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  • Post #31 - July 13th, 2004, 8:51 am
    Post #31 - July 13th, 2004, 8:51 am Post #31 - July 13th, 2004, 8:51 am
    I've also found nails, rocks, pieces of palletized wood, which is not good as pallets are treated with a mildew/rod inhibiting chemical. Once I even found part of a squirrel in my lump, at least I hope it was squirrel. <smile>


    Gary,

    Some guys have all the luck.I've neaver found any"Prizes"
    in my coal(other than the occasional stray stocking) until this weekend. I was down at Berger Brother's for my usual. Paid the guy behind the glass and wandered out to the storage area to do a little pokin' round and wait for my order.

    Next thing I know the warehouse guy calls me over and starts whispering in my ear about this new charcoal from South America thats made from rare rainforest hardwoods and marketed under the name Jivaro Brand.

    Saturday as I was loading the smoker I was shocked to find a hairy lump in the bottom of the bag.

    He gave his life so that others may cook.

    Image

    Apparently the victim of an industrial accident this poor fellow now dangles from my rear view mirror.
  • Post #32 - July 13th, 2004, 11:17 pm
    Post #32 - July 13th, 2004, 11:17 pm Post #32 - July 13th, 2004, 11:17 pm
    JSM wrote:Apparently the victim of an industrial accident this poor fellow now dangles from my rear view mirror.

    John,

    You may have found Jimmy Hoffa. :lol:

    Enjoy,
    Gary
  • Post #33 - August 18th, 2004, 8:42 am
    Post #33 - August 18th, 2004, 8:42 am Post #33 - August 18th, 2004, 8:42 am
    HI,

    Yesterday, I had enough Berger charcoal to fill slightly more than 1/2 way up the ring of my Weber Smokey Mountain. I went to a Mexican fruit and vegetable stand to buy Mesquite wood charcoal. The 8.5 lb bag cost $5, most of it was small broken pieces and stuff almost like dust. It underlined the value of buying Berger only, which hard large chunks at the bottom of the bag.

    I know, I know I should have listened to Gary, it saves one lots of time and trouble.

    Berger Brother's Charcoal
    1176 N Cherry Ave
    Chicago, IL 6062
    312-642-4238
    Lump Charcoal (Mon-Fri: 7:30 - 4)

    The only negative about Berger's is their working hours. I guess I will have to go after breakfast sometime.
    Last edited by Cathy2 on August 18th, 2004, 10:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #34 - August 18th, 2004, 9:28 am
    Post #34 - August 18th, 2004, 9:28 am Post #34 - August 18th, 2004, 9:28 am
    Cathy

    Cut some of the time and distance off your charcoal journey and go to Farmers Garden Market on Lawrence Av. 2 blocks east of Western. 40 lb. bags of lump (from Berger) for about the same price as Berger with no assertainable differance. As far as the small pieces and dust are concerned just toss em on an allready burning fire and they'll burn quite nicely.

    John
  • Post #35 - August 18th, 2004, 1:35 pm
    Post #35 - August 18th, 2004, 1:35 pm Post #35 - August 18th, 2004, 1:35 pm
    I'll second the Weber chimney recs. For a while I couldn't remember what kind my wife bought, but when the picture was posted, I recognized it.

    About 3 sheets of newspapaer. (I collect op-ed pieces by Dennis Byrne and Kathleen Parker in the Trib. Those burn great. :wink:)

    When I first used the hardwood, I was taken by surprise at how hot and fast they burned. Now I'm used to it. I just have a little hibachi - but I close off the holes in the base a bit and bank the fire a bit by using the lid after achieving good surface char and all is well. I was even able to slow roast some sweet onions without incinerating them, and sear some zucchini slices without ruining them.

    I first used the Trader Joe's. Then a friend bought a bag of something from Milwaukee and I haven't noticed any performance difference between them.
    "Strange how potent cheap music is."
  • Post #36 - August 18th, 2004, 1:51 pm
    Post #36 - August 18th, 2004, 1:51 pm Post #36 - August 18th, 2004, 1:51 pm
    mrbarolo wrote:About 3 sheets of newspapaer. (I collect op-ed pieces by Dennis Byrne and Kathleen Parker in the Trib. Those burn great. :wink:)


    I find Charles Krauthammer's pieces lend a nice herbal touch.

    A
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #37 - August 18th, 2004, 2:52 pm
    Post #37 - August 18th, 2004, 2:52 pm Post #37 - August 18th, 2004, 2:52 pm
    Antonius: "I find Charles Krauthammer's pieces lend a nice herbal touch."

    There's a fine line between grassiness and gasiness.
    "Strange how potent cheap music is."
  • Post #38 - April 2nd, 2005, 10:46 am
    Post #38 - April 2nd, 2005, 10:46 am Post #38 - April 2nd, 2005, 10:46 am
    Now back to wood charcoal:

    Last fall, I was starting a cook when realized I was not in a position to refill the ring. I visited Sunset Foods to find stacks of charcoal briquettes. I then moved a sign to see what may be behind, gold! Or at least 100% wood hardwood charcoal from a new source and only one bag left.

    For those living directly north, the vendor may be of interest:

    Grove Charcoal
    Box 386
    Cedar Grove, WI 53013

    Sold retail, the price was not as good as Bergers, but in a pinch it was good enough.

    Just before Easter I was at Sunset Foods, they had 10 and 20 pound bags of wood charcoal. Again, not as good a deal as Berger, but available without a trip to the city either.

    Sunset Foods
    1812 Green Bay Road
    Highland Park, IL 60035
    http://www.sunsetfoods.com
    847-432-5500

    Sunset Foods
    109 West Washington Avenue
    Lake Bluff, IL 60044
    847-234-9020

    Sunset Foods
    1127 Church Street
    Northbrook, IL 60062
    847-272-7700

    Sunset Foods
    1451 Peterson Road
    Libertyville, IL 60048
    847-573-9570

    During the summer, I can acquire mesquite wood charcoal from Berger's or at:

    Mike's Farm Stand
    2070 Green Bay Road
    Highland Park, IL 60035
    847-433-7532

    My overall preference is to go to Berger's (address mentioned earlier in this thread) for price and quality.
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #39 - April 2nd, 2005, 10:53 am
    Post #39 - April 2nd, 2005, 10:53 am Post #39 - April 2nd, 2005, 10:53 am
    As far as the small pieces and dust are concerned just toss em on an allready burning fire and they'll burn quite nicely.


    From unfortunate experience I can say that this is not quite true. I mean, it's probably true in small quantities, sure. But get too much dust in and you will start to obstruct airflow (much like all those people who build a fireplace fire with three logs fitted tightly together, then wonder why the fire won't catch). After learning this the hard way, I no longer pour from the bag when it gets down a bit, I tear the bag down and scoop out the better stuff, as messy as that is.
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  • Post #40 - April 2nd, 2005, 11:25 am
    Post #40 - April 2nd, 2005, 11:25 am Post #40 - April 2nd, 2005, 11:25 am
    Hi,

    I agree with your opinion about smothering the fire or at least compromising its efficiency.

    I was smoking a pork shoulder when I learned I didn't have enough wood charcoal to fill a 2nd ring. I did pour the wood dust on the fire to finish filling the 1st ring. When time came to restoke the charcoal, I found my initial wood charcoal was partially consumed. I felt it was directly caused by this charcoal dust smothering the fire by restricting airflow.

    Further, where I estimated I need 7-9 hours to cook, it drove the time up to 12 hours. So the dust ate into my time; which is the higher cost.

    Live and learn!
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #41 - April 2nd, 2005, 11:48 am
    Post #41 - April 2nd, 2005, 11:48 am Post #41 - April 2nd, 2005, 11:48 am
    I'm sorry to report that the price of charcoal at Bergers has gone up. It's still a pretty good deal, but not as much of a deal as it used to be. 20# bags now are just over $10 incl tax. The owner told me that the increase was due to increased trucking charges to get the charcoal delivered from where it is made which, BTW, is somewhere near St. Louis. He went on to say that not only the price of fuel, but also more restrictive government regulations pertaining to the number of miles in a day that a driver can go contributed to the increase. Of course, if Berger is as large a distributor as they appear to be, the price increase will probably begin to appear on the retailers' shelves as well.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #42 - November 4th, 2005, 9:36 am
    Post #42 - November 4th, 2005, 9:36 am Post #42 - November 4th, 2005, 9:36 am
    LTH,

    Another addition to the lump charcoal data base that will be of particular interest to Oak Park LTHers is Gilchrist Hardware, a smallish, but well stocked, old school (read knowledgeable, friendly service) hardware store.

    Gilchrist stocks lump charcoal in both 20 and 40 lb bags, has chunks of hickory, mesquite and apple on hand. I picked up a nice size box of apple chunks for $20. Mesquite and hickory are available in smaller quantities.

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Gilchrist Hardware
    513 W Madison St
    Oak Park, IL 60302
    708-386-4982
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #43 - November 4th, 2005, 10:03 am
    Post #43 - November 4th, 2005, 10:03 am Post #43 - November 4th, 2005, 10:03 am
    For those located in the far western suburbs here are a few reliable choices for lump.

    Blue Goose Super Market
    164 S 1st St, St Charles, IL
    Phone: (630) 584-0900
    (Grove brand)

    SAVWAY FINE WINES & SPIRITS-GENEVA
    515 W. State St. Geneva, IL
    Phone: 630-232-7707
    (Lazzari brand)

    Gordon Food Service (open to the public)
    4101 Healthway Dr, Aurora, IL
    Phone: (630) 375-9017
    (Royal Oak brand)

    Elburn Market
    128 N Main St, Elburn, IL
    Phone: (630) 365-6461
    (Lazarri and generic brand)
  • Post #44 - November 6th, 2005, 1:31 pm
    Post #44 - November 6th, 2005, 1:31 pm Post #44 - November 6th, 2005, 1:31 pm
    I've alwayed used a heating element to get my grill started. Works great, and there's no chemicals, but then, I'm not nearly as hard core a BBQ nut as ya'll.

    As an aside, I wonder if you could use liquor to light your charcoal. It certainly wouldn't have any harmful chemicals (except maybe anti-freeze, unless you consider everything in the bottle to be a harmful chemical), and, depending on what you use, might add an interesting to flavor to whatever you're grilling. (You could probably achieve the same effect by placing the liquor in your water pan (maybe), and it would be pretty expensive, just some idle musing.)
  • Post #45 - December 17th, 2005, 1:26 pm
    Post #45 - December 17th, 2005, 1:26 pm Post #45 - December 17th, 2005, 1:26 pm
    Hi

    Since my work hours exactly coincide with Berger Brothers' open hours, I think I may never get there. Any other suggestions for Chicago dwellers? Especially this time of year (winter)? I know I can get regular non-matchlight Kingsford briquettes right now at Home Depot, but I'd rather get hardwood lump stuff.

    I'm close to Damen/Fullerton/Elston.

    Thanks!
    Leek

    SAVING ONE DOG may not change the world,
    but it CHANGES THE WORLD for that one dog.
    American Brittany Rescue always needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog. http://www.americanbrittanyrescue.org
  • Post #46 - December 17th, 2005, 1:41 pm
    Post #46 - December 17th, 2005, 1:41 pm Post #46 - December 17th, 2005, 1:41 pm
    leek wrote:Hi

    Since my work hours exactly coincide with Berger Brothers' open hours, I think I may never get there. Any other suggestions for Chicago dwellers? Especially this time of year (winter)? I know I can get regular non-matchlight Kingsford briquettes right now at Home Depot, but I'd rather get hardwood lump stuff.

    I'm close to Damen/Fullerton/Elston.

    Thanks!


    Whole Foods carries hardwood briquettes, or you can make a trip up north to Lincolnwood Produce, who carries lump charcoal in 20 & 40 lb. bags. I'm almost certain that they get it from Berger Bros. because the brands they carry often change and seem to more or less coincide with the charcoal that I buy at Berger Bros at any given time. Call ahead to confirm what's in stock.

    Lincolnwood Produce
    7175 N. Lincoln Ave
    Lincolnwood, IL
    847-329-0600
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #47 - December 17th, 2005, 2:20 pm
    Post #47 - December 17th, 2005, 2:20 pm Post #47 - December 17th, 2005, 2:20 pm
    Since you're close to the expressway (or for anyone else with a similar question who lives west) you could hop on the Eisenhower and come out to the the Ace Hardware on Madison St. in Forest Park. They always have 20 and 40 pound bags of Cowboy Brand lump charcoal up on their old-fashioned mezzanine.

    WAAAAY cheaper than Whole Foods.

    Schauer's Ace Hardware
    7449 Madison St.
    Forest Park
    708 366-1100
  • Post #48 - December 17th, 2005, 4:08 pm
    Post #48 - December 17th, 2005, 4:08 pm Post #48 - December 17th, 2005, 4:08 pm
    Hi,

    While I go to Berger Brothers for my hardwood charcoal, I did notice Trader Joes sells hardwood charcoal. I imagine it is not as competitively priced as Berger's but in a snap it is available.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #49 - December 17th, 2005, 4:16 pm
    Post #49 - December 17th, 2005, 4:16 pm Post #49 - December 17th, 2005, 4:16 pm
    Leek wrote:I'm close to Damen/Fullerton/Elston.


    Farmer's Garden Market on Lawrence and Oakley (just east of Western) carries lump charcoal and is open on the weekends.

    JSM
  • Post #50 - December 17th, 2005, 5:07 pm
    Post #50 - December 17th, 2005, 5:07 pm Post #50 - December 17th, 2005, 5:07 pm
    Menard's on Clybourn (2600 block) carries lump charcoal in season. Whether they have any left now is an open question. They also carry Royal Oak briquettes, which are somewhat more woody than Kingsford.
  • Post #51 - December 20th, 2005, 2:26 pm
    Post #51 - December 20th, 2005, 2:26 pm Post #51 - December 20th, 2005, 2:26 pm
    Early this afternoon the Menard's on Clybourn had a good supply of Cowboy lump charcoal at $4.97 per 8.8 pound bag. Two displays, one of which also has a few bags of Royal Oak briquettes. Off to the left a little way down the aisle directly in from the entrance.

    The bag I bought did not appear to have a crushing problem, but I won't know for sure until I get down a ways.
  • Post #52 - December 20th, 2005, 6:05 pm
    Post #52 - December 20th, 2005, 6:05 pm Post #52 - December 20th, 2005, 6:05 pm
    ekreider wrote:Early this afternoon the Menard's on Clybourn had a good supply of Cowboy lump charcoal at $4.97 per 8.8 pound bag. Two displays, one of which also has a few bags of Royal Oak briquettes. Off to the left a little way down the aisle directly in from the entrance.


    Augh, I was just there on Sunday, and so frazzled from all the other big box places I had to go, I didn't find the charcoal :( must not have looked hard enough.
    Leek

    SAVING ONE DOG may not change the world,
    but it CHANGES THE WORLD for that one dog.
    American Brittany Rescue always needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog. http://www.americanbrittanyrescue.org
  • Post #53 - December 20th, 2005, 8:03 pm
    Post #53 - December 20th, 2005, 8:03 pm Post #53 - December 20th, 2005, 8:03 pm
    May be hard to hear, it was for me initially, but you know this to be true. Weber Grills are very ugly. They are. They get very dirty and dont work all that well.

    i didnt think there was an alternative. But I finally found it: Check out the reviews on this product. It is amazing.

    http://www.gourmetgrills.net/
  • Post #54 - December 21st, 2005, 10:40 am
    Post #54 - December 21st, 2005, 10:40 am Post #54 - December 21st, 2005, 10:40 am
    Snark wrote:May be hard to hear, it was for me initially, but you know this to be true. Weber Grills are very ugly. They are. They get very dirty and dont work all that well.

    i didnt think there was an alternative. But I finally found it: Check out the reviews on this product. It is amazing.

    http://www.gourmetgrills.net/


    "Weber Grills are very ugly"
    Well that is rather subjective. I find them neither ugly or beautiful, merely acceptable in their "form follows function" design. If I want beauty I'd fork over the $$ for a Kamado Grill (a #9 in cobalt blue, please, Santa).

    "They get very dirty and dont work all that well"

    I'm not sure what you mean by the first part of that. The inside gets dirty? Certainly an issue with any charcoal burning grill, no? My grill has the rotating assembly at the bottom of the grill which allows some back & forth movement to cause the accumulated ash to fall through the vents to the "ash-catcher" (no doubt patented) below. That pan can then be removed and the contents dumped into a trash bag. As for the rest of the interior I don't find it especially 'dirty', certainly no more so than any other charcoal grill. And I can't see how the outside of a Weber would get any dirtier than any other grill nor how that would compromise the cooking capabilities of the grill.

    As to the second part - could you better clarify how it doesn't work very well? Mine works just fine for all manner of grilling - both direct and indirect, though I do use my WSM for smoking.

    Of course none of this has much to do with where to purchase charcoal, though I find that the Berger Bro's charcoal burns equally well in the WSM and my kettle.
    Objects in mirror appear to be losing.
  • Post #55 - December 22nd, 2005, 7:41 pm
    Post #55 - December 22nd, 2005, 7:41 pm Post #55 - December 22nd, 2005, 7:41 pm
    Snark wrote:May be hard to hear, it was for me initially, but you know this to be true. Weber Grills are very ugly. They are. They get very dirty and dont work all that well. /

    Ugly?

    Weber Grills are a pretty girl, beautiful sunset and loveable puppy all rolled up in a user friendly package that cooks your dinner.

    They get dirty?

    So get out the hose and clean the darn thing. ;)

    Weber grills don't work well?

    Weber grills are the gold standard just on venting/air flow alone, not to mention ease of use, durability and a 100 other pluses.

    For sheer beauty I'm with Kman on the Kamado's, though if I was going to spend $1000 or so on a charcoal grill, as opposed to a smoker, I go with either a Klose or Tejas for sheer overkill.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #56 - December 22nd, 2005, 7:43 pm
    Post #56 - December 22nd, 2005, 7:43 pm Post #56 - December 22nd, 2005, 7:43 pm
    G Wiv wrote:
    Snark wrote:May be hard to hear, it was for me initially, but you know this to be true. Weber Grills are very ugly. They are. They get very dirty and dont work all that well. /

    Ugly?

    Weber Grills are a pretty girl, beautiful sunset and loveable puppy all rolled up in a user friendly package that cooks your dinner.

    They get dirty?

    So get out the hose and clean the darn thing. ;)

    Weber grills don't work well?

    Weber grills are the gold standard just on venting/air flow alone, not to mention ease of use, durability and a 100 other pluses.

    For sheer beauty I'm with Kman on the Kamado's, though if I was going to spend $1000 or so on a charcoal grill, as opposed to a smoker, I go with either a Klose or Tejas for sheer overkill.

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Have to agree Gary..i would not cook on any other charcaol grill..i fact my wber has been running flawlessly in this extreme cold since i really dont care to do the low and slow on the smoker in this cold stuff..been there..done that.:)
  • Post #57 - May 5th, 2006, 6:18 am
    Post #57 - May 5th, 2006, 6:18 am Post #57 - May 5th, 2006, 6:18 am
    LTH,

    Another addition to the lump charcoal data base is Russo Ace, which is currently selling 20-lb bags of Cowboy brand lump charcoal for $6.99 and WSM's for $189.

    They also have Weber charcoal kettles in stock. In fact, I just bought a green 22.5-incher to replace my gray one that had the audacity to wear out in only 18-years.

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Russo Ace Hardware
    5848 W Montrose
    Chicago, IL
    773-777-2606
    Ask for Greg Fraizer
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #58 - May 5th, 2006, 7:47 am
    Post #58 - May 5th, 2006, 7:47 am Post #58 - May 5th, 2006, 7:47 am
    I've been a little leery of buying Cowboy charcoal ever since the good folks over at the Naked Whiz's Lump Charcoal Database found some plywood in a bag. Not good.

    Unfortunately a huge amount of the hardwood for sale in the region is Cowboy, since Home Depot and Whole Foods both have their own labels on Cowboy charcoal.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #59 - May 5th, 2006, 8:26 am
    Post #59 - May 5th, 2006, 8:26 am Post #59 - May 5th, 2006, 8:26 am

    Ed,

    Over the years I've found a few odds and ends in bags of lump, though overall what I've bought from Berger Bros has been very good quality. Haven't used Cowboy much, though the word on the BBQ lists is it's a good product.

    I only bought one bag of Cowboy at Russo, I have a couple of hundred pounds of Berger lump in my garage at the moment, and will let you know if there are any foreign objects in with the Cowboy lump.

    Naked Whiz's Lump Charcoal Database is an excellent web site, very well done.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #60 - May 5th, 2006, 11:07 am
    Post #60 - May 5th, 2006, 11:07 am Post #60 - May 5th, 2006, 11:07 am
    G Wiv wrote:

    Ed,


    I only bought one bag of Cowboy at Russo, I have a couple of hundred pounds of Berger lump in my garage at the moment, and will let you know if there are any foreign objects in with the Cowboy lump.


    Enjoy,
    Gary


    I've seen that pile of lump charcoal. Its 6' x 8' x 5'. I think it would cover a medium sized car and probably weighs as much as a BMW :!:
    Bruce
    Plenipotentiary
    bruce@bdbbq.com

    Raw meat should NOT have an ingredients list!!

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