Your experience with Royal Oak Briquettes - 2 kinds for sale at Walmart

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Original poster
May 22, 2020
Hey guys! Brand new here, and brand new owner of a Pit Barrel Cooker which I've taken for a maiden voyage cooking a pork shoulder, some ribs, a pastrami, some beer brats, and some corn on the cob. Everything but the pastrami turned out world-class (user error on that, I think). Pretty good for an overly ambitious first attempt by a guy who has no idea what he's doing.

I'm on the hunt for the best value fuel for this bbq machine. I was in Walmart and picked up some bags of Royal Oak briquettes. In two versions. The patriotic red white and blue version comes in a two pack of 18 lb bags for $8.88... a total steal if it's any good. The other bag was $7.95 for a 16 lb bag of "All Natural". What's really confusing is that if you read carefully, both bags state that they are 100% all natural. So I'm wondering how these differ, and if you guys have any experience with both of these. I'm tempted to load up on the $8.88 double pack. But not if it sucks! My first cook used the brown bag Royal Oak All Natural Briquettes. Haven't tapped the Premium double bag yet, which also says 100% all natural.

I actually emailed Royal Oak to find out the difference, as well as what differentiates a few other products they make, because I was so confused. Here is the response they sent me:

"Thank you for contacting us. It is always exciting to be included in your grilling experience. Royal Oak specializes in manufacturing charcoal. There is not a difference between the All Natural Hardwood Briquets seen our website and the All Natural Hardwood Briquets seen in Walmart stores. Walmart is running a "Patriotic" promotional campaign with the product this summer. This is the reason for the red, white and blue bags. The Royal Oak Premium Ridge has been discontinued which is why it's no longer featured on our website. However, Royal Oak Chef's Select is currently on our website under Restaurant products as this is mainly sold to restaurant owners."

So what is your experience with these products? Any PBC owners care to comment on their performance vs other charcoal you like or prefer? Anyone used both and know if they perform the same?

I really appreciate your experience and insight! If you think these suck, what do you prefer, especially for PBC cooking?
Royal Oak.jpg
I have used both and they are same to me. the RO red white and blue bags has been running my WSM (Weber Smokey Mountain) for a couple months now. i have been buying it because its such a good deal and has a better flavor than the kingsford. it burns well and consistent temps too. Stock up! just my $0.02

Happy Smoking,
I switched to the red white, and blue last year after being a die hard Kingsford user. I think RO burns slightly hotter, and it is so much cheaper. Just my two cents.

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Thanks for the heads up on this deal. Stocked up!
You're welcome! If you use it soon, report back with your experience! I'll be doing some chicken quarters and some ribs for Memorial Day, I think, so I may give it a try then.
I've used it before and have liked it. I'm still a smoking newb but I haven't noticed any difference between it and kbb.... Other than more money in the wallet. I have tried some cheap cowboy charcoal and that stuff was not good in my opinion.
So I cooked today with the cheapie Walmart white bag two-pack. Did a 10 lb bag of chicken quarters in my PBC, together with some beer brats, corn, and asparagus. Turned out great.

These worked just fine for this purpose. I ran at about 325-350 for most of the cook (maybe 1-1.5 hours for the chicken? didn't time it exactly), and left the ambient probe in the cooker when I was done and watched the monitor to see how long it would burn. In all, I got about 5 hours out of the charcoal running at 325+. I imagine at 225-250, this would have lasted another couple hours.

Pretty respectable for $4.44 a bag, if you ask me. Worked just fine for these purposes. Plan to cook some ribs with it tomorrow. Seems like a great buy for short to medium cooks. Not sure I'd use it for pork shoulder or brisket... doubt it would go the distance.

I don't have a lot of experience to base comparisons on, but these seemed to work great for me. I'll have to build more experience with long all-day smokes, ash amounts of various brands, and the temps other briqs burn at to really form a final judgment. But I'm definitely happy with the performance I got for $4.44 a bag today, and I'm glad I didn't pay more for a charcoal just to smoke chicken and sausages. I fully expect it will work great for ribs too.
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