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Where to buy cheap bulk charcoal

downtownfoodie Jun 2, 2010 12:54 PM

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. grandgourmand RE: downtownfoodie Jun 2, 2010 01:15 PM

    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
      sumdumgoy RE: grandgourmand Apr 4, 2014 09:07 AM

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

      1. re: sumdumgoy
        ylsf RE: sumdumgoy Apr 4, 2014 09:30 AM

        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
          grandgourmand RE: ylsf Apr 4, 2014 01:37 PM

          +1. Definitely best price around.

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

    2. foodyDudey RE: downtownfoodie Jun 2, 2010 01:18 PM

      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
        grandgourmand RE: foodyDudey Jun 2, 2010 01:22 PM

        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
          Kooper RE: grandgourmand May 10, 2011 06:47 AM

          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
            grandgourmand RE: Kooper May 10, 2011 02:53 PM

            Eesh...you 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. l
        LJS2 RE: downtownfoodie Jun 2, 2010 01:53 PM

        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
          Snarf RE: LJS2 Jun 2, 2010 03:22 PM

          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
            Dave5440 RE: Snarf May 10, 2011 03:48 PM

            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. Kagemusha RE: downtownfoodie Jun 2, 2010 02:06 PM

          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
            downtownfoodie RE: Kagemusha Jun 2, 2010 02:47 PM

            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
              downtownfoodie RE: downtownfoodie Jun 2, 2010 02:49 PM

              pic didn't attach

              1. re: downtownfoodie
                Kagemusha RE: downtownfoodie Jun 2, 2010 03:00 PM

                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
                tuttebene RE: downtownfoodie Jun 2, 2010 04:07 PM

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

                1. re: tuttebene
                  downtownfoodie RE: tuttebene Jun 2, 2010 06:23 PM

                  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

            2. jayt90 RE: downtownfoodie Jun 2, 2010 03:28 PM

              I'm on the lookout every week for good cheap charcoal, and today I saw Maple Leaf 4 kg lumps, for $7.at 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
                Snarf RE: jayt90 Jun 2, 2010 03:49 PM

                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
                  ebay3392 RE: Snarf Jun 2, 2010 06:08 PM

                  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.

              2. Davwud RE: downtownfoodie May 9, 2011 05:24 AM


                Call these guys and see if you can get some of their charcoal. It's very, very good. A fellow hound turned me on to them. I use the lump for my smoker and it lasts at the very least twice as long as Kingsford. Very impressed.


                2 Replies
                1. re: Davwud
                  sumdumgoy RE: Davwud May 9, 2011 09:52 PM

                  Also reasonably priced at $13.50 for 20lbs. of lump.

                  The briquets are said to be very pure as well - I might even try them though I have been hooked on lump.

                  1. re: Davwud
                    Dflip RE: Davwud May 11, 2011 04:49 PM

                    If you are looking for a review of various charcoals, you might want to check out this site. http://www.nakedwhiz.com/lump.htm They do reviews of lump charcoal and also briquettes. The Maple Leaf is good lump charcoal, although, the Dragon's Breath, available at Ontario Gas BBQ produces more heat and is really good. I just used up the last of my Maple Leaf and can't wait to get back to my Dragon's Breath. I'm not sure how it's higher heat works in a smoker. It's the fuel that they use to grill up the finished ribs at most of the BBQ events in Ontario.
                    The website also does a review of the standard lump charcoals and a number of briquettes, so you have something to compare.

                    I do have the luxury of using my Weber kettle to mark the steaks with lump charcoal and then finish them on the Weber gas grill. Not something you need to do with 1/2" steaks, but quite useful with Costco 1 1/2" specials. They were wonderful, marked on both sides, 2 minutes at a 45 degree angle and then the opposite 45 degree angle, flipped and then on the the same angles. The first side will mark better than the second side. Transfer to the Weber gas grill at the front position(back element on and the middle and front off) and bring to an internal temp of 125 for rare to medium rate, 135 for medium and 145 for (yuk) well done. Let them rest for ten minutes to allow the myogloban (blood) to go back into the steak and serve. Wonderful!

                    The advantage of the Weber gas grill is the heavy lid which makes controlling the heat very easy. I had a Centro before from Canadian Tire and it was a piece o' junk. Hard to control the heat and it fell apart after three years.

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