Best Lump Charcoal

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by marty catka, Jan 10, 2010.

  1. marty catka

    marty catka Meat Mopper

    I've been reading here a lot about using a good quality lump charcoal. What do you all consider "good quality" lump? So far locally for me, SE Michigan, I've seen Cowboy Lump and a store brand offered by Gordon Food Service.
    What is "Good quality" lump and what brands should I look for? I'll be seasoning a new CG soon and want to start cooking in it right.
  2. fire it up

    fire it up Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I could be wrong but I think Cowboy was the brand where people would find plywood and gloves and nails and stuff like that in their bags.
    If I'm right someone actually did a thread on here once about the weirdest things you found in a bag.
    Though not lump I always thought Stubb's made the best all natural hardwood charcoal on the market.
  3. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have talked to folks at the gas store where I get my gas and they really do have a bunch of differant grilling/smoking ideas too. But they probally have a wall of bags of charcaol about 6' tall and 6'-8' long of the Cowboy Brand charcoal. Thay say it would last a month around where we live.
  4. bbally

    bbally Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Though not a true lump, I use Royal Oak almost exclusively. I really like it under the hickory for the heat and smoke they produce.
  5. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Here is a link I found it has tons of info on lump wood. It gives reviews on all kinds of brands, gives you average burn time and lots more. Hopefully you will find some good info here.
    overground likes this.
  6. marty catka

    marty catka Meat Mopper

    Thanks for the link. Lots of good info there. This will keep me busy for a while.
  7. bob the noob

    bob the noob Smoke Blower

    Very nice link! It's amazing that someone goes through that much trouble to review charcoal... but very useful info!
  8. chisoxjim

    chisoxjim Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I prefer Royal Oak, but in the winter I take what I can get.

    I have found crap in both Cowboy & Royal Oak bags.
  9. hog warden

    hog warden Smoking Fanatic

    Almost all charcoal in the US is made from oak and hickory (mainly oak), which starts out as slabs cut off logs at the sawmills. Slabs being the outside edge you cut off to take a round log to square for dimension lumber. These long slabs are then bundled and stacked into large sheds (kilns) where they are heated and turned into charcoal.

    Taken directly from the kiln and broken down into small pieces and bagged, you have lump, which is 100% charcoal. Rocks and other stuff are part of the process of loading and handling this stuff with highloaders. A lot of it done on gravel lots vs. concrete floors.

    Briquettes are made from the same lump charcoal, but ground to a fine dust, then mixed with sand, sawdust and other binders in a wet slurry, then pressed into shape. They are not 100% charcoal, but have those fillers and binders. Convenient and consistent, but not the quality of lump. Less heat and more ash and residue when you are done.

    Each kiln and charcoal maker may make and bag for dozens of labels, so brand isn't all that important. For dutch ovens, briqs are the way to go due to their consistent size and burn rate.

    Over the long haul, I've always found Royal Oak to have less fillers than say Kingsford and most store brands made to the Kingsford mix. So the RO burned hotter and longer.

    COWBOY, so I hear, is made from drops from a hardwood flooring manufacturer. In theory, this would be ideal and it would be mostly heartwood vs. sapwood and bark from traditional makers. Of the two bags I've tried, it had some other stuff in it, including what looked to me like partially kilned pine. It would be last on my list of charcoal to buy.
  10. solaryellow

    solaryellow Limited Mod Group Lead

    I have been very pleased with Nature Glo lump. It is Royal Oak's food service brand.
  11. silverwolf636

    silverwolf636 Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I was going to send ya the same link. A lot of good info here about lump. I've been using the Mali's for a year or so and really like it. I've also used one that Lowe's carried but I was getting a lot of foreign materials in it; sorta like gobs of melted rubber or something. I didn't smell rubber burning though but I did quit using it. I don't see it on there site. I believe it was from Texas.

    I went back and reread your thread.
    I believe you hit though, I think it was Cowboy I used to use and it is on their site.

  12. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I've used a bunch of different charcoal. I've had good results with most including Cowboy. The GFS brand is Royal Oak rebadged for them. One of my favorites so far has been Stubbs briquettes, bought it at Lowes. It had real good heat, burnt clean and long. In my WSM I do prefer to burn bricks for a nice stable temp.
  13. smokin' dick

    smokin' dick Smoking Fanatic

    For lump I use Wicked Good Lump Charcoal. Get it by the pallet from the distributor. Good stuff. Also a very fine lump is made by Humphrey in Pennsylvania.
  14. desertlites

    desertlites Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    here in southern AZ we have a few brands that come from Mexico,El Diablo-which is a pretty good coal made from mesquite,also another is El Herradero which also is from squite,some of these bags will have 10 pieces of coal in a 20# bag,yes some are quite large.Since getting into making my own charcoal I don't buy it to often.
  15. porkaholic

    porkaholic Smoke Blower

    Based on information on the Naked Wiz site I researched my area and found some Wicked Good Lump, Weedend Warrior Blend. This stuff is the best I have used to date. Good by bricketts!
  16. john3198

    john3198 Smoking Fanatic

    That web site has a lot of good information. I use Hasty Bake lump whenever I can get it. We also have a brand called B&B down here. OK, but I don't like the smell when it starts up - reminds me lf an old coal furnace.
  17. smokemifugotem

    smokemifugotem Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    I have found plywood, hardwood flooring, rocks and some stuff you could probably never identify in cowboy brand. I use Lazzari Natural lump. Its 100% mesquite wood. When you open the bag, (i get 40# bags for $14 at the local restaurant supply store) you see whole logs and small twigs and the sort. The link that has been provided is a great one to see all these types of charcoal. I would try some of the higher rated ones if they were available in my area. I use the best i can find here. But i definitely STAY AWAY from cowboy. There is all sorts of glues and resins in plywood and hardwood flooring.
    Here is a photo of what you can expect in a bag of Lazzari:
  18. smoking gun

    smoking gun Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I use the GFS lump. It is excellent and made by Royal oak. 20# bags for slighty more than a 10# bag of RO. Very little ash and nice long burn time. On rare occasions I'll use some Frontier brand. It is made from Brazilian hardwoods and although it can be hard to get started it burns longer and hotter than any coal I've tried. The Brazilian wood also gives a unique flavor. Really good for briskets or chuckies.
  19. marty catka

    marty catka Meat Mopper

    Thanks for all of the input guys. I was on a shopping trip with a friend who is a restaraunteur and he got me into a place called Restaraunt Depot. Got 2 butts @ .94/lb (fully trimmed) and a 17 lb. bag of Royal Oak for $7.95.

    The Naked wiz is a great site for comparing charcoal. Definitely going in my favorites file.

    [​IMG]to all!
  20. b8h8r

    b8h8r Smoke Blower

    For the longest time, all I could get was Cowboy (Lowes and HD). Then the Kingsford brand became available here, and I liked it. RO is finally being carried at the Walmart here, and I pretty much switched to it exclusively.

    IMO Cowboy is garbage, and I have better results with regular old Kingsford than with Cowboy.

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