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Jul 3, 2008 03:45 PM

Hardwood charcoal in the greater Boston area

Cowboy charcoal is everywhere and the stuff at whole foods is really expensive. Anyone finding good deals out there for hardwood charcoal?

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  1. Brookline Ice and Coal sells Royal Oak lump charcoal (as well as RO briquettes and ethanol gel starter).

    1 Reply
    1. re: Luther

      Brookline Ice sells Royal Oak @ $10.00 for a 20.# pound bag. Very convenient to the Longwood area and route 9. They also carry Cowboy, and a Chefs Blend along with flavored wood chips and slab.

    2. Martignetti's has large bags of Royal Oak lump for $12.99. It's the best lump I have ever used, miles ahead of that awful Cowboy stuff, and the best part is that it's renewable: anything that doesn't turn to ash when you burn it the first time can be relit for your next cook. The steak I grilled last night -- which was outstanding -- was grilled over two-thirds of a chimney's worth of charcoal that I'd just picked up off the grate following the chicken I'd grilled over the weekend.

      I've seen Royal Oak lump in Brazilian and Armenian grocers as well.

      2 Replies
      1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

        Is that Martignetti's as in the liqueur store?

        1. re: Ferrari328

          Yes, the one on Soldiers Field Road in Brighton.

      2. I use Wicked Good lump.
        I think its the best I have ever used, even though its pricey at Milton Marketplace. $19.95 for a 22 lb. bag.
        I buy it online, but with the shipping its pretty close to the same price as Milton.
        Check out the Naked Whiz website for comparisons of all lump.

        3 Replies
          1. re: enhF94

            Funny, I was going to post a link to the same lump charcoal "database" (pretty brilliant resource, actually). Full URL is

            Note: Don't let the domain name scare you off; it's legit and worthwhile.

            For everyday lump that's easy to find around here, I tend to go w/either Cowboy (burns fast and hot though, so fine for "grilling" but not so much for slow-burn roasting and such) or Royal Oak, which, as Barmy notes above, I've been finding big bags of (20 lb?) in my local Brazilian market.

            1. re: enhF94

              Yep, agree with the Wicked Good suggestion. Great for high temp grilling and slow and low. From a recent cook with WGC...

          2. I just bought a bag of something at Hannaford Bros. It's basically chunks of wood. Is that what you mean? It was my first time using it, I liked it but scallops weren't the best for it, tooo smokey! I'm anxious to do a nice steak or burgers on it.

            4 Replies
            1. re: lexpatti

              Lump charcoal is chunks of partially burnt wood, as opposed to briquettes. They're lightweight, powdery black and irregularly shaped. If that's what you got, then yeah, that was lump charcoal.

              1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                nope, didn't get that - hmmmm, I'll have to check that out. Mine is definatly hunks of wood, irregular shaped. I used the charcoal chimney and they were blazing before long.

                1. re: lexpatti

                  I usually use the lump charcoal as BFP desribes above and use the wood chunks just before cooking to generate some flame..usually chopping them down to a smaller size. The wood burns pretty quickly on it's own.

                  Wood adds flavor and if you want a lot of smoke; soak it in water for a while.

                  1. re: lexpatti


                    I bought the same stuff at Hannaford. It's not lump charcoal, it's actually lumps of hardwood. The instructions say to light it and then let it burn down to charcoal, before cooking over it.

                    I use it in conjunction with the briquettes. I put a lump or two of the hardwood on the coals, and it adds a huge amount of smoke and flavor to the food.

              2. The Royal Oak lump charcoal is great but the Nature's Own that I get from Russo's is nearly as good and much less expensive. Score another one for Russo's! It is in their garden supply area, near the pots, seeds, and fertilizer.

                2 Replies
                1. re: PinchOfSalt

                  I've used Nature's Own Basque lump and it was very good stuff. I got it at the BBQ Barn in Arlington.
                  I'll have to try the other Nature's Own. How much was it a bag at Russo's?

                  1. re: janzy

                    The exact price is just not coming to mind. Something like $6.98 or $7.98? It was definitely less than $10/bag.

                    The BBQ Barn is a great place! I go there for replacement parts for my beloved 25+ year-old Weber kettle. (It's about to get lit for my annual 4th of July rib fest. Hickory chunks from Home Depot if ya care to know.) Thanks for pointing out that they have charcoal. I will have to go browse the selection!