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Reef's Lump Comparison

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This idea started out as a comparison between regular RO and RO XL. I guess I went a little overboard :)


These are lumps that are readily available to me locally. The price listed is what I paid full retail without any discounts. It will probably take me into the summer to get all my comparisons completed. I'll update this thread as I go along. 


RO (Royal Oak regular) - Walmart 

$9.96 - 15.44 lbs


"Authentic all natural kiln made lump charcoal made from 100% American hardwood." 





RO XL Cut - Walmart 

$14.96 - 16 lbs


"Same authentic quality and flavor of lump charcoal you expect from Royal Oak, but with extra large pieces from our charcoal kilns." 





B & B Oak - Sports Academy 

$12.99 - 20 lbs 


"The creation of B&B charcoal products starts with live wood while the wood is still green. "





Cowboy - Lowe's

$12.98 - 15 lbs


"Oak and hickory hardwood lump charcoal." 






Rockwood - Ace Hardware 

$24.99 - 20 lbs 


"Our charcoal is made exclusively from hardwood left over from timber milling operations (and never from softwood, flooring, molding, or any scraps that may contain those materials or resin)." 






KJ Big Block - Lowe's

$24.99 - 20 lbs


"Kamado Joe Big Block is made from an exclusive blend of Argentinian hardwood so that dense it's alled 'axe breaker' by locals." 





Fogo Premium Black Bag - Fogo

$19.95 - 17.6 lbs


"Fogo All Natural Hardwood Charcoal is made from dense Central American Oak Hardwoods." 





Fogo Super Premium - Fogo

$25.95 - 17.6 lbs


"Only the largest pieces are hand selected and put into the bag to ensure you get the very best charcoal you can find." 





Fogo Marabu - Fogo

$45.95 - 33 lbs


"It also has higher calorific value than other major charcoal brands in the US which means that it will burn hotter and longer than most other briquette and lump charcoal." 





Fogo Quebracho - Fogo

$48.95 - 35 lbs


Quebracho Hardwood Charcoal is made from dense South American Hardwoods known as Axe Breaker and Ironwood." 






Fogo Brazilian Eucalyptus - Fogo 

$25.95 - 17.6 lbs 


"Premium Eucalyptus hardwood lump charcoal produces a considerably better flavor than regular charcoal." 





Jealous Devil - BBQ guys

$49.99 - 35 lbs


"Our all-natural wood is hand-picked, hand-cut, and carbonized in custom-built kilns which makes for one Hell of a charcoal." 





Komodo Kamado CoffeeChar - Komodo Kamado 

20 lbs 


A friend sent me this box. It's a little hard to come by because each container that gets to a US port sells out almost immediately. It has a minimum 10 box order and is shipped on a pallet by a LTL carrier so I don't really have an accurate price. 


"Our all natural lump coffee wood charcoal is a sustainable product from the cut and discarded trees of replanted coffee orchards." 







For the first comparison I'll list the price per lb (lowest to highest). Like most things in life you usually get what you pay for. Just remember price is only a small factor for the quality of lump. Further comparisons coming soon. 




Price per lb. 


$.65 - RO

$.65 - B & B Oak

$.87 - Cowboy

$.94 - RO XL 

$1.13 - Fogo Premium Black Bag 

$1.25 - Rockwood 

$1.25 - KJ Big Block 

$1.39 - Fogo Marabu 

$1.40 - Fogo Quebracho 

$1.43 - Jealous Devil 

$1.47 - Fogo Super Premium 

$1.47 - Fogo Brazilian Eucalyptus 

$?.?? - KK CoffeeChar








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Let's take some pictures for size comparison and a volume measurement. For the size picture that is NOT the entire bag. I dumped a little less than a 5 gallon buckets worth out. Also keep in mind that is the total amount of fines and dust from the bottom of each bag but some bags contained almost twice the amount of lump as other bags so naturally they will have more fines and dust. Also lump varies a good bit between bags of the same type. Sometimes you get a really good bag and sometimes you don't. 


For volume measurements I used this box. I measured the inside diameter, did some calculations and cut this box off so it was exactly 2 cubic feet. I then marked the box off in 1/2 a cubic foot measurements. When I poured the lump into the box I shook the box a good bit in an attempt to settle the lump down in the box to get the most accurate measurement. This whole process was very messy and I'm glad this phase is complete. 






RO (regular) 15.44 lbs in 1.10 cf (cubic feet) 






RO XL Cut - 16 lbs in 1.25 cf 





B&B Oak - 20 lbs in 1.15 cf





Cowboy - 15 lbs in 1.15 cf






Rockwood - 20 lbs in 1.5 cf





KJ Big Block - 20 lbs in 1.15 cf





Fogo Premium Black Bag - 17.6 lbs in 1.25 cf






Fogo Super Premium - 17.6 lbs in 1.25 cf






Fogo Marabu - 33 lbs in 1.5 cf





Fogo Quebracho - 35 lbs in 1.75 cf





Fogo Brazilian Eucalyptus - 17.6 lbs in 1.25 cf





Jealous Devil - 35 lbs in 1.9 cf





Komodo Kamado CoffeeChar - 20 lbs in 1.4 cf







For the final picture we have the fines and dust from all 10 bags. It was almost a 5 gallon bucket full and weighed about 11 lbs. No real point to this picture. 





For comparison purposes this is the the numbers of lbs per cubic feet listed most to the least. This should give us a basic idea how dense a lump is. 


lbs per cubic foot 


22.00 - Fogo Marabu 

20.00 - Fogo Quebracho 

18.42 - Jealous Devil 

17.39 - KJ Big Block 

17.39 - B&B Oak 

14.28 - Komodo Kamado CoffeeChar 

14.08 - Fogo Brazilian Eucalyptus 

14.08 - Fogo Super Premium 

14.08 - Fogo Premium Black Bag 

14.04 - RO regular 

13.33 - Rockwood 

13.04 - Cowboy 

12.80 - RO XL Cut





This next small section is my opinions and observations. Your milage may vary..... 


If you're looking for XL lump pieces KJ Big Block was the biggest followed closely by Fogo Quebracho then Fogo Super Premium. 


There wasn't a big size difference between RO regular and RO XL Cut but there was a lbs per cubic foot difference which leads me to believe they came from different processing facilities or at least different batches. 


B&B Oak has a really high lbs per cubic foot considering it was made from American hardwoods. Their website mentions that they put "green" wood into the kilns. From making homemade lump in my backyard I can attest to how difficult it is to get fully carbonized lump if you start with even slightly "green" wood. I'll keep an eye on this idea during the burn tests.


Fogo Marabu was the hardest followed closely by Fogo Quebracho. 


A favorite of many people, Rockwood was a bit disappointing in size. 




It will be a few weeks before I can start the burn tests. Will update the thread when they start. 






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This will be a 2 hour 500* timed test. Below is the procedure I will use for all lumps. I did this in a Primo Oval Jr with a Smokeware Chimney Cap. The Smokeware Chimney Cap has three identical slots that open and close at the same time. In this setup section I'll post some pictures for anyone not familiar with a Primo.  So not to just waste a bunch of lump I'll cook something for a few minutes at 500*


I'll record the various times. Post picture of the lump used and what's leftover. If there is any significant smoke during startup I'll post a picture. I'll let you know what I cooked. 



Here is the procedure. 

Fill the firebox all the way up until I can just barely fit the deflector grates in it. 




Light the coals in one spot using a MAPP torch. 




Close the dome and leave the vents wide open. 





After exactly 5 mins add deflector grates, a 1/4 sheet deflector pan, and the main grates. 





Close the dome and start a stopwatch timer. 


When it gets to 250* record the time.

Adjust the top vent to 3/4 Open. 




When it gets to 350* record the time. 

Adjust the bottom vent to 1/2 open. 




When it gets to 450* record the time. 

Adjust the top vent to 1/2 open and the bottom vent to 1/4 open. 





When it get to 500* record the time and stop the stopwatch. 

Now I set a 30 minute timer giving me those 30 minutes to tweak the vents and get a stable 500* temperature (490*-510* acceptable range.)

Start a new 2 hour timer. 

After those 2 hours shut it down. 

Once totally cool take some pictures. 




Let's get this started with RO (regular) 


Temperatures and time to get there. 

250* - 6:50

350* - 12:20

450* - 18:35

500* - 28:25

Pizza at 500*







RO XL Cut 

250* - 9:42

350* - 15:41

450* - 23:20

500* - 39:25

Hamburgers at 500*








B&B Oak

250* - 14:17

350* - 19:05

450* - 33:45

500* - 51:40

Very little smoke @ 250* (not enough to take a picture) 

Flat Iron Steak








250* - 15:50

350* - 23:50

450* - 35:04

500* - 52:22

Reheated leftover lasagna









250* - 6:53

350* - 12:04

450* - 23:24

500* - 53:11

Very little smoke 








KJ Big Block 

250* - 10:05

350* - 13:10

450* - 23:11

500* - 44:42

Very little smoke 

Stuffed scallops 







Fogo Premium Black Bag 

250* - 10:45

350* - 16:28

450* - 25:26

500* - 55:27

Very little smoke

Bronx Bombers 







Fogo Super Premium 

250* - 5:03

350* - 10:02

450* - 22:56

500* - 1:03:32

Very little smoke

Burgers (again LOL) 







Fogo Marabu 

250* - 12:01

350* - 20:31

450* - 30:40

500* - 55:39

Very little smoke

Shrimp and corn tapas







Fogo Quebracho 

250* - 5:08

350* - 8:21

450* - 12:46

500* - 59:32







Fogo Brazilian Eucalyptus 

250* - 6:15

350* - 12:01

450* - 27:50

500* - 1:10:02








Jealous Devil 

250* - 8:42

350* - 12:47

450* - 18:42

500* - 49:22







Komodo Kamado CoffeeChar 

250* - 7:02

350* - 11:58

450* - 19:49

500* - 53:05









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I figured the only way to get a reasonably fair low-n-slow test is to employ some technology. And a really good excuse for a new toy :)






I filled the firebox full of lump to just below the deflector grate like I did in the 500* test. The controller is set for 250*.  I light the lump in one spot on the far right side of the firebox. Installed the bottom full ceramic deflectors and the main grates. Grate probe is at the far left side on the main grate. Run the top vent, and the fan draft adjustment wide open. Once the temperature gets to around 150*-200* I close the top vent to 1/4 and the fan draft adjustment to half open. After that I'll let it ride until it burns through all the lump. We'll see how long it goes and how completely it burned through all the lump. 


While each test is going on I'll post a link so you can watch the test/graph in real time if you want. (if you need to press the "zoom out" button) once the test is over I'll post a picture of the graph and a picture of what's in the firebox. 



Redo of the RO (regular) test using a full Firebox of lump. Started at 4:26 pm. Hopefully it'll still be going when I wake up early tomorrow morning. 


RO (regular) 


Started at 4:26 pm

1 hour to stabilize, 5:26 pm

Ended at 225*, 12:10 pm the next day. 


Total burn time at 250*, 18:44.






What was left in the firebox. 








RO XL Cut 


Started at 5:00 pm

1 hour to stabilize, 6:00 pm

Ended at 225*, 1:02 pm the next day. 


Total burn time at 250*, 19:02






What was left in the firebox. 





B&B Oak 


Started at 3:10 pm

1 hour to stabilize, 4:10 pm

Ended at 225*, 5:59 pm (the next day) 


Total burn time at 250*,  25:49






What was left in the firebox. 





Cowboy low-n-slow 


Started at 9:00 pm

1 hour to stabilize,  10 pm

Ended at 225*, 10:45 pm (the next day) 


Total burn time at 250*, 24:45 







What was left in the firebox 






Rockwood low-n-slow 


Started at 6:40 pm

Stabilized at 8:30 pm (after initial startup issue) 

Ended at 2:00 pm (next day) 


Total burn time 17:30









KJ Big Block L-n-S 


Started at 5:30 pm

Stabilized in one hour 6:30 pm

End at 237*, 5:00 am (2 days later) 


Total burn time 34:30












Fogo Premium Black Bag 


Started at 4:30 pm

Stabilized in one hour at 5:30 pm

Ended at 1:17 pm (next day) 


Total burn time 19:47













Fogo Super Premium 


Started at 3:20 pm

Stable in 40 minutes at 4:00 pm

Ended at 1:14 pm (next day) 


Total burn time 21:14












Fogo Marabu 


Started at 3:20 pm

1:40 to stabalize at 4:50 pm

Ended at 9:45 pm (next day) 


Total burn time 28:55


I did throw a slight curve ball at this test. Right at the 24 hour mark I put 4 large foil wrapped sweet potatoes on the grill for a couple of hours. 











Fogo Quebracho low-n-slow. 


Started 9:30 am

1.5 hrs to stabilize 11:00

Ended 5:46 pm (next day) 


Total burn time, 30:46











Fogo Brazilian Eucalyptus 


Started at 2:40 pm

1 hour 20 minutes to stabilize 4:00 pm

Ended at 7:46 am (next day) 


Total burn time 15:46








Jealous Devil 


Started at 4:35 pm

Stabilized at 5:30 pm

Ended at 12:37 am (two days later) 


Total burn time 31:07







Komodo Kamado CoffeeChar 


Started at 5:50 pm

Stabilized at 6:30 pm

Ended at 10:57 am (next day) 


Total burn time 16:27










Summary of burn times at 250*:


KJ Big Block 34:30

Jealous Devil 31:07

Fogo Quebracho 30:46

Fogo Marabu 28:55

B&B Oak 25:49

Cowboy 24:45

Fogo Super Premium 21:14

Fogo Premium Black Bag 19:47

RO XL Cut 19:02

RO (regular) 18:44

Rockwood 17:30

Komodo Kamado CoffeeChar 16:27

Fogo Eucalyptus 15:46




More tests to follow in the coming weeks. 




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An interesting charcoal that I only bring out for special occasions. Mrs skreef wanted to use it for her cheesecake. Snapped enough pictures figured I should add it here as an extra 


Komodo Kamado CocoChar - Extruded coconut charcoal. 


"Environmentally sound from shells not wood. 100% pure, no fillers, addatives or chemicals. High carbon content, more BTU's per pound. Burns hot, clean and very, very long. Virtually smokeless and almost ashless. Great sweet smell and taste." 


Round logs approximately 9" long x 2" diameter. You get about 27 pieces packed neatly in a 20 lb box. 




You take the logs and bang them together to break them up a bit. Dump the chunks in the firebox in no particular fashion. This is in our 19" KK lump basket about 60% full. 




We actually started the grill way earlier than needed. This resulted in a a 330* burn that lasted about 8 hours. Burned through about 25% of the charcoal. 





Any ash it leaves behind is so fine it all falls through the ash basket. No worries about clogging using this charcoal. 





One last thing to note: it really doesn't have a smoke profile. Add smoke chunks to get the exact smoke profile you want with no off flavors. 






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13 minutes ago, Chris Topher said:

 I guess naked whiz should fold up its tent


I don't know about that but I personally trust myself more than anyone else. I have a few interesting comparison tests lined up. I'll try not to inject my opinion. Just show the results and let everyone come to their own conclusions. 


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If you can give us just the "Joe Friday" that would be awesome. Not taking any shots at the Whiz but I disagree more than I agree with the results in the database. 

My best example of this is the small yellow bag of "Chef Wagon" in my opinion (operative word is my) that stuff was the bomb. Only could source it for 1 year. Very dense unknown to me type of wood, good size pieces with a nuetral smoke. In fact I have tried 7 of your 9 subjects and I liked it better than those.

Really looking forward to your review.

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1 hour ago, Vanole said:

If you can give us just the "Joe Friday" that would be awesome. Not taking any shots at the Whiz but I disagree more than I agree with the results in the database. 

My best example of this is the small yellow bag of "Chef Wagon" in my opinion (operative word is my) that stuff was the bomb. Only could source it for 1 year. Very dense unknown to me type of wood, good size pieces with a nuetral smoke. In fact I have tried 7 of your 9 subjects and I liked it better than those.

Really looking forward to your review.


Not really sure what you mean by "Joe Friday". Not doing a review. Doing more of a comparison and everyone can turn the results into their own personal review. Will try my best to make all comparison tests as equal and fair as possible. Going to try and do the volume and size comparison this weekend. 


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Nice. My wife would murder me before I had a chance to test it all if I bought all that lump and then had to store it! I’m still rocking the good old RO red bag... haven’t tried the XL. I made a mistake and thought I was doing better getting a 30 lb bag of the Western lump at Wal Mart for the same price of the RO... I was wrong. It was slow to start and didn’t seem to get real hot, was decent for my bbq cooks as it didn’t give any off flavors like Cowboy Lump, but I definitely was kicking myself for not getting the old trusty Royal Oak. Been wanting to try B&B for a while, might give it a chance... it’s good enough for Big Moe, or at least he endorses it. 

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8 hours ago, Vanole said:

Must be dating myself...Joe Friday (Jack Webb) from Dragnet "Nothing but the Facts".


I remember Dragnet just never got into watching it which is why I didn't catch the reference :)



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4 hours ago, Mr Cue said:

Nice. My wife would murder me before I had a chance to test it all if I bought all that lump and then had to store it! 


That doesn't count the approximately 200 lbs of Fogo Marabu I have stashed in the shed. I use that for my Konro. It comes from Cuba so I've slowly been hoarding it just incase it comes under a tariff and goes away. 


BTW nice to see you posting again :)



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