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What is your favorite lump coal?


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Cowboy is garbage and I'll put a cook off if all I can get my hands on is Cowboy Lump, it's ruined a few cooks with its oversmokiness and dirty burn. I've tried Big Green Egg lump, Royal Oak, Kamado Joe Restaurant Grade, and a few store brands.

Overall, I was most satisfied by the value and performance of Royal Oak red bag and also enjoyed the KJ lump. Kamado Joe packs some massive pieces in their bags that are extremely dense; I found it took longer to light than anything else but produced a clean and thorough burn. BGE is just high priced, rebranded, Royal Oak; not worth the cost IMO. I was getting a brand at the grocery store called Full Circle, it was pretty good but has since disappeared.

What I'd do is get a few water tight bins, stock up on cheap Royal Oak, and sort the pieces in said bins. Have a bin of large pieces, have a mix, and toss the dust or pulverized bits as they won't stay in the firebox anyhow. This way you'll have a good blend as far as size is concerned and you can get the little tid bits you may find that are not intended to burn such as rocks/concrete or metallic scraps that can occasionally be found in a bag of lump.

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I've been using B&B, which I believe is limited to Texas or nearby states. I love it. Very similar to kj lump. it has medium to large dense pieces. I decided to try royal oak due to the overwhelming popularity. I was not impressed. When pouring in the very light weight lump, it sounded almost like a wind chime. Also, I got a small chunk of concrete in my bag. Like a bad cracker jack prize.

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I've been using B&B, which I believe is limited to Texas or nearby states. I love it. Very similar to kj lump. it has medium to large dense pieces. I decided to try royal oak due to the overwhelming popularity. I was not impressed. When pouring in the very light weight lump, it sounded almost like a wind chime. Also, I got a small chunk of concrete in my bag. Like a bad cracker jack prize.

B&B is very good, and is carried at Academy Sports locations throughout the southeast, from the Carolinas thru Texas, and perhaps elsewhere.

Kamado Joe lump is probably the best I've tried, huge lumps, and no waste from dust, small pieces, etc.

I used to use Royal Oak but found their quality to be too variable, with too much waste from dust and slivers, as well as some non-charcoal content such as rocks and small chunks of concrete. I still have 1 bag of it left, but after that it will be either KJ or B&B for me.

Your best bet is to load up on KJ next time there's a KJ road show at your local Costco. Happy cooking!

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John Setzler's Smoke video is a great one for hitting the basics in one quick go. It gives you plenty of information to get you started, and to set you off on your own path of experimentation.

I've been using various smokers and smoke woods for 12+ years and I still found the video to be informative and useful.

http://www.kamadoguru.com/topic/27675-john-setzler-on-smoke/

This video rocks! Thank you!

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I have used 6 different brands and they all worked, some better than others. I burn more RO than anything. I like the fact that it has a mild flavor profile, I control the smoke flavor using different wood chunks, my go to wood chunks are hickory and peach, but also have apple, cherry, pecan and mesquite.

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Take a chunk of royal oak and a chunk of KJ. One is light and seemingly more brittle. The other is more dense, heavier. One burns completely into ash, the other always has chunks left over. I'm purchasing 6 bags of KJ at the local roadshow at some point this week.

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Thank you for the input!  One thing we have not tried is adding wood chunks as suggested by chuck0531.  That seems to be what we are missing, a natural wood flavored wood like apple, cherry, pecan etc...  It is a learning curve :-) 

 

Your comment about 'wood chunks' reminded me of the recipes by the 'Weber Virtual Bullet':  "Add wood chucks to the fire for smoky flavor."

 

Seems a bit cruel! :)

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It doesn't really matter. I've tried dozens of brands and they vary from year to year (and sometimes bag to bag). As companies grow, they have to change their suppliers. This years "best brand" is next years "Terrible" or vice versa. Some source their wood from different countries with different resulting products so you have to become an expert on reading bags. 

 

I used to love Royal Oak in the 7 pound bags so when the 20 pound bags went on sale I loaded up and ended up with such bad coal that I sold them on Craigslist. Some bags were fine and but most came with gigantic rocks, plastic or even a large metal strap. On top of that, companies go out of business or burn down or are just repackaged versions of other brands. 

 

This is why I really like Kingsford. It's not perfect but it's consistent. Unfortunately that's not an option with a lot of kamados. 

 

Personally my favorite for low and slow is Coco Char but it's stupid expensive (I only have it because I got in on a group buy which brought the price down.) It's totally flavorless and smell-less so you food only tastes like the accent wood. But it also fall apart after high heat cooks (can't reuse) so it's not a good all around recommendation.

 

I guess what I'm saying is go to the nearest store and buy whats available and see what YOU think...that's all that matters.   

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It doesn't really matter. I've tried dozens of brands and they vary from year to year (and sometimes bag to bag). As companies grow, they have to change their suppliers. This years "best brand" is next years "Terrible" or vice versa. Some source their wood from different countries with different resulting products so you have to become an expert on reading bags.

I used to love Royal Oak in the 7 pound bags so when the 20 pound bags went on sale I loaded up and ended up with such bad coal that I sold them on Craigslist. Some bags were fine and but most came with gigantic rocks, plastic or even a large metal strap. On top of that, companies go out of business or burn down or are just repackaged versions of other brands.

This is why I really like Kingsford. It's not perfect but it's consistent. Unfortunately that's not an option with a lot of kamados.

Personally my favorite for low and slow is Coco Char but it's stupid expensive (I only have it because I got in on a group buy which brought the price down.) It's totally flavorless and smell-less so you food only tastes like the accent wood. But it also fall apart after high heat cooks (can't reuse) so it's not a good all around recommendation.

I guess what I'm saying is go to the nearest store and buy whats available and see what YOU think...that's all that matters.

Great post. Especially the first and last paragraph. They sort of go hand in hand. Also why the Naked Wiz reviews are basically useless at this point - they are to old of a review.

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It doesn't really matter. I've tried dozens of brands and they vary from year to year (and sometimes bag to bag). As companies grow, they have to change their suppliers. This years "best brand" is next years "Terrible" or vice versa. Some source their wood from different countries with different resulting products so you have to become an expert on reading bags.

I used to love Royal Oak in the 7 pound bags so when the 20 pound bags went on sale I loaded up and ended up with such bad coal that I sold them on Craigslist. Some bags were fine and but most came with gigantic rocks, plastic or even a large metal strap. On top of that, companies go out of business or burn down or are just repackaged versions of other brands.

This is why I really like Kingsford. It's not perfect but it's consistent. Unfortunately that's not an option with a lot of kamados.

Personally my favorite for low and slow is Coco Char but it's stupid expensive (I only have it because I got in on a group buy which brought the price down.) It's totally flavorless and smell-less so you food only tastes like the accent wood. But it also fall apart after high heat cooks (can't reuse) so it's not a good all around recommendation.

I guess what I'm saying is go to the nearest store and buy whats available and see what YOU think...that's all that matters.

Great post. Especially the first and last paragraph. They sort of go hand in hand. Also why the Naked Wiz reviews are basically useless at this point - they are to old of a review.

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Just got this in the mail today. Surprisingly, it did not arrive as a bag of dust. Lots of big chunks. Trying it tonight on steak. Tomorrow we will try it out on pork butt.

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Let us know what you think. 

Last night we tried the Rockwood with steak. Night and day difference for us. Left a light hint of quality smoke. Loved it. Trying it with pork butt tomorrow. Our first slow smoke with those coals. I will keep you all posted :-) 

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