Full Circle Lump Charcoal
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Quick Stats
Date Of Review: June, 2008
Purchased From: Lowes Foods
Date Purchased: May, 2008
Price: $5.29
Weight: 8.8 pounds
Burn Time:
Ash Production:
Type of Wood: US Hardwoods
Strange Material?: None
Scrap Lumber Pieces?: None
Smell: The typical American hardwood smoke
Country of Origin: USA

Quick Links
Other Information: Click Here
Unusual Or Unique Statements: Click Here
Statements From The Bag: Click Here
Lighting Instructions: 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


03/15/09 UPDATE: Another reader of ours has been able to confirm that this charcoal is "100% hardwoods from the Ozark Mountain area in the states of Arkansas and Missouri."
We were alerted to this charcoal by a sharp-eyed reader who discovered it for the first time in Lowe's Foods. While we purchased our samples at Lowe's Foods, here is a link to a webpage on the Full Circle Foods website listing the various chains that carry Full Circle Foods: Full Circle Food outlets In our Quick Stats section, we say that the country of origin and type of wood is unknown, but we thought we would allow ourselves a bit of speculative luxury and suggest that this charcoal MAY be manufactured by Royal Oak. The following was printed on the bag:

We will leave it up to you to decide how accurate this guess might be! But we digress. When we opened the bag for sorting, we didn't find any scrap or really funny stuff. There was one small twig with leaves attached. Upon sorting the contents, however, we found a pretty disappointing distribution of sizes. Just a few large and medium pieces, a whole lot of small pieces, and 15.6% chips and dust, which ranks high compared to other lump charcoals. As you can also see from the following table, the bag contained a little over half a pound more charcoal than advertised:

Large 0.6 pounds 6.6%
Medium 0.8 pounds 8.7%
Small 6.5 pounds 69.1%
Chips/Dust 1.5 pounds 15.6%

Total 9.4 pounds

We opened a second bag (we had to in order to get enough charcoal that we needed for our starting and maximum temperature tests) and the distribution was a bit better, with more medium sized pieces. But as you can see below, the second bag also contained a monstrous piece of uncarbonized bark.

In our chimney starter test, this charcoal was pretty easy to start, taking 3 sheets of newspaper to get going, which ranks low (low is good) compared to other charcoals. The smell of the smoke as the charcoal starts is like your typical American hardwood charcoal smoke. There was no popping and very little sparking while the charcoal burned in the chimney starter.

Next in our maximum temperature test, the charcoal burned at 1040 degrees which is very high compared to other charcoals. Again, while burning furiously, there was no popping and very little sparking. When using a MAPP torch to light the charcoal, there was some sparking and popping, so be careful when using any sort of torch to light this charcoal. We also noticed that when the charcoal was igniting, the fire was relatively quick to spread to the unlit charcoal.

Finally, in our burntime test this charcoal burned a long time ranking very high among all the charcoals we have tested. The ash production was low compared to other charcoals.

So, what rating to give this charcoal? It's easy to start, burns hot, burns very long and produces a relatively low amount of ash, all at a very reasonable price. The only real knock on this charcoal is that the size distribution is rather poor. Over 15% is unusable and the majority of the bag is small pieces. As a result Full Circle Lump Charcoal misses out on our Highly Recommended rating but does earn the Recommended rating.

To the left is the rating that our readers have given this charcoal. If you have used this charcoal and would like to rate it and leave your comments, Click Here

To view reader ratings of all brands, Click Here.

Other Information


Unusual or Unique Statements


Statements From The Bag

"All Natural", "No Chemicals Added", "Return To a Natural Way of Living", "All Hardwood", "Ready to Cook 15 Minutes", "Questions? Comments? Visit us at www.fullcirclefoods.com", "Come Full Circle™"

Lighting Instructions

"Lighting Instuctions:
For best results, start your fire 15 minutes before cooking.

Lighter Fluid Method
1. Pour desired amount of Full Circle™ All Hardwood Lump Charcoal into a small pile. Lightly spray with lighter fluid.
2. Allow the lighter fluid to absorb (approx. 1 minute). light several pieces of charcoal throughout the pile.
3. Once theFull Circle™ All Hardwood Lump Charcoal is covered in ashes (approx. 15 minutes), spread the charcoal around. This ensures even heating.

Optional Light Method--Newspaper
1. Open the air vents and place several sheets of crumpled newspaper under the bottom grate.
2. Add more Lump Charcoal on top of the grate, taking care to leave space between the paper and the charcoal (approx. 2 inches).
3. Light the paper. Begin cooking when the coals are covered in ashes (approx. 10 to 15 minutes). Add more Lump Charcoal as needed.

Optional Light Method--Charcoal Chimney
1. Crumple several full-size sheets of newspaper. Curl the paper into a doughnut shape leaving a hole in the center.
2. Place the paper in the bottom of the starter and fill the top with Lump Charcoal.
3. Light the paper.
4. Let the Lump Charcoal become lightly covered in ash and the flames to does down. Spread the charcoal over the grill and begin to cook.

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

Photos Of Contents

This is the contents of the bag. Those are 1 inch squares on the measuring bar.

Here is a closer view.

Here are the larger pieces we found in the bag.

Here are the uncarbonized pieces we found in the bag and a bit of dead leaves.

This monstrosity was in one of the bags! Just about 12" long, it was!

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

Other Photos


Photo of UPC Code

Here is a photo of the UPC code on the bag:

Contact Information

Distributed by Topco Associates, LLC
7711 Gross Point Road
Skokie, IL 60077


Also here is a link to a webpage on the Full Circle Foods website listing the various chains that carry Full Circle Foods: Full Circle Food outlets

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

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