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Problem with cheaper charcoal??

RandallBRandallB Posts: 67
edited 3:25AM in EggHead Forum
I am a new egger. I used my first bag of Greeg Egg charcoal practicing and getting familiar with the egg. I love it!

For my second bag of charcoal, I tried a dealer recommended off brand.

I have used it twice and it pops constantly and throws tons of ash all over the place! I had to whipe thick ash off the pizza stone to put the pizza on. TOTALLY different than the Green Egg charcoal. I have never seen sparks pop out the bottom vent like this.

The bag is "The Original Charcoal Company", Charlotte NC, "made in Argentina". The bag is brown with black letters and no graphics or coloring. (35#, $30.00)

Is this normal for "cheaper" off brand charcoals? Did I just learn my lesson early?? Any experience with this charcoal? I was shocked to be so unhappy with it after the dealer said it was great.


  • FidelFidel Posts: 10,172
    That is normal for Argentinean charcoal regardless of brand. Stick with products made from US hardwoods and you'll see better results.
  • Cory430Cory430 Posts: 1,072
    Cheaper charcoal is usually fine as long as it's made in the USA. The South American stuff has a history of popping as you described.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    south american stuff (even royal oak has a south american make) is horrible. pops and sparks all over just like you say. utterly useless

    if it says "argentina", i avoid it at all costs
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • thechief96thechief96 Posts: 1,908
    I really like Royal Oak made in USA from Wally World.They say it is who makes the charcoal for Big Green Egg. $6.57 for ten pounds.
    Dave San Jose, CA The Duke of Loney
  • ShiffShiff Posts: 1,631
    My standard charcoal is Royal Oak (USA brand only). If you want to research other charcoal brands, see
    Large BGE
    Barry, Lancaster, PA
  • Other options....

    Cowboy brand can be found at Lowes or Home Depot. Burns quick, but hot. Great for Steaks and such.

    Another is Gordon Foods (if you have one). It's supposed to be mfg by Royal Oak, comes in a 20# bag, and it's what I use for long, slow cooks.
  • Man that is a rather expensive cheap charcoal. I learned my lesson with Argentinan charcoals with Frontier at Sam's for 15 bucks for 40 lbs. Wouldn't buy that stuff again. Been using royal oak and cowboy and haven't had any problems! Both cheaper than what you described!
  • I like "Wicked Good Weekend Warrior Blend". Even though it has some South American wood and can pop on occasion when lighting, I find that it burns much longer than Royal Oak. It's great for long cooks like butts and briskets.

    That being said, I find that Royal Oak imparts a distinctive flavor and aroma that is definitely appealing. The only issues I have with Royal Oak is Walmart's inability to keep stock year round in my area and the quicker burn rate. It's good stuff though for sure.
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,438

    for a ton of info on various lump brands.

    Save the stuff you have. When you get some decent lump, put the sparky stuff on the bottom, and cover with decent. That way the sparks and debris is smothered. Don't use it above 350 dome.

    Some off brand stuff is great. There one kind I've run into, just says "Lump Charcoal" and "bag made in Texas," around $14 - 16 per 20 lb, has lots of big branch and stump pieces. So, always be on the lookout.
  • Thanks everyone for the information. I am sure I will have more questions later on cooking.

    So far, I have finished building my table that turned out great, did awesome steaks at 600, an awesome 16 hour butt, 4 near perfect pizzas at 500, baked 8 sweet potatoes and acorn squash, and mouth watering fresh venison inside loin and back loin in bacon.

    ...and singed the hair off my left arm!
  • Capt FrankCapt Frank Posts: 2,578
    Randall, Welcome aboard! I don't know where you are located but if you have either Kroger or Publix supermarkets in your area the both sell Royal Oak [which does make BGE charcoal] under their own brand name. Kroger is simply Kroger brand and Publix is their "Greenwise" label.
    Another hint, RO does market some foreign made charcoal, but if you will look at the closure strip across the top of the bag and be sure it is red in color, you will be getting American charcoal. :) :side:
  • Mud PigMud Pig Posts: 471
    I've found that Royal Oak (Paraguan) definitely sparks and burns hotter. I happen to do some ribs with it and it was hard to keep the egg below 250 degrees. So it definitely burns hotter. I know this for a fact because I generally use Cowboy lump for my slow cooks and its easy to keep the egg below 250 using it. Just so happened that I only had Royal Oak on hand.

    I will say that Royal Oak gives steaks and chops a distinct flavor. I would have a bag of Royal Oak and Cowboy on hand at all times. One's for hot searing cooks and the other is for low and slow.

    Use the nakedwhiz site to look up what you have available locally. Compare and do some test cooks, you'll figure it out.

  • I normally stick with Royal Oak (they make BGE lump) Walmart normally keeps it in stock in this region for about $6.50 per bag (about 8 lbs I think)
  • WalMart had Royal Oak on closeout for $3.00 for 10 lbs.

    I am not a big fan of Cowboy. It burns okay, but you have to watch what you are getting. I have found plywood and unburnt wood in the bags. If using Cowboy, check your pieces before lighting. That's my $.02.
  • MikeeMikee Posts: 800
    Only been egging for 2 months. Getting lump is not all that easy. The BGE salesman, an egger, told me not to buy GBE lump at $24+ per bag but to buy it at the local feed store a couple miles away where he buys his. Royal Oak 20lbs for a little over $11. So far I don't have any complaints.
  • My dealer let me swap the open (~80%) 35# bag for a new 20# bag of BGE brand. I also picked up a Publix Greenwise 8.8# for $5.99 to try. So, I am back in business.

    I could not find Royal Oak at Wally world this time of year. Maybe it will be there in the spring.

    Thanks for the input, everyone.
  • Our Wally World has kicked Royal Oak off the island in favor of Xmas stuff.
    I am lucky to have a local co-op that sells Fire King 40# for $16.97 and I keep stocked up. Fire King is made in Missouri. B)
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