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Charcoal Options?

I'm searching for a good go-to charcoal, but am having some trouble.  I live in southern California, and there aren't too many charcoal options.  These are the ones available nearby:

1)  BGE Charcoal, which I like a lot, but is pretty expensive
2)  Cowboy Charcoal - never tried
3)  Whole Foods Lump - never tried
4)  Trader Joe's Lump - never tried
5)  Best of the West Lump, which I tried and was ok flavor-wise, but sparked like crazy and was pretty awful during the lighting process

I'm currently finishing up some Ozark Oak that I ordered.  That charcoal is just incredible.  It's actually kind of weird how much better it is than others I've tried--perfectly sized pieces, no dust, great smoke flavor, and a nice steady burn.  Wish it wasn't so expensive to have it shipped because that's all I'd use otherwise.  I've also been eyeing Wicked Good Weekend Warrior because in the past it's had great reviews, but the more recent reviews I've found are all extremely negative.  Everyone seems to think that the quality has declined in a big way, which is a shame because I've been very interested in it.

Anyway, given all of these options, which ones do you all prefer?  Cowboy intrigues me; so does Wicked Good Weekend Warrior.  Anyone tried them all?  Thoughts?
Southern California

Comments

  • JwgreDeuxJwgreDeux Posts: 139
    BGE charcoal is fine, but overpriced (here in Alabama I buy local charcoal for $1 per pound vs BGE @ $2 per pound)

    Of the others you've listed, I have only used Whole Foods lump.  It is ok, but after one bag I decided it wasn't as good as other stuff I've tried.

    I use a local lump that sounds alot like your last option in that is is a bit sparky and hard to light, but it burns long and hot so I'll deal with the down sides.  I can also get it pretty cheap so its a give and take.  

    Only times my cooks have been affected by my choice of lump is when the lump doesn't do well for a low and slow, or doesnt burn as hot as I would like for pizza cooks.

    Good luck.
  • johannjohann Posts: 111
    I can usually find Royal Oak. If I can't cowboy works fine. I'm saving up currently to get a pallette of wicked good with my father; but I'll be doing the pickup and delivery to save on costs. 

    This is the reason I bought my first pallette of Wicked Good:
  • bicktrav said:
    I'm searching for a good go-to charcoal, but am having some trouble.  I live in southern California, and there aren't too many charcoal options.  These are the ones available nearby:

    1)  BGE Charcoal, which I like a lot, but is pretty expensive
    2)  Cowboy Charcoal - never tried
    3)  Whole Foods Lump - never tried
    4)  Trader Joe's Lump - never tried
    5)  Best of the West Lump, which I tried and was ok flavor-wise, but sparked like crazy and was pretty awful during the lighting process

    I'm currently finishing up some Ozark Oak that I ordered.  That charcoal is just incredible.  It's actually kind of weird how much better it is than others I've tried--perfectly sized pieces, no dust, great smoke flavor, and a nice steady burn.  Wish it wasn't so expensive to have it shipped because that's all I'd use otherwise.  I've also been eyeing Wicked Good Weekend Warrior because in the past it's had great reviews, but the more recent reviews I've found are all extremely negative.  Everyone seems to think that the quality has declined in a big way, which is a shame because I've been very interested in it.

    Anyway, given all of these options, which ones do you all prefer?  Cowboy intrigues me; so does Wicked Good Weekend Warrior.  Anyone tried them all?  Thoughts?
    The problems with Wicked Good Charcoal Weekend Warrior lump were with their former supplier.  They moved to another supplier and I haven't been able to get a bag of the new stuff yet to see how it does.  Knowing WGC, it should be pretty good.  As I understand it, you can tell the new stuff because the logo has 8 colors in the printing. 
    The Naked Whiz
  • henapplehenapple Posts: 10,923
    Where are you located?
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • GATABITESGATABITES Posts: 680
    @henapple - I want some of the OO. No chances you will be in the Baltimore/DC?Virginia area?

    I don't think its sold up this way. Or at least I haven't found it in my research.  
    XL BGE 
    Reisterstown, MD
  • EagleIIIEagleIII Posts: 109
    Does your local Wal Mart carry Royal Oak? Very positive review on nakedwhiz.com and fairly good on pricing...on sale at Wally World it is about $6 for an 8# bag...not on sale, about $8 for an 8# bag.
  • Carolina QCarolina Q Posts: 6,877
    I've never ordered from these guys, but Ozark Oak is $!0.95 per 10 lb. Free shipping with orders of $99 or more.

    Michael 
    Central Connecticut 

    "Avoid at all costs that vile spew you see rotting in oil in screwtop jars. Too lazy to peel fresh? You don't deserve to eat garlic." Bourdain
  • claybrnclaybrn Posts: 31
    @NakedWhiz - how long ago did WG move suppliers?  I bought a few bags of the "new" packaging about two months ago, and the contents were absolute crap (as compared to the stuff from the "old" packaging).


  • Letz4wheelLetz4wheel Posts: 224
    Amazing that BGE lump is $2 a pound in Bama. You might want to look around some. One dealer in my area is $25 per 20 lb and the other is $20 per 20 lb. so there is a difference in dealers. So far the BGE lump is all I have burned. Next up on the list is the Ozark I have around.
    Southern Indiana
  • AcnAcn Posts: 433
    Your Trader Joe's may be different, but here in MD they only have briquettes. They are 100% hardwood, so you shouldn't get any nasty chemicals/additives, but it isn't lump.

    LBGE

    Pikesville, MD

  • claybrn said:
    @NakedWhiz - how long ago did WG move suppliers?  I bought a few bags of the "new" packaging about two months ago, and the contents were absolute crap (as compared to the stuff from the "old" packaging).


    Recently.  What I don't know is if the packaging change occurred at the same time.  Eventually, I should get a bag of the new charcoal and I'll see what it's like.

    The Naked Whiz
  • JwgreDeuxJwgreDeux Posts: 139
    JwgreDeux said:
    BGE charcoal is fine, but overpriced (here in Alabama I buy local charcoal for $1 per pound vs BGE @ $2 per pound)

    Of the others you've listed, I have only used Whole Foods lump.  It is ok, but after one bag I decided it wasn't as good as other stuff I've tried.

    I use a local lump that sounds alot like your last option in that is is a bit sparky and hard to light, but it burns long and hot so I'll deal with the down sides.  I can also get it pretty cheap so its a give and take.  

    Only times my cooks have been affected by my choice of lump is when the lump doesn't do well for a low and slow, or doesnt burn as hot as I would like for pizza cooks.

    Good luck.
    Correction, BGE here is a bit over $1 per pound, and I buy local made lump for $.50, not sure what I was thinking in my earlier post.  Sorry for the mix-up
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 4,954
    edited August 2013

    I'm with @claybrn on the WGWW-I bought 3 bags of "new" packaged and marked bags (cheaper bag construction and primarily blue lettering) a few months ago.  No longer the large pieces with  the great majority of good sized lump-probably around 25-30% of each bag had pieces no bigger than a silver dollar and lots of fines and dust. 

    Related-I just spoke with the local (Louisville area) WGWW dealer and he mentioned the supplier issues and recent switch to correct the problem.  Sounds like once the bad stuff gets purged all will be well with WGWW.  Hopefully @TNW-gets his new supply to test soon.  FWIW-

    Louisville
  • jaydub58jaydub58 Posts: 1,221

    Here in our area, it's pretty much RO or Cowboy.  Fairly recently, somebody posted that one of the other manufacturers had free shipping on orders of $100 or more.

    Who was that? 

    Thanks

    John in the Willamette Valley of Oregon
  • EggcelsiorEggcelsior Posts: 8,540
    edited August 2013
    Firecraft.com has free shipping on orders over $99. BBQguys.com has free shipping on orders over $250, I think.

    Edit: They both sell lump. They aren't manufacturers.
  • GogogordyGogogordy Posts: 309
    The local BGE pricing is 32.99 for 20# or $1.65#. Our Sams Club carries Best of The West at $14.95 for 40# or .37 cents per pound. The Best of the West is "OK", I dont mind busting it up or the sparkes when lighting, but the flavor is a bit strong on certain meats (too smoky). I am a firm believer in getting what you pay for, but the price differential prohibits me from a steady diet of BGE lump (which Id really prefer) so the best I can do is mix the two, save the BGE for special cooks, and rely on the cheaper stuff for my day to day and hibachi use. Even if BGE increased the bag size by a few pounds without increasing the price and brought the per pound price closer to $1. # I'd be more inclined to use it exclusively. Whats that old saying?....wish in one hand
    When I'm not Eggin', I'm scootin'   Eggin' and 'cueing from Temecula Ca; an hour from San Diego, an hour and five minutes from Palm Springs, and an hour and a half from Los Angeles (yeah, right. With THAT traffic?)
  • jaydub58jaydub58 Posts: 1,221
    Thanks, @Eggcelsior.
    John in the Willamette Valley of Oregon
  • AquacopAquacop Posts: 457
    I've never ordered from these guys, but Ozark Oak is $!0.95 per 10 lb. Free shipping with orders of $99 or more.

    Just ordered ten bags, I will let all know my experience!
    LBGE 2013 Located in Savannah, Georgia
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