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Jun 2, 2010 12:54 PM

Where to buy cheap bulk charcoal

I'm bbq'ing 40 lbs of assorted meats this weekend and obviously that requires a lot of fuel. Anyone have a good source for large bags of charcoal at a reasonable price? Tx

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  1. If you want cheap...look for big bags of Kingsford briquettes. 7.5kg bag at Home Hardward will cost you $13. You might find it cheaper at No Frills or Food Basics.

    I don't like Kingsford. The best price on hardwood lump charcoal I've found is the Royal Oak 8kg bags at Canadian Tire for $15. I like the stuff. If you prefer briquettes, Royal Oak makes them too, sold at Canadian Tire.

    If you want "higher end", get the Maple Leaf brand at Rona. 8kg bag goes for $17.49. It's from Canada, unlike the others. They also make natural hardwood briquettes (briquettes vs. lump is a steadier burn, supposedly). It's cheaper, and uses natural binders.

    You can probably get away with 3 bags, just to be safe.

    3 Replies
    1. re: grandgourmand

      I need to buy a lot of lump charcoal.
      Has anyone seen any deals?

      1. re: sumdumgoy

        If Costco has stock again this year they are the best price I have seen around.

        The product they had last year was the top one, it was around $12 a bag.

        1. re: ylsf

          +1. Definitely best price around.

          It's also a very good quality lump (though I prefer Maple Leaf).

    2. Depends on what is reasonable. Pape IGA has 10lb bags of KINGSFORD lump charcoal for $7.99 (labelled as $8.99 but scans at the lower price)

      One bag should be all you need to cook 40#, most people use way too much charcoal.

      3 Replies
      1. re: foodyDudey

        I was originally inclined to say one bag...on my smoker, it would be half a bag or less for that amount of meat. I said three just to play it safe. it's not a big $$ investment and you can presumably use the rest throughout the summer.

        In retrospect, 3 bags is over the top.

        1. re: grandgourmand

          I love the summer and warmer weather. I smoked sausages and bacon in January and went through an entire bag in 4 hours in my 18" Webber Smokey Mountain.

          1. re: Kooper

   need a wind break. I don't think I've ever burned a whole bag (even the 4kg) in one session.

            BTW, you should check the price on Maple Leaf Lump at Masselli's on Danforth (near you, no?).

            And I'm too shy to ask, but if you're braver than me, I noticed Makkah (Pakistani place on Danforth closer to Greenwood) uses Basque hardwood lump in their tandoor ovens. I've been meaning to ask if they'll sell to me at a slight markup to wholesale.

            Makkah Restaurant
            1020 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4J1M2, CA

      2. I only use lump. Kingsford lump and Royal Oak are both quite good and reasonably priced. I get the Kingsford and my local Metro. The Royal Oak (which you can get in 20 lb bags is always available at Canadian tire. The Maple Leaf brand mentioned by Grandgourmand is very good but i am not so sure it is worth getting to feed a crowd. I have not used briquetts for a couple of years now but i recall that the Kingsford produced far more ash than the Royal Oak briquettes

        2 Replies
        1. re: LJS2

          Briquettes are not charcoal. Kingsford developed the process for combining hard and softwood scraps with coal dust and other chemicals to make briquettes as a way to find a use for scrap materials from the auto making process. Currently the company is owned by Clorox.

          1. re: Snarf

            Briquettes are at least 90% charcoal, 5% coal, 5%wheat or starch binder. There are many brands available that are pure hardwood charcoal with wheat or starch binder, Some things have changed since briquettes where invented in 1920.

        2. Crappy Tire is usually the cheapest and best supplied with lump charcoal. If you BBQ year 'round, don't do what I do every other year and forget to lay in a few big bags around Labour Day. Damn stuff tends to vanish quick in Sept. with no restock till spring.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Kagemusha

            thanks all. i will definitely err on the high side. friday night is beer can chicken, lots of sausage, and bacon cheese turtle burgers...(it;s a redneck themed event, lol)

            saturday i'm spit-roasting a whole pork loin in apple thyme brine, and a whole sirloin in peach five spice brine

              1. re: downtownfoodie

                Love those turtle burgers--straight out of a Lipitor ad! Nice to see most of the major meat groups married so artfully.

              2. re: downtownfoodie

                You neglected to post your address. What time is dinner?

                1. re: tuttebene

                  the middle of the forest somewhere jsut outside of fergus. it's a tournament we go to every year. last year the police and paramedics on site "patrolled" by so many times that eventually we had to invite them over and had them tucking into giant pieces of port carved right off the spit, lol

            1. I'm on the lookout every week for good cheap charcoal, and today I saw Maple Leaf 4 kg lumps, for $ Highland Farms, also Soon Lee. I would also add a huge bag of hickory chips ($5 or $6) at Crappy Tire and use it sparingly as you grill.
              I like the blurb on the Maple Leaf bag: They follow municipal trim crews in Quebec, gathering maple branches. You can bet Kingsford does not do that.

              Highland Farms
              850 Ellesmere Rd, Toronto, ON M1P, CA

              Soon Lee
              629 Markham Rd, Toronto, ON M1J, CA

              2 Replies
              1. re: jayt90

                Maple Leaf is generally what you see stacked up out the back of the good Tandoori places in the city. Best to give the bag a shake to see if it's been broken up too much (there will be dust).

                1. re: Snarf

                  I always pick up charcoal when I am doing the Buffalo run with the wife..all year long when we go I stockpile it...always cheaper than up here...2x 16.6 lb bags of Kingsford shrink wrapped together for $13.99 at Wegmans...their hardwood charcoal went up to $5.49 for 10lbs for their no name brand but still much cheaper than up here. I also know of a source for kiln dried oak wood in Cambridge that is real cheap if you are a stick burner.