal briquettes contain a variety of ingredients, including coal dust, starch, and water. Cornstarch is commonly used as a binding agent to hold the materials together. The resulting mixture is then molded into a block form and compressed to produce the final product.

How do Coal Briquettes Improve the Processing of Coal?

Coal briquettes play a significant role in the processing of coal. They are a direct substitute for coal and can be used to produce electricity. Coal briquettes are also an excellent way to improve the quality of coal by removing impurities and producing a pure, white substance. This resulting substance is commonly used in different forms of energy production.

What are the Different Types of Coal Briquettes?

There are several varieties of coal briquettes available, each with its own particular set of benefits. Some of the most commonly found types of coal briquettes include:

  • Pure coal briquettes
  • Coal briquettes mixed with other materials
  • Coal briquettes with a higher starch content
  • Coal briquettes with a lower price point

What is the Resulting Benefit of Using Coal Briquettes?

Using coal briquettes as a fuel source has several benefits, including:

  • Faster and easier starting of fires
  • Consistent quality and steady burn
  • Greater control over the flame
  • Cheaper production and purchase price
  • Improved processing of coal and energy production

Charcoal Briquettes: A Guide to Choosing the Right Type

There are two main types of charcoal briquettes: natural and charcoal briquettes made with additives. Natural charcoal briquettes are made from pure materials and achieve a hot, steady burn. Charcoal briquettes made with additives, on the other hand, are typically cheaper and easier to find in stores. However, they may affect the taste of your food and create more smoky bits.

Choosing the Right Brand

When choosing a brand of charcoal briquettes, it’s important to consider the quality and price. Some users prefer more affordable options, while others are willing to pay a little extra for superior control and resulting flavor. Some popular brands include Kingsford, Weber, and Royal Oak. Knowing what you’re looking for and learning about the different methods of production can help you decide which brand is right for you.

Starting and Maintaining a Fire

To start a fire with charcoal briquettes, it’s important to follow a few simple steps:

  • Stock up on charcoal briquettes and any necessary tools, such as a chimney starter (like these top choices) or lighter fluid.
  • Build a pyramid shape with the charcoal briquettes and light them using a direct flame or lighter fluid.
  • Wait for the charcoal briquettes to turn gray and ash over before placing them in your grill or other cooking device.
  • Maintain the fire by adding more charcoal briquettes as needed and adjusting the airflow to control the temperature.

East-Asian Briquettes: A Unique Type of Fuel

East-Asian briquettes are produced using a mixture of coal dust and a gluing agent, typically clay or a polysaccharide. The ingredients are finely ground and mixed together to form a solid block. The block is then passed through a screw or knife to create a certain size and shape. The briquettes are then dried and stored away for later use. Unlike regular coal or wood, East-Asian briquettes come in a consistent size and are easy to stack.

The Different Types

There are a number of different types of East-Asian briquettes, each associated with a certain area or country. The most popular type is the Japanese briquette, referred to as “edo” in Japan. It is widely used for cooking and home heating. The Japanese briquette is unique in that it is made from a mixture of coal and red earth, giving it a distinct red color. Another type is the Korean Yeontan, which is made from a mixture of lignite coal and a gluing agent.

The Advantages

East-Asian briquettes have a number of advantages over traditional coal or wood. They are a quick and easy source of energy, and produce little ash when burned. They are also a good alternative to firewood and natural coal because they are easy to store and stack. Additionally, they are a more environmentally friendly option, as they are made from natural materials and release less harmful emissions when burned.

The Companies

There are a number of companies that produce East-Asian briquettes, each with their own unique brand and production methods. Some companies use special techniques to create a more consistent size and shape, while others focus on using high-quality materials to produce a better product.

The Use

East-Asian briquettes are typically used for cooking and home heating. They are often placed directly on top of vegetables or other foods to bring out their natural flavors. They are also used in special units designed for holding and burning the briquettes. When burned, they release a steady amount of heat and energy, making them a reliable source of fuel.

Peat Briquettes: The Natural Fuel Mixture That Burns Slow and Lasts Long

Peat briquettes are a popular fuel source in Ireland, where peat is abundant. Peat is a natural mixture of partially decayed vegetation that is harvested from bogs. The peat is shredded and then compressed into briquettes that are easy to transport and store.

Slow Burning and Calorific Heat

Peat briquettes are slow-burning and produce a high amount of heat, making them an excellent choice for heating homes and other spaces. They have a high calorific value, which means that they produce a lot of heat per unit of fuel.

The Benefits of Compressed Fuel

The compression process used to make peat briquettes removes excess moisture from the peat, making it burn more efficiently. The briquettes are also easy to handle and transport, making them a convenient fuel source for both residential and commercial use.

A Smokeless Alternative to Coal

Peat briquettes are virtually smokeless, making them a cleaner alternative to coal. They are also a renewable resource, as peat is constantly being formed in bogs. Using peat briquettes instead of coal can help reduce your carbon footprint and support sustainable energy practices.

The Power of Biomass Briquettes

Biomass briquettes are an excellent substitute for coal and wood as they produce significantly less ash content and have higher energy content. They are commonly used in power plants and for cooking fuel. The following are some reasons why biomass briquettes are important:

  • They are renewable and based on bio-based materials.
  • They are an excellent way to improve the quality of certain organic materials.
  • They allow for the utilization of different types of waste materials.
  • They have a longer shelf life and can be stored for a longer period of time.
  • They are an excellent way to reduce the loss of raw materials.
  • They are an excellent way to improve the utilization of non-renewable industrial wastes.

How can Biomass Briquettes be Utilized?

Biomass briquettes can be utilized in the following ways:

  • As a fuel for power plants.
  • As a cooking fuel.
  • As a source of warmth and heat.
  • As a source of electricity generation.

The process of making paper briquettes is relatively simple and can be done at home with the right equipment. Here’s how it’s done:

  • Collect shredded paper material, such as old newspapers, leaflets, or cardboard boxes.
  • Soak the shredded paper in water for a few days to soften the material.
  • Drain the water and compress the shredded paper into a cylindrical form using a briquettor.
  • Leave the briquettes to dry for a few days until they are firm and ready to use.

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Between Lump Coal and Briquettes

When it comes to grilling and smoking, the type of fuel you use plays a significant role in the resulting flavor and quality of your food. Both lump coal and briquettes are common forms of charcoal used for fuel, but they differ in their composition and method of production.

Understanding the Differences Between Lump Coal and Briquettes

Here are some key differences between lump coal and briquettes to help you decide which one to use for your next grilling or smoking session:

  • Lump coal is made by burning wood in a pit or arrange in a chimney, leaving behind only the charred remains. Briquettes are made by compressing charcoal, sawdust, and other resources into a uniform shape.
  • Lump coal is a natural product, while briquettes are created using a method that involves adding binders and fillers to the charcoal.
  • Lump coal burns hotter and faster than briquettes, making it ideal for hot and fast cooking. Briquettes produce a more consistent heat and are better for low and slow cooking.
  • Lump coal produces less ash than briquettes, making it easier to control the airflow and oxygen intake in your grill or smoker (or these amazing combos).
  • Briquettes are more affordable than lump coal, making them a popular choice for people who grill or smoke frequently.

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Fuel

No matter which type of fuel you choose, there are some tips you can follow to increase the flavor and quality of your food:

  • Arrange your fuel in a way that creates zones of different heat levels, allowing you to cook different types of meat at the same time.
  • Use a chimney to light your fuel, rather than lighter fluid, to avoid any chemical taste in your food.
  • Control the airflow and oxygen intake in your grill or smoker by opening and closing the intake and exhaust vents.
  • Use smoking wood to increase the flavor of your food, but be careful not to over-smoke it, as this can result in a bitter taste (here are some more reasons).

In the end, the choice between lump coal and briquettes comes down to personal preference and the type of cooking you plan to do. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to experiment and find what works best for you.


So, briquettes are a fuel made from compressed coal and wood waste. They’re great for starting and maintaining a fire, and are especially useful for cooking. You can use them for grilling, heating, and even electricity production. So, the next time you need to start a fire, don’t forget about briquettes!

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Lakeside Smokers is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with BBQ Smoking (& Japanese food!) at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.