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Jul 1, 2009 06:22 AM

where to purchase natural, chemical free charcoal for the 4th of July?

Does anyonw know of any specialty food shops or high end hardware stores that have
"claen coal" real old fashion charcoal, not that kigsford stuff or other coals soaked in chemicals

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  1. What you are looking for is natural "lump" charcoal. It's made the old fashioned way, simply burning wood (in the absence of air) until charcoal remains. If you use that in combination with a chimney starter, that's as natural as can be. I believe you can find it in Whole Foods and possibly Home Depot. Trader Joe's in California carries it, but I don't know if the New York ones do. Call these places first.

    4 Replies
    1. re: panoz

      Whole Foods and Trader Joe's have it.

      1. re: ukitali

        Avoid much of what HD and Traders Joe s sell, is crap. Traders name brand is garbage, stay away from Cowboy, it might be worst.
        There is a chaim supermarket in and around the city called Western Beef. Their locations are always out of the way, but they used to carry Royal Oak Lump which is pretty good. There s a guy in Brooklyn called The Woodman. He carries Wicked Good hardwood charcoal, its some of the best hardwood charcoal you can get your hands on. They have made deliveries to me in Westchester.

        1. re: baldwinwood

          Is the Woodman that hardware store near Brooklyn Heights because I think I know exactly about whom you're talking and he's a good resource. On the off-season I've had to turn to Gracious Homes for my grilling needs.

          1. re: JungMann

            i have never been to the physical store.

    2. Fairway's in Brooklyn (so I assume both Manhattan stores as well) has Malis Lump Charcoal at $7.49 /10 lbs. bag. Western beef stopped selling Royal Oak Lump about 5 years ago. I haven't looked in the past two years though, maybe they've started selling it again. Note that I have seen in a number of places Mr. Stubbs (and I also think Kingsford) Natural Briquets which uses cornstarch, not chemicals, as a binder. They are a lot cheaper than lump charcoal, but I still prefer the lump.

      1 Reply
      1. re: bobjbkln

        Western Beef still sells Royal Oak Lump Charcoal- 18 lbs for $10.98 on Staten Island and also in Brooklyn.

      2. I'm curious to know why you want this type of coal? I think you should realize that coal really isn't clean. When you burn it you will create mostly carbon dioxide and water, but also a variety of other compounds that are generally detrimental to your health. The presence of additives will not add significantly more detrimental compounds when they are burned compared to the type/quantity that the coal already produces. The additives that Kingsford uses are essentially the same type of chemicals as coal (they are hydrocarbons), but the additives probably burn cleaner (produce a smaller percentage of detrimental compounds). By the way, you cannot burn wood in the absence of oxygen as panoz states.

        2 Replies
        1. re: ChemWork

          Not the original poster, by my guess, hardwood charcoal burns a LOT hotter than kingsford type briquettes

          1. re: baldwinwood

            I imagine that the temperature could be an important consideration although I would want to see the data on the different briquettes. The temperature would also be mediated by the amount of oxygen available. I can guess that taste may also be affected by some of the compounds present in the coal. Perhaps that is what the original poster was trying to avoid.