A question for grillers using lump charcoal...

What’s your preferred brand of lump charcoal? Why?

Supermarket own label. Easy to buy and works.

That said, the weather here generally means I rarely cook outside and it must be three years since I last did. So maybe the supermarket charcoal is crap now.

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Royal Oak brand. Burns great and has a good portion of large chunks. The best I have used but very hard to find east of St. Louis. You won’t be disappointed in this brand. I smoke a lot of meat and this all I try to use.

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I second the Royal oak. It is hard to find where I live. Some independent hardware stores sell it but I usually have to get it at Homedepot or Walmart. It is the only reason I step foot in either of those stores. You can do a search on their website for retailers near you. I think Lowes might have carried it for a while but I have not seen it lately there. Most other brands seem to be made from mesquite even if it does not say so on the bag. It is good for some things but not for everything plus is sparks quite a bit which makes me concerned on dry summer days. The Royal oak is made from hickory, oak, maple and walnut. I remember reading somewhere that the type of wood differs from bag to bag and that you can tell the type by checking where it is from on the bag. I don’ t remember the specifics but it has always seemed consistent to me.

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3rd Royal Oak for best all around lump. As others have said, nice mix of size within the bag and no strong Mesquite. EAST COAST: $10 - $12 for a 17 lb bag @ Restaurant Depot, Home Depot & Walmart.

For super hot but shorter cooks (searing) Cowboy Lump is good stuff. Again E/C @ Lowes & BJ’s Wholesale club @ about the same $ as royal Oak.

Naked Wiz has done some tests with lump that is good reading.


Thank you. I have read Naked Wiz exhaustively. I’m using Primo right now, based on a recent purchase at my local griller seller / back yard architect. I think Primo is “nice” but very, very pricey. Now just have to find a retailer that carries Royal Oak–that is not Kmart, or Walmart.

I use lump exclusively in my Big Green Egg ceramic cooker. When I first got it some 10 yrs ago I bought 2 bags of “Green Egg Lump Charcoal” from the Green Egg dealer (45 minutes away). When that ran out I switched to Royal Oak and honestly couldn’t tell the difference other than saving a lot of money (probably 40% - 50%). I later read somewhere that Green Egg lump was made by Royal oak.

I think the quality of food ingredients & cooking technique are more important than fuel brand as long as the lump is neutral flavor and there is a good variety in terms of chunk size within the bag. (Too many small pieces/chips pack tightly restricting air flow and make it difficult to get a good roaring fire for searing & will often get snuffed out during a low slow cook)

I also prefer to patronize small businesses as long as they have the product. In the case of Royal Oak, I am limited to the big box stores and buy a 1/2 doz bags at a time and store it in the shed.

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I never gave it much thought, but it seems Kingsford brand is what we usually use. The 'why" part is just that its so universally available, price is OK, and I never had any complaints about the quality. I usually use a metal cylindrical tower to start the coals until they are grey, and then add them to the grill. Our grill is big enough that I keep saying we need to get another metal tower and have 2 going at once, but I can never find one as well made as the one I’ve had for years. (Current market: the handles are attached in a very flimsy manner.)
It was so nice to start the BBQ season on Memorial Day with a BBQ chicken recipe we had not tried before- results were encouraging enough that we are looking forward to lots of grilling in the next few months!

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Are the Kingsford briquets or lump. Mid Atlantic region Kingsford seems to be mainly briquets.

Thanks for this information. We are looking into the Big Green Egg right now, and our local dealer has the official charcoal. I was wondering if it was any better.

Royal Oak from Restaurant Depot is usually what we use. If we are out, we’ll grab it from somewhere else like Wal-Mart or Home Depot. But we’ve used lump charcoal from other brands like Whole Foods without too much trouble.

I’m curious, too. Never seen Kingsford lumps around here. Went to buy charcoal today, lump was out, had to buy Kingsford after so many years. Won’t make that mistake again, we’ll just wait till lump comes back in stock.

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OK, I did say I never gave it much thought… and humbly, I learned something from y’all today! I always thought the term, “lump charcoal” DID refer to briquettes. So sorry to mislead or join the conversation with misinformation. The upside to this is my own education. Thanks, all. BTW, I found a good intro lesson on YouTube re: lump vs charcoal that others might enjoy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uh8-cpRyDJ0

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A lot of people don’t believe there’s any perceptible difference in flavor, and some even prefer briquettes for their even cooking. Obviously I’m not one of those, but you know, open minds and everything.

BTW, present day chimneys, it’s not just the handle, if you saw what ours looks like, it’s sort of burned through itself. Our older one at my parents looks almost perfect. And we abused that one with all kinds of experiments, like wok cooking and throwing in whole, foil-covered quails.

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Super awesome

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Thanks for including the youtube video.

If you try it, use 2 or 3 layers of foil, otherwise it will burn easily. Also, depending on exactly how you do it, you might have to keep turning the quail(s). Being the crazies we are, we would light two chimneys a third full of coal, throw a couple quails in one of them, and cover with coals from the other chimney. Quail is perfect because a little pink is okay (at least I think it is). Unlike chicken which we once tried like this in a pit, the outside burnt by the time the inside was cooked through.

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