Charcoal briquets Pressed from chips of burned hardwood. Readily available and relatively inexpensive. The lighter fluid commonly used for charcoal fires gives the coals a quick start but is not necessary if you use kindling or paper.
Self-lighting charcoal Light easily without kindling or use of lighter fluid. The coals may emit an unpleasant smell due to the flammable substance.
(briquets that have been
impregnated with a
Hardwood charcoal Somewhat harder to find than standard briquets. By weight they are usually more expensive, but they burn hotter so you need less. They (irregular chunks of also ignite more easily and give a slightly different, more wood-smoked flavor to foods.
Flavored wood chips Chips of mesquite, fruit or nut trees. The chips serve as flavor enhancers for charcoal fires. Most call for soaking the chips before tossing onto the fire, resulting in fragrant smoke.
Seasoned hardwood Aged (dried) oak and fruitwood logs, either purchased or culled from your own yard. Not practical for use in lightweight metal grills but good for outdoor stone or brick fireplaces. Let the logs burn brightly for a while until the flames die down, leaving glowing hot coals for cooking.