Can You Use Charcoal In A Green Egg?

by Joost Nusselder | Last Updated:  March 19, 2022

Always the latest smoking tips & tricks?

Subscribe to THE ESSENTIAL newsletter for aspiring pitmasters

We'll only use your email address for our newsletter and respect your privacy

I love creating free content full of tips for my readers, you. I don't accept paid sponsorships, my opinion is my own, but if you find my recommendations helpful and you end up buying something you like through one of my links, I could earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more

Charcoal is an excellent way to add flavor to your food.

It’s made from wood that has been burned at high temperatures over long periods, which makes it very efficient at absorbing odors.

But can you use charcoal in a Big Green Egg?

Can You Use Charcoal In A Green Egg?

Yes, you absolutely can, but it definitely depends on what kind of charcoal you are using.

Charcoal is usually sold as briquettes, blocks, or natural hardwood lumps.

Briquettes are small pieces of charcoal compressed together so they don’t break apart when you use them.

Blocks are larger chunks of charcoal pressed into one solid piece.

What Shouldn’t I Use In My Green Egg?

How to buy a bbq smoker video
How to buy a bbq smoker video

Technically, a charcoal briquette isn’t actual charcoal, but rather a combination of charcoal and various other ingredients molded into easy to light lumps.

Because briquettes produce so much ash, they’re not effective for use in ceramic grills like Big Green Eggs.

In addition, regular charcoal is not recommended in Green Eggs when cooking.

Using lighter fluids permanently contaminates your egg with petrochemicals.

As a good rule of thumb, definitely do not use charcoal briquettes, self-starting charcoal, or other similar products in an EGG.

Another thing to consider when using an Egg is that you should never cook at a full temperature on the first round of cooking.

As it is ceramic, you want to give it time to adjust to the rise in temperature. You will also risk blowing the gaskets, though these can easily be replaced if necessary.

If you damage the gasket, it can be replaced with a self-adhering high-temperature replacement gasket.

Why Can’t You Use Regular Charcoal In A Green Egg?

Never use lighter fluid, charcoal briquettes, or self-starting charcoal in a Big Green Egg because they permanently contaminate your Egg with petrochemicals.

These chemicals taint the flavor of your food.

What Fuel Should I Use In My Green Egg?

Big Green Egg charcoal is made from 100% natural American oak, which is an ultra-premium hardwood.

You will see and taste the differences right away, so what else would you want to cook with?

Big Green Egg 100 percent natural lump charcoal is easy to light and usually ready to cook in just ten minutes.

But of course, you can always buy other brands of natural hardwood charcoal.

Lighting the charcoal is quick and easy, as there is an efficient airflow system inside the Big Green Egg.

If you use a natural charcoal starter or electric starter, you’ll never need to buy lighter fluid again.

Using good charcoal already imparts an earthy, smoky flavor. Don’t believe us? Well, try baking an apple pie using an EGG and you’ll be converted.

The flavor is so delicious that once you’ve tried it, you’ll never want anything else. If you smoke food, you add a certain flavor to its ingredients.

BBQ recipes usually indicate whether you should use a specific type of smoking wood, but they don’t explain why this particular type of wood is so good at imparting smokey flavors to meat.

Check out our list of great quality natural charcoals below if you want our recommendations of the best charcoals to use in your Green Egg.

What Other Fuels Work Well In An Egg?

Wood

Fancy some smoked salmon? Or maybe a delicious smoked duck breast! You can prepare them on the Big Green Egg.

With the lid, you can easily turn an EGG into a true smoker.

The unique ceramic material helps keep your ingredients juicier and ensures a constant temperature throughout the cooking process.

Hay

Apart from wood, there are other natural materials you can use to smoke. One of these is hay (unsprayed, of course).

When smoking on hay, the hay flavors the ingredients. Hay burns quickly so you shouldn’t throw it on the glowing charcoal.

You put hay on the grid with an ingredient on top, possibly wrapped in hay.

Recommendations For The Best Lump Charcoal For Green Eggs

Jealous Devil All Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal

Jealous Devil is one the most revered brands when it comes to charcoal. It offers the best lump charcoal for large green eggs in terms of heat level and burning efficiency.

A gram of this lump charcoal can cook up to 7,000 kcal of food, which is nearly twice the cooking power of regular briquettes.

Try using this charcoal, which produces small amounts of ash. Besides, it doesn’t pop or spark, so it’s safer and easier to use.

Fogo Premium Hardwood Charcoal

One thing you might note about this product from Figo is that it is more expensive than what most of the competition is offering.

At the same time, the quality of the Fogo Super- Premium Oak Lump Charcoal is unmatched.

It’s super-premium charcoal because it’s made from the highest quality ingredients.

Being made from oak, which is one of nature’s most high-quality hardwoods, charcoal has some great benefits.

It burns with intense heat and the burning lasts for a long time.

One of the reasons people love this charcoal is the kind of flavor they get from it. Oak smells good, and it adds some great woodsy flavor to your food.

Cowboy 29088 Hardwood Charcoal

If you want the best charcoal for your Big Green Eggs, the Cowboy lump charcoal is another great product that’s worth looking into.

It’s made from natural lump charcoal that has been widely used for years.

It’s important to note that this charcoal is made from natural hardwoods.

The manufacturer uses different types of wood including Hickories, Maples, Oaks, etc. to create their products.

Because of that, the charcoal packs a punch, and as opposed to the cheaper charcoal varieties on the market today, it doesn’t crumble readily.

Mr. Bar-B-Q Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal

When you consider how quickly small pieces of lump charcoal burn, you realize why people prefer large pieces.

Big chunks of charcoal burn slowly, but small pieces of charcoal burn quickly. There are even more large pieces.

Once the small ones start burning, they light up the bigger ones pretty quickly, which makes it easier for you to light your Eggs.

One of the best things about this charcoal is that it produces incredibly hot coals, which get to over 1000 degrees Fahrenheit.

You only need to cook for a short period at such high temperatures.

BIG CP Natural Lump Charcoal

The OG natural lump charcoal, the Big Green Egg specialty hardwood charcoal is definitely on the higher price but it does deliver premium results.

If money isn’t an option in your Egg journey, give it a while and cook up a storm with this great quality charcoal.

Final Thoughts

The Big Green Egg is amazing for cooking, and you can seriously use a whole host of cooking methods to grill, smoke, and barbecue a massive range of food, including loads you never even thought of.

The main gist of this article is to be careful what fuel sources you use in your Egg. If in doubt, go natural!

The Egg works best with natural fuel sources and you don’t want to impart a nasty flavor of quick-fire starters or other petrochemicals into your beautiful Green Egg.

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.