Royal Oak Lump Charcoal       Home       Lump Review Index      

Quick Stats
Date Of Review: August, 2022
Purchased From: Walmart
Date Purchased: August, 2022
Price: 21.98
Advertised Weight: 30 pounds
Type of Wood: Oak, maple, hickory and other hardwoods
Strange Material: Metal Strap
Scrap Lumber: None
Smell: American hardwoods smoke
Country of Origin: USA

Key Performance Indicators
Chips and Dust:
Max Temperature:
Burn Time:
Ash Production:

Quick Links
Other Information: Click Here
Statements From The Bag: Click Here
Lighting Instructions: Click Here
Safety Instructions: Click Here
Unusual Or Unique Statements: Click Here
Photos of Contents: Click Here
Other Photos: Click Here
Photo of UPC Code: Click Here
Contact Information: Click Here

Rate And Comment On This Charcoal: Click Here


Royal Oak lump charcoal defines the word ubiquitous when it comes to lump charcoal. It can indeed be found almost everywhere. Not only does Royal Oak make its own brands, it also makes charcoal for Big Green Egg and dozens of supermarket brands. It's made from oak, hickory, maple and other American harddwoods and when it burns the smoke is pretty much what most people associate with BBQ—that good old American hardwood smoke. It's always been one of our favorites and in fact got a Highly Recommended rating when we last reviewed it. But it's been 15 years since we last took a look at Royal Oak, so it is high time for a new review.

The first thing we do is dump the bag out on the ground for inspection and sorting. We did find a 4½-inch piece of metal strapping in the bag. Everyone has their own opinion on finding non-charcoal items in bags of lump (and how!) but personally, this metal strap is no cause for worry. Companies making charcoal from American hardwoods are usually using lumber mill slabs as their raw material. These slabs come to them on logging trucks in huge bundles secured by metal strapping, so it isn't surprising to see a bit of strapping end up in the final charcoal. It certainly won't hurt anything, so why worry? (We should also mention that although we didn't get any, it is common to get a rock or two in bags of Royal Oak. Again, they do no harm and you still get a full measure of charcoal.)

The thing to worry about apparently is the distribution of sizes you get nowadays. It does appear that Royal Oak is bagging up charcoal that leans heavily towards the small sizes. Here is what we got in our bag:

Large 1.4 pounds 4.7%
Medium 8.9 pounds 29.4%
Small 17.9 pounds 58.7%
Chips/Dust 2.2 pounds 7.2%

Total 30.4 pounds

While the small stuff burns just fine, we prefer a bag with a nice distribution of large, medium and small pieces. Although there were a lot of small pieces in our bag, the 7.2% chips and dust by weight ranks Low () compared to all other brands we have tested. (We should note that in the course of doing this review, we also opened a 20–pound bag of Royal Oak and the size distribution was very similar.)

The next part of the testing is the ease of lighting test in which we determine how many sheets of newsprint it takes to get a fire established in a standard Weber chimney starter. Royal Oak is extremely easy to light, taking only 2.5 sheets which is Very Low () compared to all other brands we have tested. While the charcoal was getting going, there was virtually no sparking or popping. And the smell of the smoke was exactly what we expected, that of burning American hardwoods.

After we test the ease of lighting, we dump the charcoal into a medium Big Green Egg and watch to see how hot it burns. Again while the fire was coming up to temperature, there was almost no sparking and popping. The fire spread quite rapidly and ultimately, we measured a screaming 1169°F for the maximum temperature. This is in the top 10 of all charcoals we have tested and obviously is Very High () compared to all other brands we have tested.

Next comes the burn time test. Royal Oak's burn time was Very High () compared to all other brands we have tested. It is in a virtual tie for 6th place on the list of charcoals we have tested. When lighting with a MAP/Pro torch, there was a moderate amount of sparking and one pop, which is to be expected when using a torch. Always take appropriate precautions when using a torch of any kind to light lump charcoal.

And finally, we measure the volume of ash produced. In the case of Royal Oak, the amount of ash was Low () compared to all other brands we have tested.

So what rating to give. Normally, this would be an easy call. 23 stars is "Highly Recommended" in anyone's book. But the size distribution is bad enough to be troubling. In 2007, 70% of the bag was comprised of large and medium pieces. Now 60% of the bag is small pieces. While we are not big fans of monster logs, we do think a highly recommended charcoal should have a better distribution than what we are seeing lately from Royal Oak. And lest you try to explain this away as a "bad bag" or caused by "rough handling", we don't buy it. Why is the majority of Royal Oak bags now being mishandled, but the majority of Jealous Devil and other brands not being mishandled? No, we attribute this to Royal Oak bagging up all this small stuff. They need to do a better job.

So, despite the low amount of chips and dust, the extreme ease of lighting, the rip roaring maximum temperature, the extremely long burn time and low amount of ash produced, we can only give Royal Oak our Recommended rating with an asterisk. You need to decide how the poor size distribution affects your opinion of this charcoal.

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Other Information


Statements From The Bag

"30 lb Big Bag", "Made in America Since 1953", "100% All Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal", "✓ Sustainably Sourced in the USA", "✓ Ready to Cook in 15 minutes", "✓ Pro Fuel for all Grills & Smokers","✓ No Fillers. No Chemicals."

"Since the 1950's the Royal Oak brand of charcoal and related products has always emphasized Quality. From the raw materials used in making our charcoal products to the final package you see on your store shelf, Royal Oak will always be the leader in providing America with quality products! Be sure to look for the Royal Oak logo and try all our other great Royal Oak grilling products!"

What is 100% natural wood charcoal?
100% Natural Wood Charcoal Charcoal Briquets
Appearance Looks like wood burned after a campfire. No two are alike. Pressed pillows of charcoal. Uniform in shape.
Content Only 100% wood is used. Made from oak, hickory, maple and other hardwoods.

Cooks hotter than regular briquets. Great for searing in food flavor.

Takes 15 minutes to get to cooking temperature.

A blend of woods and fillers. Only 100% if stated on bag.

Last longer for extended cooking.

Takes about 30 minutes to get to cooking temperature.

Lighting Instructions

"For best result, start your fire 15 minutes before cooking.

Lighter Fluid Method

1 Arrange 100% All Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal in a pile. Follow lighter fluid container directions. Open all grill vents and leave grill uncovered.

2 Light the pile in several places

3 In approximately 10 minutes, or when pile is predominately ashed over, spread charcoal evenly. Wait 5 minutes and begin cooking.

Natural Light Method
1 Arrange a layer of charcoal on bed of grill. Place a Tumbleweed in the middle of the charcoal. Use (1) Tumbleweed per 2-3 lbs. of Hardwood Lump Charcoal.

2 Add additional charcoal on top of the base and the Tumbleweed, forming a small pyramid. Tumbleweed may be fully covered by charcoal. Keep the Tumbleweed end exposed to allow for lighting access.

3 With a long-stemmed lighter, light the end of the Tumbleweed. When charcoal is covered in gray ash, spread evenly and begin cooking."

Safety Instructions

"Do not pour lighter fluid on burning wood charcoal.
Never use gasoline to light fire.
For best results, store this bag in a dry place."

Unusual or Unique Statements


The Ruler Used In The Following Photographs

We use the following ruler in the photographs which follow. The black and white segments are
1 inch long. The upper scale is in inches, while the lower scale is in centimeters. The distance
between the centers of the two targets is precisely 9 inches.

Photos Of Contents

This photo is an overall view of the contents of the bag.

Here is a closer view.

Here are the larger pieces we found in the bag.

Here is a closeup of a piece of metal strapping we found in the bag.

Here are the contents of the bag sorted into large, medium, small, and too small/chips/dust.

Other Photos


Photo of UPC Code

Contact Information

Royal Oak Enterprises, LLC
1 Royal Oak Avenue
Roswell, GA  30076

Phone: 877-402-5185


About This Review

If you are unfamiliar with our testing procedures, you may wish to read How We Review Lump Charcoal before reading this review. Also, you can read How We Score Lump Charcoal to learn about our scoring system.

Prices listed in our reviews are current as of the date of the review. We do not attempt to keep these prices current.

The conclusions and final rating given any charcoal are based upon the opinion of the author. We recommend that you use our rating only as a guide. You should read the entire review and decide what is important to you in making any buying decision.

Performance ratings are designated with stars, 1 star being the worst and 5 stars being the best:

= Performance is Far Below Average
= Performance is Below Average
= Performance is Average
= Performance is Above Average
= Performance is Far Above Average

Images which can be viewed at a larger size have a small magnifying glass icon at the bottom right corner. Click on the icon to display the image in a new larger window. If you wish to ensure that you are seeing photographs the same way that we are seeing them, we recommend that you calibrate your monitor to a PC-normal gamma of 2.2. You should be able to see the difference between blocks A, B and C below, as well as the difference between blocks 3, 4 and 5.


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