The championship bout for title of badest, hottest lump charcoal of 2012 is over and we have a winner! Last week we met contender no. 1 -- Woodstock Lump Charcoal...
This week we take a look at contender no. 2 -- Best of the West Natural Oak Lump Charcoal -- and then declare the winner!
Like Woodstock Lump Charcoal, Best of the West Natural Oak battles in the lightweight class -- coming in an 6.6 lb bag. Not a exactly a mountain-sized pile of meat-searing fuel, but by no means a deal breaker either -- especially at just $5.99 a bag from the Weiss grocery store. At 91 cents per pound it beats out Woodstock's cost of $1.48 per pound...
So the first round of the match goes to Best of the West Natural Oak.
The lump size ran consistently medium all the way though the bag -- very good for steady yet not overpowering airflow between the coals throughout the burn, as well allowing for easy transfer of burn from one coal to the next. Woodstock's really large lumps on the other hand left slightly larger than optimal spaces/gaps within the charcoal pile...
Round two goes to Best of the West by a hair. It now looks as though Woodstock Natural Lump is on the ropes and in danger of losing the match.
But wait, what's this -- the match is lit, fire has just been put to the coals, and Woodstock with sudden, unexpected powerhouse of a right hook...
Best of the West Natural Oak Lump Charcoal burns a bit hotter than average lump charcoals but just can't seem to bring the same intensity or heat as Woodstock All-Natural Lump Charcoal. Round 3 -- Heat -- goes to Woodstock!
Best of the West is back on its feet and... oh, wait -- here comes Woodstock Lump charging in again... It's a quick feint with the right followed by a swift uppercut with the left and Best of the West hits the canvas again. 8... 9... Best of the West isn't getting up... 10: Round 4 -- Duration and Ash -- and the match go to Woodstock Natural Lump Charcoal.
Best of the West gives a good burn -- poutting out heat longer than typical lump charcoals, but it just couldn't match the endurance of Woodstock. As for ash, Best of the West's ash was slightly gray (indicating a less intense output of heat) and very light -- making it much more prone to blow up onto the food in the event of strong, unexpected draft or wind gust.
The bout of Woodstock Natural Lump Charcoal vs. Best of the West Natural Oak Lump Charcoal is over and we have ourselves a winner by knockout: Woodstock Natural Lump Charcoal.
To wrap up, Best of the West Charcoal:
- Price: $5.99 for an 6.6 lb bag - a very decent price
- Quality: very good - a very nice, consistent blend of medium-sized lumps -- allowing for optimal airflow between coals -- and easy spread of burn between coals, and a less than average amount dust or pebble size pieces in the bottom of the bag
- Performance: good - burns hotter than average lump charcoals but not quiet as hot as top-shelf lump charcoals... leaves behind less ash than most charcoals... but the ash is light and fluffy which could make it more prone to being blown up onto the food if there's a bit of a breeze