shopping All Things Charcoal

MikeUSMC

Extreme Member
Have a favorite charcoal? One youll never buy again? Lump? Briquettes? Something you wanna try?
Post it here :party:

Ill start

Im sure everyone has used Kingsford Original at some point in their grilling/smoking life. Reasonably priced, and easy to find. Nothing special, but its tried and true
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Royal Oak makes this junk, and Ill NEVER buy it again. It took me 5 or 6 wax lighter cubes to get a chimney starter of this garbage lit. I dont know if it was just a bad batch, or if the bag had gotten wet at some point in its life, but I can easily see why this shit was only $7.98/bag
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Ive been hooked on B&B briquettes since the first time I used them. This stuff is fantastic, and burns hot and clean! Id recommend it to anyone (for whatever thats worth to you ;) )
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Heres some B&B compared to Kingsford Original:
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B&B makes some AWESOME lump too! These are the 2 of theirs that Ive tried. Theyre both killer:
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Heres a few more that I picked up recently but havent had a chance to try yet:
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This stuff had better be good, because my local Ace Hardware just quit stocking B&B for Blues Hog
If its as good as their BBQ rubs, Ill be happy. I didnt see anywhere on the bag that said what kind of wood its made from though
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Theres a few more brands out there thats Id like to try myself, to see if they live up to the hype.

FOGO is one of them. Kinda pricey, but gets awesome reviews:
https://www.fogocharcoal.com/collections/fogo-hardwood-lump-charcoal

Jealous Devil is another one thats gotta be pretty good, if Harry Soo uses it
https://jealousdevil.com/





Ive been using these Weber cubes since I started BBQing until I ran across these tumbleweeds, which I like a lot more:
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How about you guys? Got a favorite?
:cheers:
 
Dragon breath and maple leaf are my two fave lump charcoals.

I don't really have a preference between them.

Both are pretty aromatic for lump.

Maple leaf has a maple smoke smell and dragon breath a light mesquite smoke smell.


My new favourite briquette is the Weber branded stuff. Very compact, slightly hard to light but burns longer and hotter than most any other I have used.

My previous favorite was maple leaf briquettes.


I am using the royal oak briquettes as we speak and I find them a royal pain in the ass, they don't burn well in a snake setup.

Constantly babysitting to keep burn going and consistent temp .

Those deep ridges and relatively loose compaction mean you need quite a bit more briquettes vs the Weber ones.
 

MikeUSMC

Extreme Member
Heres another good one. Easy way to undo the string thats used to tie the bags closed vs. ripping it to shreds, lol
:cheers:
 

MikeUSMC

Extreme Member
The Hot Pepper said:
Mike, so now you can just sit there for 20 minutes trying to undo that knot until you rip it open :rofl:
Thats EXACTLY what will happen too!!! :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Out of all the bags of charcoal that Ive ever opened, Ive probably gotten it right like twice! :rofl:

I just like knowing that it IS possible ;)
 

The Hot Pepper

Founder
Admin
RE: the first post, since when is blue bag all natural? Did Kingsford switch to corn starch binders?

I used to purposely buy the Kingsford Competition. 
 

MikeUSMC

Extreme Member
The Hot Pepper said:
RE: the first post, since when is blue bag all natural? Did Kingsford switch to corn starch binders?
I*m not sure exactly when they started but, yes, Kingsford Original uses cornstarch binders now BUT they also use Borax... :sick:

The closest I saw (online) to a date for the change said *as of 2016*, so... :shrug:
(It didn*t say *SINCE 2016*)
 

stettoman

Extreme Member
I'm using the B&B Oak Lump this summer. Pickins here is slim to where I have to ask stores to special order. My Ace guy has access to a lot of B&B, trying to get him to stock the shelves, but he has a huge restaurant client that demands the Cowboy Lump, it's too small a store to stock more than that, Royal Oak and Kingsford briqs...The local box store (Menards) stocks very little coal, very much pellet...
 

Downriver

Extreme Member
Hey Mike, see that SCA logo on the B&B Competition bag? That's belongs to the Steak Cookoff Association. That's another competition you'd enjoy. Cheap entry fee, spend a few hours one afternoon creating your masterpiece, and you're done. Not like KCBS where it takes all weekend. Purse usually $1,000 or better. Ribeye steaks baby. Some of the best I've eaten. ;) 
 

MikeUSMC

Extreme Member
DownRiver said:
Hey Mike, see that SCA logo on the B&B Competition bag? That's belongs to the Steak Cookoff Association. That's another competition you'd enjoy.
Im aware ;)

It really sucks that these two (Connecticut) BBQ Competition events got canceled this year. I was especially excited to compete in the first one! *Amateur Pit Master* competition and craft beer festival, and literally 15 minutes from my house! :mope:

First year I*d even heard of this one, I really had HIGH hopes for it
*Brass City Brew & Que*
https://tickets.beerfests.com/event/brasscitybrewfest
^ was supposed to happen last weekend

*Hartford Riboff*
https://www.hartfordriboff.com/
^ was supposed to happen this coming weekend, I think

Hopefully the planet will be back to normal by next year
:cheers:
 

MikeUSMC

Extreme Member
I can definitely vouch for the Kamado Joe “Big Block” brand of lump (I posted a pic up top, a while back). The chunks were huge (I should’ve taken a pic :doh: ) and the stuff burns :hot: 🔥🔥🔥 Kinda pricey compared to some of the other ones I’ve been using lately ($35/20lb bag) but, it’s good stuff 👍🏻

I still have that bag (👆🏻) of BGE brand lump in my garage; haven’t tried it yet. Blues Hog brand has treated me well too!

I’ve been going through B&B like a madman lately. I’m really happy that my local Ace Hardware regularly stocks it. For how it performs, I’m seriously shocked by how cheap they sell it for; $20/20lbs for Lump, and $14 (sometimes $9! :party: ) for briquettes. Definitely worth grabbing if you see it!

I always try to stay stocked up 😉
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I saw these B&B “Competition Char Logs” in person a few months back (I’d seen them online before) and a grabbed a bunch of bags ($20/each)
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These things ROCK and hold super stable temps in my offset trailer smoker. Typically, in my trailer, I can get WILD temperature fluctuations using lump. Sometimes up to 50*F, and I’m left scrambling to adjust the vents. Not with these “Char Logs”! They’ll literally hold the temps within 10*F of where I want them. I smoked a whole hog using these a few weeks ago, and it was about a 10 hour cook. I set my vents for 225*F and didn’t have to adjust the vents at all. Not ONCE in 10 hours (minus refilling the charcoal basket). I’ll try to remember to get an up close pic of a handful of these, next time I open a bag. They look like big black pieces of ziti or something, lol. Nice, uniform, hollowed out charcoal “tubes”, about 4-5” in length and about 2”(?, I can’t remember) in diameter. Cool design that achieves excellent airflow and superior temperature consistency compared to lump, IMHO 😁

Grab it if you see it :cheers:
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Downriver

Extreme Member
@MikeUSMC Great review Mike. I rarely see B&B locally, but I see it on road-trips/comps sometimes. I'll have to pick some up and give it a try. I see you have three types. Which do you prefer, or does it depend on what you're smoking?
 

MikeUSMC

Extreme Member
@MikeUSMC Great review Mike.
Thanks @DownRiver !

I see you have three types. Which do you prefer, or does it depend on what you're smoking?
I haven’t had the time to really “fine tune” it to what I’m smoking yet, as much as which cooker I’m using.

In the offset trailer, from now on, I’d only use the “Char-Logs”, if I could get away with it. But, who knows? Maybe this is just a phase because they’re new to me 😉 (I shake my head when I look back on a lot of the ways I used to do things when I first started BBQing, lol :shocked: ) Otherwise, any lump will do, simply because I find that lump runs hot. I’ve had good success using briquettes in the trailer when I first got it, but it’s a lot easier to (get and) keep the temps up in that behemoth with lump.

In my WSM and Whiskey Barrel, I only use briquettes. Partly because they work great for the “Snake” method of burning the charcoal. Also, because of what I was just saying about the heat, I find that lump tends to run much hotter and, once those upright (drum style) cookers get too hot, it can be tough to reign the temps back down (in my experience). Wintertime in New England might be a different story though, and I might end up having to use lump in one of those 😉

My Kamado Joe is still too new to me to say, definitively (4 or 5 cooks on it, maybe, and a couple were just grilling with the lid wide open). So far, I’ve only used lump in there so time will tell, I guess. I also haven’t stuck a temperature probe in there yet (I don’t think). I’ve just been going by the gauge that came on the dome. The problem with that though, is that it’s as slow as molasses to react to the lid being opened or closed. Makes it hard to know if the temps inside are dramatically spiking or dropping in there. Also, the gauge is kinda high up on the dome so, who knows what the cooking grate is actually reading, ya know? I’ll keep you posted, as I tinker with it more 😁

In a nutshell, Rick, all of my experimenting lately has been more for temperature purposes, so far. Heat and consistency, mainly. For flavor, I adjust with what type of wood chunks I’m adding. To date, B&B has been my front runner, then Kamado Big Block, then Blues Hog. Haven’t gotten around to trying the BGE stuff yet (or Cowboy, Stubb’s, or Royal Oak, actually. None of the more common brands, really. But, I will, in time! 😉)

I went back to my local Ace Hardware today to load up on some supplies for a big cook I have to do on Friday. They always keep a great assortment of charcoal in there (although I didn’t see any B&B briquettes today). Bags on the bottom right without markings on the bottom of the bags were BGE Canadian Maple; another one I’d like to try
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I also noticed they started selling B&B wood chunks and chips too :party: I grabbed a bag of Pecan chunks
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Don't trust him. They gave him a B&B hat. :lol:
:rofl: I wish! Don’t forget the hoodie, Pook 😉
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:cheers:
 
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