Granted, I'm a newbie... only have my egg since April. I had execllent results with the BGE charcoal. But it is expensive so when it ran out I took a flyer on the Lazzari Oak... about $17 for a 20 lb. bag compared to the $31 for the BGE brand.
I would not buy it again. Not only did it take much longer to light, there was no way it would burn as hot, and the fact there there were rocks in the bag... it was just false economy compared to the quality of the expensive BGE brand (Royal Oak?)
Flavor. I could hardly taste the "smoke" compared to BGE.
I did nothing different between the two brands... but the Lazzari would hardly ever get above 450 degrees and would take 40 minutes to do so. It also took two fire-starter square to lite. There was little or no imparted flavor to my steaks and chicken.
I wrote to the Lazzari people (they are nearby in San Francisco) and asked them why they put their name on their Mesquite brand but not on their "generic" brand... which they claim is oak. They were very nice and wrote back saying that the generic is made in Mexico and was designed to be a low margin product of lesser quality for restaurants and they didn't want to "brand" because of that. Think about it. If they won't put their name on it, what does it tell you about it?
The other day I ran out (thankfully) and moved back to the BGE brand and it was a huge world of difference. The pieces were "graded" and it lit faster and got way, way, way hotter in almost no time at all... 400 degrees in 10 minutes. It took Lazzari 20 mins to reach that... if I was lucky.
Cheap "is" as cheap "does." I won't go back. Yes, I know a lot of people have good results with this "off brand" and maybe I just got a bad bag (complete with some rocks!)... but there is no way I would recommend this product.
Yeah, I don't like paying $31 for a 20 lb. bag of lump, but I found that the difference in my cooks was huge and if I have to, I'll just bite the bullet and buy the BGE. I'd like to find where I can buy Royal Oak in the Sacramento area. I've not found it yet.
If you are thinking about Lazzari, well, my experience with a 20 lb. bag was terrible. I hope yours is better.