Well, now that grilling season is upon us, (not really. Like most of us I grill year round), the hunt for charcoal begins. The stores around me are just now starting to get restocked in that area and I managed to get three bags of Royal Oak 100% All Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal for the fantastic price of $7.00 per 17.6 lb bag at my local Super Walmart. Great deal. While this is normally my go to charcoal I am currently coming off of using a bag of Kingsford Charcoal Competition Briquets, (bought after being recommended to me by Chris Lilly, the pitmaster at Big Bob Gibson in Decatur, Alabama). While this is Chris' go to for competition grilling, I was less than impressed by it. It didn't impart much flavour to the meats being cooked and it just didn't seem to produce the same high searing heat that Royal Oak Lump normally does. It also produced copious amounts of ash. It seems to work out well for Chris, though. They keep winning competitions.
I do believe that I'll be sticking to the lumpen goodness for the foreseeable future. I've never really cared much for standard briquet charcoal and the more expensive Competition grade just didn't light my fire. Sorry, Chris. For those of you who like lump charcoal you might want to give your local Walmart a check. At $7/17.6# this is a deal that cannot be beat, (that deal may not be the standard at all Walmarts, but you never can tell).