Originally Posted by Fire Me Boy!
Natural? No. Natural fire burning from wood flavors whatever it's cooking. Pure beef (or chicken or pork or whatever) flavor, sure. But the smokiness that comes from grilling is a natural accompaniment to meat.
That said, I don't know many serious grillers that use briquettes. Most use natural lump charcoal. That doesn't have fillers, and you get a better, natural flavor.
Natural to me means the taste of the food and not the fuel material.
Charcoal always contains chemical additives like nitrates, starches, lime, even coal. Lump charcoal may not contain the binders to give it the shape, but even in the event you have pure charcoal with no chemicals added in manufacture, you are still taking it on faith that the wood used by whatever corporation made it was not chemically treated or from some other dubious waste/scrap wood source like discarded stained hardwood flooring.
This is hair splitting, which is what any good gas vs charcoal debate amounts to. I just opined that natural to me is the taste of the food and not a campfire