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It is now full on BBQ and cookout season and for those of us who only use charcoal for grilling those burgers and dogs there are some decisions to be made. That decision is what type or brand of carbon do we chose to do the deed. I only use hardwood charcoal – Royal is my favorite but I like Cowboy brand lump charcoal as well. They light fast and burn hot (I use the chimney and paper method to light it). I can judge my sear and roast temps with this material well and I love the char and smoke flavors that impregnate every part of what you are cooking (and my clothes). I alway use the natural lump, never a briquette that is filled with chemicals (usually used as a binding agent) or lighter fluid. I have just discovered a new favorite sold by Trader Joe’s that is perfect for long roasts and rotisseries. The densely packed all natural hardwood briquette has all the qualities I love in the lump with an added bonus of a very long burn time. I roasted chicken on the rotisserie attachment of my weber for just about 60 minutes without having to add any charcoal to maintain heat. I highly recommend it for fires that you need to burn long and hot. Yet another reason to shop at Trader Joe’s.

Dadfilter is a new weekly column, which appears on Mondays, written by Matthew Hranek. He’s the author of the blog The William Brown Project, and a contributor to


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