Circle J Fabrication always recommends a 100% hardwood charcoal for cooking. Processed products can affect the taste of your food, and are generally more expensive than locally acquired seasoned wood. We have found that most Circle J Fire Pit units will consume less than 5 pounds of hardwood charcoal during a general grilling session. If you prefer to reduce fire wood to a bed of coals please be sure to remove or rotate the cooking surface until the unit is ready to cook on. Your precision cut CNC grill top is designed for cooking, and may warp slightly if left over a fire too long without cooking on it.