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Lump Charcoal West of Boston

I'm looking for some lump charcoal convenient to the Natick/Wellesley area. Preferably something like Royal Oak as opposed to Cowboy. Has anyone spotted any out here? I'd prefer to avoid the drive to Watertown (Arax) or Brookline since I'm not often there.

I checked in at the Framingham Walmart, but they didn't have RO. NE Spas on Rt 9 in Natick has Wicked Good for something like $23/20lb, which is more than I'd like to spend.

I gather that Restaurant Depot carries RO, but I don't have access.

TIA for any leads.

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  1. I saw it at BJs the other day. I don't recall the brand.

    Also, try your local hardware store.

    1 Reply
    1. re: skippy66

      I have a bag from BJ's and its pretty good. Bettter than Cowboy.

      But the bag is so big that I am unable physically to pick it up!

    2. Restaurant Depot in Needham had Royal Oak on Friday. Whoops, sorry, saw the last line of your post. BBQ barn in Arlington, the Butcher in Coolidge Sq. Watertown, and Arax in Watertown are all locales with good charcoal.

      1 Reply
      1. re: StriperGuy

        New Deal has bags of Royal Oak if you are ever looking for great fish & charcoal.

      2. Based on this from itaunas in a similar thread a few years back, you may have some luck at one of the Brazilian markets in Framingham, especially butcher shops: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6297...

        1. Maybe too far for you, but got a big bag from Wegmans for $6.99. Have cooked with it nearly every day in July so far and burns hot and quick and clean.

          (Edit: Just looked online and apparently it's Royal Oak with the Wegmans' name attached.)

          1. Whole Foods in Framingham (and everywhere else) sells their own natural charcoal. It is excellent, and way better than Cowboy, which I bought in a pinch once.

            1. West Sport in Sudbury http://grillsandfireplaces.com/ has Wicked Good Weekend Warrior blend.

              8 Replies
              1. re: HubFlyer

                My current bag is Wicked Good Weekend Warrior from Ocean State Job Lots. Forget the price, but it was entirely reasonable.

                1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                  Sounds promising. Which location?

                  Edit: looks like several MA stores had it, at least during April/May. Time for me to get on the phone, I guess.

                  1. re: emannths

                    Specifically Waltham, but I'm sure it is (or at least was) at multiple outlets.

                    1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                      Seriously? What's the price there? I have been searching for a consistent source for this stuff for years. It occasionally appears, like a Yeti, where I least expect it but never lasts long.

                      1. re: Ruprecht

                        Other boards report something like $12 for a 22lb bag (!).

                        If you're willing to pay full freight ($20+), NE Spas in Natick has it.

                          1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                            Thanks for the tip, I picked up three bags yesterday for $10/per. This is an incredible price for this stuff, which is my favorite for smoking. One caveat: Job Lot does not take great care when handling the bags, many of which had holes in them. By the feel of them (I haven't opened mine yet) there is quite a bit of breakage inside, but at that price I'm willing to bet that there are enough intact big chunks left to still be a steal.

                            1. re: Ruprecht

                              Yep--same experience here. Plenty of bags for $10 at the Waltham location, several with big holes already in them. Choose carefully. Still a steal.

              2. Marty's, in Newton, is fairly close to you area and has had 20lb bags of good lump the last two times I stopped by. Basque brand the first time and Parker the second.

                1. just fyi, Brookline ice and coal does deliver all over for a small fee. V. reliable product and service. They also have various bulk wood chips for smoking.

                  1. Trader Joe's sells it. I am not sure of the brand.

                    1. Royal Oak Lump is often available at "Wallyworld" (your local Walmart)

                      1. I've found the Weekend Warrior blend to be the closest to my favorite, Nature's Own.....which I can never find retail anymore. Cowboy is the worst and I have to say that the Whole Foods version has improved significantly in the last couple of years. I get that one in a pinch. Never tried Royal Oak

                        1. 45F counts as grilling season right? At least I don't need to put on my snowshoes to get to the grill...

                          Anyway, some new sources to report: the 17lb bags of USA Royal Oak popped up at the Natick Home Depot for about $13. And Wegman's has their house brand, supposedly rebadged RO, for $6.30/10lb.

                          Is the Wicked Good stuff back at OSJL? And is it any better than last year's? I love the stuff, and the price is right, but there was a LOT of unusable dust and tiny pieces in the stuff I bought last year.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: emannths

                            Thanks for the update. I'll check OSJL next time I'm there, which should be within a week or so. They only had Wicked Good sporadically last year but it was a great deal even with the little pieces.

                            1. re: emannths

                              There wasn't any WG at Ocean State on Monday when I checked.

                            2. I love WG charcoal. When it showed up at OSJL last year I ran over and bought several bags. The problem is it was packaged in the old style paper bags and was covered with charcoal dust. I brought large plastic trash bags and put the charcoal in them.

                              When I get it home I dump it on a makeshift plywood table. I break up all the large pieces with a hammer and transfer the charcoal to small paper bags. Each bag holds just enough to fill the starter chimney. When I need a fire I dump a bag into the chimney and I am ready to go. Works out very well.

                              1. Try Home Depot, they usually carry lump charcoal.

                                1. Arax in Watertown had 17lb bags of the good, lump Royal Oak today.

                                  1. I bought a 17.7# of Royal Oak @ Home Depot in West Roxbury yesterday. Some, but not all, Walmarts have Royal Oak also but check their website first to see which stores have it and which don't. It's about $2 less at Walmart than HD but for me West Roxbury was closer.