When it comes to Lump Charcoal, this site is my favorite:
Unbelievable amount of info. My new favorite is Rockwood Lump Charcoal made from Missouri hardwoods. They will ship.
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I've tried different brands of both briquets lump in my 22.5" WSM and have also settled in with the Kingsford Blue Bag. My local Home Depot has the Kingsford Blue on sale right now at $12.88 for 2 packs of 20 pound bags. I just picked up 600 pounds for $200. I can live with that!
IF I had a better way of cleaning the ashes out while smoking with my cheapo brinkman, I would use kingsford Blue because as you mentioned home depot everywhere has 40lbs for $12. The royal oak definately burns much much hotter but I agree with others, lots of non standard sized pieces that fall through the grate. if you've made yourself a grate out of that perforated steel (totally blanking on the name of it, the stuff everyone likes to make minion baskets out of) then you won't have a problem with it falling through.
I to use the blue bag more times than not, usually find it on sale 2 - 20# bags for $9.99 at Lowe's or Sam's and I stock up. I also like lump and will buy a couple of bags every once in a while but no one around ever runs it on sale. My biggest complaint with the blue is the amount of ash.
Hi All I have 240 pounds of the Kingsford Blue purchased at Home Depot, at one time they were $9.00 for 2/20 lbs bags . I also have 3 bags 51 lbs Royal Oak purchased at Restaurant Depot for $10.97.
Next time I will mix them 1/2 each.
You just gotta wait for the sales. I stock up on KB when Lowes or Home Depot has sales...usually during the big holidays between May thru Sept. $10-$13 for 40 lbs.
If you get yourself a KCBS membership, that will grant you access to Restaurant Depot which have stores in Van Nuys and other areas in SoCal.
Thanks Overground. Yes, I actually did just pick up 600 pounds. The sale price here at Home Depot was $12.88 for 40 pounds. But in some parts of the country the Blue Bags get down as low as $9 for the same thing.
The local hardware stores (Lowes, ACE, etc.) carry Cowboy Lump Charcoal in 20 lb. bags. That's what I've begun using because it's all natural. I agree with a previous poster that results can be uneven so I use lump charcoal for steaks and ribs on my Weber 22.5" One-Touch Silver Kettle Grill. Lump charcoal imparts a smell and flavor that differs from charcoal briquettes. The best way to describe it is that it smells and tastes like BBQ when I was a kid. I use it for special cuts of meat where I think that lump charcoal flavor will really enhance it beside providing a really good sear. Since it burns unevenly, there are always chunks that I can reuse for my next grilling.
I use charcoal briquettes for burgers and vegies when I want solid, even heat coverage. I use to use Kingsford Blue but began reading how it's full of fillers and additives. I've switched to using either Kingsford Competition Charcoal (only when it's on sale at Costco) or Stubb's All-Natural Charcoal Briquets, which I buy at Lowes. Both are excellent and I think both are better quality than regular Kingsford or Royal Oak. Trader Joe's also sells an all-natural charcoal briquette under its name which is also very good--and cheap.
I use Cowboy Lump on occasion, I like it seems to do a good job. I also have used Stub's charcoal with good results not a strong smell and low ash. Lowe's sometimes runs it on sale but not to often.
You're right. Both have very low ash. Much easier to clean out the Weber with these than after using Kingsford Blue or Competition. Kingsford leaves the most ash I've seen.
I bought Cowboy Lump at a local Ace Hardware store on sale. I didn't care that Stubbs wasn't on sale at Lowes, I still bought three bags. I was under the mistaken belief--based on someone's post on the Lowes website, that Lowes was phasing Stubbs charcoal out of its stores. Maybe in CA where the guy lived but not around here. Lowes displayed Stubbs in two separate spots in the store. And like I said, if Stubbs wasn't available I would either stick with Kingsford Competition or Trader Joe's. I used Royal Oak once or twice but preferred Kingsford Blue to it, when I was still using KB.
Read Necked Whiz's review he gives it an average, not sure when the last time they reviewed it. The said it was a little hard to start? What is your opinion
The Frontier USA has a better review.
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They got to $9 a lb. here during this year's Memorial Day sales at both Lowes & HD.
I never had a problem getting it lit, (i keep my bag on my porch next to the grill, not in a shed) a couple pieces of newspaper, nothing outrageous. I didn't dump my bag out to look at the entire bag as a whole but i have been pleased with it thus far. I had a few un-carbonized chunks here and there, no rocks so far, and a decent amount of large chunks, more than pictured in the review.
I can't say it's the best by any means, but It's much better than the lump i used before as well as better than kingsford blue. But thats just my opinion.
edit: I checked last night and i don't have the US version of Frontier.