Basque Sugar Maple Charcoal       Home       Lump Review Index      

Quick Stats
Date Of Review:September, 2015
Purchased From: Local Meat Shop
Date Purchased: May, 2015
Price: $22.95
Weight: 17.6 pounds
Type of Wood: Sugar Maple
Strange Material?: Bit of insulation
Scrap Lumber Pieces?: None
Smell: Very mild and pleasant
Country of Origin: Canada

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
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


You may be asking yourself if you haven't seen this charcoal somewhere before? We certainly were. A distributor sent this to us and cleared up the confusion. This is the same company that used to produce Nature's Own Basque Hardwood Lump Charcoal. It is now labeled and sold as Basque Sugar Maple Charcoal. From the distributor we found out that there are a few changes. We found milling scrap in the Nature's Own charcoal. However, we learn:
"This is no longer possible as they sold the lumber plant. There is an important distinction between Basques Charcoal and many American Lump manufacturers, Basques only uses logs to make their charcoal and no slab wood so you are getting the heart of the tree compared to the outer section of wood and some bark. Basques is also now Rainforest Alliance and FSC Certified."
As usual, the first thing we do is dump the entire contents of the bag out for sorting. As you can see in the following table, there were very few large and medium pieces, a very large amount of small pieces, and quite a large amount of chips and dust. The amount of chips and dust ranks high compared to all other lump charcoals we have tested:

Large 1.3 pounds 6.5%
Medium 1.4 pounds 12.5%
Small 12.5 pounds 64.9%
Chips/Dust 3.1 pounds 16.1%

Total 18.3 pounds

We would caution against too much concern regarding the size distribution. When we tested the original Nature's Own Basque charcoal, there were very good bags with lots of medium and large pieces, and there were bags that weren't so good with large amounts of small pieces. We also observed this same thing with Maple Leaf charcoal, which also contains a large amount of maple. Maple appears to produce more fragile charcoal than hickory and oak, and thus you often get bags like this one. If you like burning sugar maple lump charcoal, it's a small price to pay.

While sorting through the bag contents, as mentioned by the distributor, we found no milling scrap. There was a tiny amount of small uncarbonized pieces and we found one small piece of insulation in the bag.

In our chimney starter test, it took four sheets of newspaper to get the charcoal going, which is average compared to all other charcoals. There was no sparking or popping and the smell of the charcoal as it starts up is very mild. In our maximum temperature test, the charcoal burned at 1075°F which is very high compared to other charcoals. Again there was no sparking and popping and the smell of the smoke was again mild and pleasant. The fire spread relatively quickly and the charcoal came up to its maximum temperature in a very short time.

When we lit the charcoal with a MAP-Pro torch for our burn time test, there was very little sparking and again the fire spread relatively quickly. The charcoal burn time was very high compared to other charcoals and the amount of ash produced per hour of burntime was very low.

All in all, except for the size distribution of pieces, this charcoal excels in most categories. It burns almost forever with very little ash, burns extremely hot when called upon, and has a very mild and pleasant smoke. We give it our Recommended rating.

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Other Information


Statements From The Bag

"Sugar Maple Charcoal", "100% Natural", "Chef's Choice",
"Helpful Hints
-Avoid using petroleum based (sic) since it may give off a bad smell.
-Add some charcoal from time to time in order to extend cooking duration.
-Charcoal is faster for cooking foods than briquets.
-Never use indoors without proper ventilation (See Warning).
-Store charcoal in a cool dry place."
"For more hints and tips, recipes and other suggestions, please consult our website at"

Lighting Instructions

"With a Charcoal Chimney
Place charcoal in chimney and place crumbled (sic) piece of paper at the bottom. Light the paper and your Basques Hardwood Charcoal should be ready when the fire reaches the top of your chimney.

With an electric starter
Place electric fire starter an (sic) bottom of grill and cover with Basque Hardwood Charcoal. Turn on your starter and your fire should be ready to use in about 10 to 15 minutes.

Another way
is to pile the hardwood charcoal in pyramid form. Place small crumpled balls of newspaper, twigs or natural fire starting cubes at the bottom of the pile. Light it in several places and use when charcoal is red hot."

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

Here is a closer view.

Here are the larger pieces we found in the bag.

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

Other Photos

We found a small piece of insulation in the bag.

Photo of UPC Code

Contact Information

Basques Hardwood Charcoal
121 St-Alphonse
Ste-Luce, Quebec
Canada G0K 1P0

(800) 463-0909

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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