Real Montana Premium Cherry Lump Charcoal       Home       Lump Review Index      

Quick Stats
Date Of Review: October, 2016
Purchased From: Provided by manufacturer
Date Purchased: October, 2016
Price: $30.00
Advertised Weight: 20 pounds
Type of Wood: Cherry
Strange Material: None
Scrap Lumber: None
Smell: Mild and pleasant
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


First a word about this review. We have made a change to how we present the photos of the contents of the bag. You should notice the image of a magnifying glass in the lower right hand corner of these photos, indicating that you can click on the photo to see a larger version of the photo. We have now added larger versions that are 1700 pixels wide for your viewing pleasure. The larger version will open in a new tab on your browser. Just close the tab to return to the review.

Now, on to Real Montana Premium Cherry Lump Charcoal. First, since we have been including maps to show you where various foreign-sourced charcoals come from, we thought we would include a map to show you where Hamilton, Montana is. You are welcome. (We didn't know where it was until we looked.)

Next, note the word "Premium" in the name of the charcoal. Real Montana is now selling different types of charcoal denoted as "Premium", "#1" and "#2". The difference is in the sorting by size. You can see the rough difference between the three grades in this photo which we shamelessly borrowed (and doctored) from the Real Montana website:

Real Montana describes the three grades like this:

"Generally speaking I state the Premium is around 3-4 inch, #1 is 2-3 inch and #2 is 1-2 inch. Personal recommendations are Premium for smoking, #1 for fine grilling but may be used for smoking with shorter burn time and less flavor, #2 I recommend for every day grilling, burgers and dogs etc."
So, the charcoal we are reviewing is their premium grade of cherry lump charcoal. As you can see in the photo below, the charcoal comes in a box containing 20 pounds of charcoal. The box is approximately 24" x 16" x 10". When we dumped it out for sorting, we found no scrap, no funny stuff that doesn't belong in charcoal, and no uncarbonized wood. Here's how the charcoal sorted out into large, medium, small, and chips and dust:

Large 3.0 pounds 14.1%
Medium 10.9 pounds 52.1%
Small 5.4 pounds 25.6%
Chips/Dust 1.7 pounds 8.2%

Total 21.0 pounds

As you can see, we got 21 pounds of charcoal in the box, with only 8.2% chips and dust. This percentage is low compared to other brands of charcoal. And two-thirds of the box were medium and large pieces of charcoal. Considering that the charcoal was packed in a box with no additional padding, it did quite well during its journey from Hamilton, Montana to Raleigh, North Carolina.

In our chimney starter lighting test, Real Montana Premium Cherry was extremely easy to light, taking only 2.5 sheets of newspaper to start. This is very low compared to other brands of charcoal. While the charcoal was starting in the chimney starter, there was no sparking or popping. The smell of the charcoal as it lights is rather mild and pleasant.

In our maximum temperature test, Real Montana Premium Cherry burned at 1099 degrees, which is very high compared to other brands. As the cooker heated up, the fire spread rapidly and there again was no sparking or popping.

Next, in our burn time test Real Montana Premium Cherry burned a very long time, its burntime being very high compared to other brands. When lighting the charcoal for the burn test with a MAP-Pro torch, there was almost no sparking, and no popping whatsoever.

As for the smoke produced while the charcoal is burning, we'll refer back to our reviews of Real Montana Apple lump charcoal and Real Montana Maple lump charcoal. We found both of these charcoals to put out a fair amount of smoke even after the fire has settled in to a steady state. This is deliberate in order to have charcoal that gives you smoke flavor without having to add chunks or chips. Well, with Real Montana Premium Cherry charcoal, the smoke is there all throughout the burn giving you a nice flavor of cherry smoke. We found it to be quite pleasant. We smoked some lamb ribs and they had just the right amount of smoke flavor that we personally look for.

And finally, the amount of ash produced by this charcoal was low compared to other brands we have tested.

So, where do you get this great charcoal? You can buy it from a handful of markets in the Northwest (listed on their website) or you can order online from their website by sending them an email using their contact form. They are also working on getting their products into a national grocery chain in the future.

Now for the bottom line. Real Montana Premium Cherry lump charcoal has a great distribution of sizes, easy to light, burns very hot, and it burns a long time with a low amount of ash. On top of all that, it produces a very pleasing smoke. It would be hard to ask for much more. It gets our Highly 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


Statements From The Bag


Lighting Instructions


Safety Instructions


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 rather unique piece. You can see the distinctive bark of a cherry tree.

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

Other Photos

This is how the bags arrived.

Photo of UPC Code

Contact Information

109 Daly Ave
Hamilton, Montana  59840



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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