I like to grill, and I like grilling with charcoal.
I think that gas is a crutch for weak, and when smoking, I throw in some wood for flavoring.
Do to Covid-19, I’m trying to keep my traveling to a minimum, and the nearest store only had Kingsford® briquettes.
Chunk charcoal is made by taking pieces of wood, and heating them in a low oxygen oven to drive off all the non-carbon compounds.
Briquettes, on the other hand, are made from sawdust cooked in low oxygen ovens, and then combined with a binders (Lime and Starch) and a release compound (Borax) and pressed into a pillow shape in a mold.
Since I use a chimney fire starter, (Yes, I know, Amazon is evil, but if you buy from this link, they pay me) where you place paper at the bottom of a tube, and charcoal at the top of the tube, and set the paper alight, which ignites the charcoal with no residue in about 10 minutes.
This compares favorably to lighter fluid, where you need to wait about 20-25 minutes, and produces a lot more air pollution.
Unfortunately, it has been my experience that when I use briquettes, there is about an additional 5-10 minutes of foul smelling smoke as the binders and release compounds burn off.
It does not effect the quality of the food, and when you add a few briquettes to an existing fire, the smoke is minimal, but startup is slower and nastier than chunk charcoal.
As an FYI, I grilled dinner for Sharon* for Mother’s Day.
I grilled steak for Sharon and myself, and burgers for the kids, who do not like steaks and roasts.
I also did up some zucchini with salt, pepper, garlic power, onion powder, and olive oil on the grill in foil pouches, and grilled some pineapple (add a small amount of kosher salt to draw out the liquid so that it can carmelize) for dessert.
And a good nosh was had by all.
*Love of my life, light of the cosmos, she who must be obeyed, my wife.