We've been recipe testing and grilling all summer long. Here are our 5 favorite charcoals. Which one fits your grilling style?

So far this grilling season (which started about a month early thanks to lockdown) I’ve cooked through about 100 pounds of charcoal. I used to be one of those people who thought charcoal was a pain to cook with despite its flavor benefits: It’s too messy, slow to light, tough to control, and too inconsistent for easy weeknight cooking. Better to leave it to the parties and weekends. Or so I thought. But lockdown has yielded many surprising lessons and the ease of charcoal is one of them, and now cooking over coals is a routine weeknight affair. Once you get into the swing of it, stock up on fuel, come up with a reliable go-to lighting strategy, and learn the arc of how your charcoal burns in your grill over time, you start to cook with the charcoal rather than against it. It quickly becomes second nature and you’ll find yourself in the flow with the coals, and with much better tasting food as a result. But not all charcoal is created equal, and every kind, just like every grill, has its quirks. Here are the five brands of charcoal I’ve used this summer and what I’ve learned.

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