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Which charcoal brand do you use?

fxsales1959

Meat Mopper
205
187
Joined Dec 17, 2019
I have recently bought a Nomad grill/smoker and I typically play around with pellet grills and now I’m slowly getting into the charcoal game…just wondering what everyone’s favorite charcoal brand is…I’d like to experiment a little.
I recently stocked up on some Wal-mart expert grill lump, as my last big bag of royal oak lump had mostly marble size lumps. I like the smaller bag for management purposes. $5 for 8lb bag at wally world.
 

GonnaSmoke

Master of the Pit
1,225
1,867
Joined Sep 19, 2018
I recently stocked up on some Wal-mart expert grill lump, as my last big bag of royal oak lump had mostly marble size lumps. I like the smaller bag for management purposes. $5 for 8lb bag at wally world.
I have been using Expert Grill lump for a few months now and have been fairly pleased with it, especially the price. At less than 50¢/lb, it's hard to beat. The smaller bags would be easier to handle, but the 30 lb. bags are $12. Kind of hard to pass that up. Expert Grill is made by Royal Oak for Walmart...
 

Mr. Zorg

Fire Starter
69
19
Joined Aug 26, 2021
Here's what I'm using these days. I typically use lump in my offset smokers as ash management is more of an issue in those, and briquettes in my bullet style vertical smokers. If I need to add charcoal during a cook session in my vertical bullet style smokers, in general I find it easier to add briquettes through the side door than lump.

Locally Available

Members Mark briquettes from Sam's Club
; 100% hardwood blend including Oak & Hickory (same as Royal Oak Chef's Select I think); Made in USA

Frontier lump from Sam's Club; 100% hardwood blend made from Oak, Mesquite, and Mexican / Texas Ebony; Made in Mexico

Frontier South American briquettes from Target; 100% hardwood White Quebracho; Made in Paraguay (purchased but not yet cooked with)

Online Purchase

Master Grill briquettes, South American hardwood blend including White Quebracho; Made in Paraguay

Jealous Devil Max briquettes; 100% hardwood White Quebracho; Made in Paraguay (purchased but not yet cooked with)

Jealous Devil Chunx lump; 100% hardwood White Quebracho; Made in Paraguay (purchased but not yet cooked with)
 

Mr. Zorg

Fire Starter
69
19
Joined Aug 26, 2021
For those who use Expert Grill lump, the stuff in the 30 lb. bags comes from Duraflame and is Made in Mexico. The website printed on the back of the bag is for Barbeque Wood Flavors. Duraflame now also owns B&B Charcoal and Western in addition to having owned Cowboy Charcoal for quite some time (always?). Here's a list of companies currently owned by Duraflame.


Here's a link to the recent review of Expert Grill lump by The Naked Whiz.

 

black05tj

Newbie
20
12
Joined Dec 9, 2012
For the kettle grill, I don't mind using Royal Oak and often will mix with pre-burned B&B briquettes from the WSM that have life left in them.

I like B&B briquettes in the WSM because they're larger and burn for a good while. They've always been pretty consistent for me.

However, this summer I've had difficulty acquiring B&B briquettes locally. Then I wasn't having luck finding Royal Oak either, so I gave in and got a bag of Kingsford. Never again! This stuff smokes something horrible when trying to light with Weber chimney (I don't like to use fluid) - it's foul smelling and makes the whole backyard look like it's on fire! Royal Oak and B&B smoke maybe 1/4 as much when lighting as the Kingsford did. Then, when it did settle down and was ready to cook (thank goodness the smoke stopped once it got lit), ashes everywhere! I had ashes all over the food I was grilling! Ugh! Maybe just a bad bag, but definitely not what I wanted.

During this time of briquette scarcity, I found and tried B&B char logs. These seem more similar to briquettes, but are about 6" long and maybe 2" diameter with a hole running lengthwise through the middle. I used these in the WSM and was pleasantly surprised.

Fortunately I recently found B&B briquettes back in stock and bought a bunch. It ought to be enough to get me through the new year. I'll probably keep buying the char logs to use in the WSM, so that will help stretch the briquette inventory a bit longer.
 

Mr. Zorg

Fire Starter
69
19
Joined Aug 26, 2021
For the kettle grill, I don't mind using Royal Oak and often will mix with pre-burned B&B briquettes from the WSM that have life left in them.

I like B&B briquettes in the WSM because they're larger and burn for a good while. They've always been pretty consistent for me.

However, this summer I've had difficulty acquiring B&B briquettes locally. Then I wasn't having luck finding Royal Oak either, so I gave in and got a bag of Kingsford. Never again! This stuff smokes something horrible when trying to light with Weber chimney (I don't like to use fluid) - it's foul smelling and makes the whole backyard look like it's on fire! Royal Oak and B&B smoke maybe 1/4 as much when lighting as the Kingsford did. Then, when it did settle down and was ready to cook (thank goodness the smoke stopped once it got lit), ashes everywhere! I had ashes all over the food I was grilling! Ugh! Maybe just a bad bag, but definitely not what I wanted.

During this time of briquette scarcity, I found and tried B&B char logs. These seem more similar to briquettes, but are about 6" long and maybe 2" diameter with a hole running lengthwise through the middle. I used these in the WSM and was pleasantly surprised.

Fortunately I recently found B&B briquettes back in stock and bought a bunch. It ought to be enough to get me through the new year. I'll probably keep buying the char logs to use in the WSM, so that will help stretch the briquette inventory a bit longer.
Since you're in Texas, you might try the HEB Grand Champion charcoal briquettes. I've used both those and B&B Oak charcoal briquettes, and *I think* they have the same composition and are manufactured at the same place (in Mexico) with the only difference being presses that emboss a capital letter B vs a Lone Star.


I suspect the HEB / Central Market lump charcoals are bagged by B&B as well.
 

fxsales1959

Meat Mopper
205
187
Joined Dec 17, 2019
For the kettle grill, I don't mind using Royal Oak and often will mix with pre-burned B&B briquettes from the WSM that have life left in them.

I like B&B briquettes in the WSM because they're larger and burn for a good while. They've always been pretty consistent for me.

However, this summer I've had difficulty acquiring B&B briquettes locally. Then I wasn't having luck finding Royal Oak either, so I gave in and got a bag of Kingsford. Never again! This stuff smokes something horrible when trying to light with Weber chimney (I don't like to use fluid) - it's foul smelling and makes the whole backyard look like it's on fire! Royal Oak and B&B smoke maybe 1/4 as much when lighting as the Kingsford did. Then, when it did settle down and was ready to cook (thank goodness the smoke stopped once it got lit), ashes everywhere! I had ashes all over the food I was grilling! Ugh! Maybe just a bad bag, but definitely not what I wanted.

During this time of briquette scarcity, I found and tried B&B char logs. These seem more similar to briquettes, but are about 6" long and maybe 2" diameter with a hole running lengthwise through the middle. I used these in the WSM and was pleasantly surprised.

Fortunately I recently found B&B briquettes back in stock and bought a bunch. It ought to be enough to get me through the new year. I'll probably keep buying the char logs to use in the WSM, so that will help stretch the briquette inventory a bit longer.
on an Expert Grill roll here. last big bag of RO I got was full of marble sized chunks. EG $5 for 8 lbs at wally world. don't use mass quantities unless i fire up the offset stick burner. Kamado sips fuel.
 

black05tj

Newbie
20
12
Joined Dec 9, 2012
Since you're in Texas, you might try the HEB Grand Champion charcoal briquettes. I've used both those and B&B Oak charcoal briquettes, and *I think* they have the same composition and are manufactured at the same place (in Mexico) with the only difference being presses that emboss a capital letter B vs a Lone Star.


I suspect the HEB / Central Market lump charcoals are bagged by B&B as well.
I've seen that brand in the stores, wasn't sure about it - never heard from anyone that had used it. I'll be sure to give it a try, if it's just as good or even close it'll be a good alternative. Thanks!
 

Fueling Around

Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
2,350
1,266
Joined Dec 10, 2018
Not a Kingsford fan.
I formerly used Royal Oak (RO) briquettes and the re branded Embers and Expert Grill.
This year my experience with those briquettes was dismal. Poor heat, slow starting, and excess ash so I looked for a better fuel.
RO lump is low quality around here.
Friend gave me a bag of Frontier lump. Wow! Real lump.
I will never go back to briquette.
 

fxsales1959

Meat Mopper
205
187
Joined Dec 17, 2019
For those who use Expert Grill lump, the stuff in the 30 lb. bags comes from Duraflame and is Made in Mexico. The website printed on the back of the bag is for Barbeque Wood Flavors. Duraflame now also owns B&B Charcoal and Western in addition to having owned Cowboy Charcoal for quite some time (always?). Here's a list of companies currently owned by Duraflame.


Here's a link to the recent review of Expert Grill lump by The Naked Whiz.

That's a nice write-up by Whiz.
I was just going to post and ask if others noticed a shorter burn time with ExpertGrill.
it might have been personal enhancement, but my long burn last weekend seemed shorter than usual with about the same amount of lump.
 

crippledcracker

Smoke Blower
SMF Premier Member
131
163
Joined Aug 3, 2016
Lately I've been using Royal Oak and FOGO lump. I did get my hands on a bag of Jealous Devil which was great, but expensive. As far as briquettes, I normally use Kingsford.
 

912smoker

Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
1,322
854
Joined Nov 29, 2020
I didn't like the results I got using the Expert Grill in the Gravity flow. Too much ash and half burned briquettes. Going back to RO and BB Char logs. Great consistent results for my pit.
 

cornman

Smoking Fanatic
411
322
Joined Sep 30, 2016
I know I’m like the 1000th person to weigh in,and I know others have said the quality has gone down, but I still like Royal Oak and it derivatives. Still get a solid, hot and long burn compared to Kingsford.

When it’s really cheap, I like a bag of Kingsford to use a small batch in my chimney starter since it lights so quickly and then dump it on Royal Oak for a sustained cook. Just my 2 cents…
 

Ringer

Meat Mopper
SMF Premier Member
213
157
Joined Sep 10, 2019
My new go to for long cooks or hot cooks is B&B competition char logs. They take longer to light but last longer than anything else in my rf.
 

Mr. Zorg

Fire Starter
69
19
Joined Aug 26, 2021
That's a nice write-up by Whiz.
I was just going to post and ask if others noticed a shorter burn time with ExpertGrill.
it might have been personal enhancement, but my long burn last weekend seemed shorter than usual with about the same amount of lump.
It'd be good to have a comparison between the 30 lb. bag of Expert Grill lump at WM vs the 30 lb. bag of Royal Oak lump at WM - especially since it's clear the 30 lb. bag of Expert Grill Lump is supplied through Duraflame. Especially using the same metrics by The Naked Whiz.

The 30 lb. bag of RO lump is priced at $18.97 at WM, $4.09 more than the Expert Grill. But I don't expect to see a review specifically for the 30 lb. bag of RO lump by The Naked Whiz considering his revoew of Made in USA RO lump hasn't been updated since December 2007.

 

Mr. Zorg

Fire Starter
69
19
Joined Aug 26, 2021
It might not be widely known, but FWIW Royal Oak purchased the Frontier brand from Packaging Services Corporation back in 2015. After being difficult to find at best for several years, Royal Oak is using the Frontier brand for charcoal vareities Royal Oak is importing from outside the USA in general, and Latin America in particular. The Naked Whiz has never posted test results for any of the currently available Frontier charcoal products.

https://www.frontiercharcoal.com/
 
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