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The quality of charcoal briquettes.

chefdaddyo's picture

Anyone grilling on these chilly nights?  I do, about 3-4 times per week.  I have three Webers.  None gas.  My question is:  If you have been using the Kingsford brand briquettes for many years, have you noticed the lack of heat the past few years?  I've had to "reload" when doing bone-in chicken, or I have almost nothing left when applying the BBQ sauce.  I believe the Royal Oak brand has a little more longevity.  Any thoughts?

Gretchen's picture

(post #35479, reply #1 of 15)

WalMart sells briquets that are about half again larger than anyone else's. Haven't gotten any in a couple of years, but they were nice. I like Trader Joe's natural hardwood charcoal for a really hot fire.


Geoffchef's picture

(post #35479, reply #2 of 15)

It may be purely subjective, but I switched from Royal Oak to Kingsford for the same reason.


A protuberance in the throat of man, thoughtfully provided by Nature to keep the rope in place.
Ambrose Bierce - The Devil's Dictionary



A protuberance in the throat of man, thoughtfully provided by Nature to keep the rope in place.
Ambrose Bierce - The Devil's Dictionary


schnitzel's picture

(post #35479, reply #3 of 15)

We use Royal Oak natural wood charcoal, not briquettes. It burns hot and fast.

thecooktoo's picture

(post #35479, reply #4 of 15)

In the grilling classes that I teach, we use both gas and charcoal grills.  For years I used nothing but natural hardwood charcoal, from TJ's if I remembered to buy it before class, from the little hardware store near the school if I didn't (at about twice the cost!). I thought that the natural would be easier and better to use...I finally came to the conclusion after reading an article in CI about the differences between briquettes and natural, that I would go back to briquettes.  The fire is much too hard to control with natural charcoal, particularly when you are doing multiple courses over a three hour class period.  Had to spend way too much time just starting new starters of charcoal, or constantly adding to the existing fire.  Briquettes make it much easier and I use them all the time now.

If I were doing one or two steaks I would still prefer the natural charcoal...or anything that doesn't require a long grilling time.


Gretchen's picture

(post #35479, reply #5 of 15)

The one thing about natural charcoal is that the pieces fall through the chimney bottom grate.


jcurrier's picture

(post #35479, reply #10 of 15)

I have cut round shaped wire mesh to fit in the bottom of all my charcoal grills (three of them!) that seems to cure that problem quite well

samchang's picture

(post #35479, reply #11 of 15)

Yes to the hardwood and the grating on the bottom of the chimneys! As thecooktoo states, Trader Joe's lump coal is great and cheap. Whole Foods' brand contains too many small peices, but they're very good, too.

Gretchen's picture

(post #35479, reply #12 of 15)

Thank you. I'll get DH right on that!! Really!!   ;o)


oldusty's picture

(post #35479, reply #6 of 15)

    I grill all year , charcoal as well as gas .

        The real test for me is my Dutch oven baking outside . The Kingsford holds heat longer then any of the others I have tried . For baking an even temp is probably more important then other charcoal cooking .


KarenP's picture

(post #35479, reply #7 of 15)

 I use royal oak when I can't get the lump/chunk charcoal.  That's what has worked best for me to control the temperature.

gourmand's picture

(post #35479, reply #8 of 15)

Kingsford brand briquettes

Have you seen the show on the history channel of how they are made? Don't think you would like what you saw.

 Growing old is inevitable, Growing up is optional.

 Growing old is inevitable, Growing up is optional.

jcurrier's picture

(post #35479, reply #9 of 15)

I moved away from briquettes and have been using hardwood lump charcoal for the last few years.  Would never consider turning back.  I use a weber chimney starter and love it!

Eugene22's picture

Kingsford Briquettes (post #35479, reply #13 of 15)

I have been grilling/smoking meat for over 40 years. 40 years ago Kingsford briquettes were the Cadillac of charcoal. Now I will use any brand but Kingsford. They have not only cheapened their product terribly, they have also driven the industry to smaller packaging while increasing the price. (Remember 20 lb. bags of charcoal? They went to 18 and now 16.7 or some ridiculous size while the price continues to go up.) Also, they add much more filler to their briquettes than they used to. You're lucky if you get 45 minutes out of them before you are reloading. Thank you Kingsford for ruining another great American brand because of your greed! Royal Oak is much better consistantly. Walmart's Sam's Choice or their new BackYard Grill Briquettes(which I believe are packaged by Royal Oak) is also excellent for heat and burn time and much cheaper!

Pielove's picture

lump charcoal (post #35479, reply #14 of 15)

Hi Eugene-- I agree-- have you ever tried lump charcoal?  The BBQ folks seem to be buzzing about it...


GretchenTHEFIRST's picture

Lump is great and it burns (post #35479, reply #15 of 15)

Lump is great and it burns hot and long, but it's varied shapes and sizes makes for a good bit of waste also as it goes through the lighting chimney.