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Jun 20, 2009 11:15 AM

Where to buy good hardwood charcoal (Belmont/Arlington/Watertown vicinity)

I used to get my supply of hardwood charcoal (not briquets, lump charcoal) at Russo's. They had a variety of brands over time, always at a good price. Now they seemed to have stopped carrying any. I need another source! There's always the Barbecue Barn in Arlington, but you pay full price there. Perhaps some Hounds know of other sources. Someplace near Belmont would be very nice but anyplace near or inside route 128 between the Mass Pike and I-93 would be fine.

Yes, I know Whole Foods sells charcoal, as does Trader Joes. TJ's sells Cowboy brand, which I have used only as a last resort. It burns very quickly. According to a website that reviews charcoal by brand, WF Charcoal is actually Cowboy. So while those sources are convenient, I am hoping to find something better.


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  1. The best charcoal I have ever used is Wicked Good charcoal.
    Better than anything else I have ever used, by far, but it's kind of expensive, if you're used to buying Cowboy. I think its worth the money considering the size of the pieces.
    I believe it is available at Whole Foods in Cambridge. I know Milton market carries it.
    I order mine online at

    2 Replies
    1. re: janzy

      Just noticed that Whole Foods at Fresh Pond carries Wicked Good, but at a whopping $18.95 for a 22 pound bag.

      1. re: samovar32

        Thanks for the pointer. The price is not that bad compared to places like Wilson Farms, which sells Mali's for $9.95 for a a bag less than half the size (8.8 pounds, if memory serves).

    2. Arax in Watertown always has good lump charcoal.

      4 Replies
      1. re: StriperGuy

        Arax carries Royal Oak lump, which is very good. I've also bought RO lump at Martignetti's on Soldiers Field Road in Brighton, but now that I think of it, I didn't see any when I was just there a couple hours ago.

        1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

          Ive also bought Royal Oak lump at Brookline Ice and Coal, agree it is a quality product. Cowboy is the worst!

          1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

            Arax actually mixes it up. Can't remember the names, but at times seen 2 or three different kinds simultaneously.

            1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

              Made a special trip to Arax today and all they had was Cowboy. :-(

          2. Market Basket has had Royal Oak this year.

            2 Replies
            1. re: DTHEASH1

              I saw Royal Oak at the Reading MB the last time I was there, but it was briquettes, not lump charcoal. I am looking for lump charcoal, not briquettes. Thanks, anyway, for the helpful thought!

              1. re: PinchOfSalt

                Look more closely. Reading MB has had both for the last three months. The briquettes are displayed on the floor, but if you check the isle you will find briquettes and lump. As usual with MB, the price is reasonable.

            2. if you want to come out a bit more then i'd highly reccommend Brookline Ice and Coal.

              3 Replies
              1. re: ScubaSteve

                I've always shied away from voyaging to BI&C on the grounds that parking anywhere near it certainly must be a Big Problem. Am I wrong about that?

                1. re: PinchOfSalt

                  i used to just pull into their yard.

                  but then again my usual oprder was 20 bags of lump charcoal and 150# of chunk hardwoods, which would last me the whole summer.

                  1. re: PinchOfSalt

                    There are meters all along the street near there

                2. BBQ Barn in Arlington. I haven't been there in years so I can't say what kinds they have right now, but you can give them a call. I've also gotten some at DeMoulas in Union Square, Somerville.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: mrgeocool

                    $19.95 for an 18 lb bag of Basque at BBQ Barn.