Introduction
We suppose it was inevitable that eventually we were going to have to do this test. Recently,
folks were arguing in one of the online groups devoted to kamadostyle cookers that small pieces
of lump charcoal burn faster than large pieces of lump charcoal. We suppose if we looked hard
enough, we could find folks arguing just the opposite. This, of course, defies all logic
since a pound of charcoal is a pound of charcoal, regardless of the sizes of the individual
pieces. And a pound of charcoal is going to burn a certain length of time, regardless of the size of the
pieces. But, sometimes you just have to prove it by doing it.
Methodology
First of all, we dumped a bag of charcoal onto the ground and selected a 3pound sample of the bigger
pieces and a 3pound sample of the smaller pieces. We then used
the burn time test protocol that we use in all of our lump charcoal reviews to measure the
burn time of each sample.
We burn 3.0 pounds of charcoal in a small Big Green Egg at 400°F using a temperature
controller. We start the clock when the cooker temperature reaches 300°F and stop the
clock when the cooker drops back down to 350°F. When the temperature starts to fall,
indicating that the charcoal is running out, we open the cooker one time to knock the ash
off of the remaining charcoal and pile up any remaining pieces so that they will continue to burn.
Here are photos of our two samples of charcoal, one "small" and one "big." You can click on either image to display a much larger version of the photo.
3.0 pounds of "small" charcoal 
3.0 pounds of "big" charcoal 
Results
So how did the two burns compare? Here are the numbers:
Sample Size  Burn Time 

Small Pieces  648 minutes 
Large Pieces  651 minutes 
That is less than a 1% difference between the two burn times. It should be obvious that the same weight of the same fuel is going to burn the same length of time and contain the same amount of heat. The size of the individual pieces of charcoal has nothing to do with how long the charcoal burns.
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