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Best lump charcoal?

I'm gonna buy myself a charcoal bbq today and decided I want to try using lump (natural) charcoal. It's been many years since I've cooked with charcoal, and I've never used lump before, only briquettes. Does anyone have a brand in particular that's available downtown that they would recommend? How much is it?

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  1. I buy my lump from Joey's Services out in the west island. Big bags of it.

    If you're downtown check out any Adonis middle-east grocery story, or Akhavan.

    Also, buy yourself a chimney starter, you'll be forever grateful!

    Welcome to real bbq, not the froofroo propane stuff people pretend is bbq.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Zalbar

      +1 on the chimney starter. Please do not use lighter fluid!

    2. Costco sells this brand...not sure the price, but it's probably a decent deal.

      2 Replies
      1. re: JedZ

        My brother has one of those egg thingies and he loves the Basques charcoal. They run out quickly (at the Marché Central one at least) however, grab it when you see it. Quebec company too.


      2. Yah, the Basques stuff is very good. Anyone know where I can get it for a good price? Last summer I was paying $8 sometimes $7 at IGA for the 8 lb bag (white bag with the red flame). It adds up. The one JedZ posted is also Basques no idea if there's a difference with the red bag. The only other lump I tried was Royal Oak in the blue bag and I found it burned away too quickly and got very ashy. As mentioned definitely get a chimney starter.

        2 Replies
        1. re: JerkPork

          Think it was around $12 for an 8kg bag at Costco.

        2. BTW, I hope you bought a Weber Kettle!!!

          1. Homemade.

            Get a free 55 gallon steel barrel and some free hardwood and make your own free natural charcoal:

            4 Replies
            1. re: Muddirtt

              That would be in interesting experience to do on my urban balcony!!!

              I will let you know how the firemen love the idea!!


              1. re: Maximilien

                LoL. True. Perhaps you have friends or family that have private property to do it though?

                FYI, I was at Walmart today and saw some all natural lump charcoal for $12 for a decent size bag (in Iowa). I forget the brand name. I wonder how well it burns. Was in the garden section by the grills. Nice price, it seems.

              2. re: Muddirtt

                The one thread where I would never have expected a "make it yourself" comment.

                Never underestimate the Chowhound community.

                1. re: SnackHappy

                  Lol!!!!! Forget about the fire dept you'll have a lynch mob from the whole neighbourhood after you.

                  A couple of weeks ago on SRC's La Semaine Vert they did a segment on some "artisanal" lump charcoal guys and trust me it gets nasty.

              3. I have a friend who swears by Dragon Breath, though haven't tried it myself yet.

                Unfortunately the nearest retailer is in Ottawa.


                1. I use only lump for both grilling and BBQ.

                  Generally I use Royal Oak as its easy to get and comes in an 8kg bag (I like the big bags, same as double rolls of toilet paper, but I digress).
                  From the US, its mostly oak with hickory and maple "and other hardwoods". They source their wood from sawmill byproducts.
                  Its about $13-$14 at Canadian Tire (about $1.75/kg).

                  Also available at CT, Natures Grilling Gourmet Mesquite from Mexico.
                  Somewhat expensive at $7 for 3kg ($2.35/kg) and a *very* small bag, I only use mesquite when grilling steaks. An electric hairdryer can fan the charcoal into a hot inferno great for searing.
                  They make a hardwood blend charcoal as well. I consider it an exotic: a Mexican Blend of Ebony, Limoncillo, Tenaza, Hueso de Tigre, and Mesquite.
                  Both available at Rona as well.

                  Besides the general purpose Royal Oak, locally made Maple Leaf is good for low and slow BBQ (I like the maple component). Its somewhat expensive, $19 for 8 kg (~2.40/kg) at Rona
                  sometimes it goes on sale.
                  Maple Leaf is made in Sainte-Christine d’Auvergne, west of Quebec city. Her prices have gone up due to skyrocketing propane prices (they load maple logs into concrete kilns and fire with propane) and facility upgrades, but the lump is generally good quality.

                  Basque is also local, being made in the Lower North Shore town of Saint-Mathieu de Rioux between Trois Pistoles and Rimouski (I try to name "Trois Pistoles" as much as I can).
                  Its very similar to Maple Leaf (maple logs) with added yellow birch, but I find the lumps smaller.
                  Somewhat expensive as well, but I haven't bought this for awhile. Some IGAs carry this, so do some independent butchers, Adonis, and as mentioned, Costco.

                  If you wanna grill steaks, I'd suggest the Natures Grilling Mesquite or Hardwood Blend.
                  For general Q, maybe gets whats easy and cheap. Try different brands as you go along.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: porker

                    What's special with Trois Pistoles?

                    1. re: sir_jiffy

                      I just like saying it, but it doesn't come up in conversation very much.
                      Kinda like Saint-Louis-du-Ha!-Ha!, Wiesbaden, and Coolangatta...

                      1. re: porker

                        Just asking cause my father come from these lands :)

                  2. So far, I've been using mostly Maple Leaf lump charcoal (love the smell) and when I didn't have time to get some, I use Basques, which is available closer to home. But my favorite is Maple Leaf (available at some hardware stores... and Milano)