Kamado Joe Big Block Lump Charcoal
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Quick Stats
Date Of Review: November, 2019
Purchased From: Amazon
Date Purchased: October, 2019
Price: $24.99
Advertised Weight: 20 pounds
Type of Wood: Guayacan, Guayaibi, Quebracho Blanco
Strange Material: None
Scrap Lumber: None
Smell: Moderately mild South American hardwood
Country of Origin: Argentina

Key Performance Indicators
Chips and Dust:
Max Temperature:
Burn Time:
Ash Production:

Quick Links
Other Information: Click Here
Statements From The Box: 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


This lump comes to us from Argentina according to the Kamado Joe web site. For those of you who are geographically challenged, we have conveniently provided a map of South America to the right which shows the location of Argentina.

Kamado Joe Big Block lump is made from a blend of three different South American woods, According to one of their ads on Amazon, the three species are Guayacan, Guayaibi, and White Quebracho. White Quebracho or more correctly, Quebracho Blanco is widely used as charcoal, since it does not produce sparks or large amounts of ash, and it burns strong and slowly. It is a very hard wood as evidenced by its name "Quebracho" which translates to "axe breaker."

We had a little trouble running down the other two species. There are five species of Guayacan. We suspect they are using Guaiacum officinale, common Lignum-vitae, as it is the only one of the five which grows in South America. Guayacan is used to make mallets used by woodcarvers to hammer their chisels. And as far as Guayaibi, we suspect they are using Cordia americana, commonly called Guayaibi Blanco. Guayaibi is sometimes used to make baseball bats. So, all three types of wood are known to be hard as rocks. And just for fun, here are some photographs of these three woods for you to enjoy:

Quebracho Blanco Tree

Quebracho Blanco Log Cross Section


Guaiacum officinale Tree

Guaiacum officinale Log Cross Section


Guayaibi Blanco Tree

But enough with the geography and botany. How does this blend of these three woods perform as lump charcoal? First of all, let's take a quick look at the packaging. We ordered the charcoal from Amazon and as you can see down below, it came in a bag that was contained inside of a Kamado Joe Big Block box. The box was sturdy and the charcoal arrived in great shape. The bag itself is rather interesting. We hope you can see in the following photo, that the bag is 4 layers. Working from the inside to the outside, there is a layer of brown paper, a layer of plastic, another layer of brown paper and then finally the outer orange paper layer which has the printing on it. We would think that the plastic layer is going to prevent any issues with high humidity or other types of moisture short of total immersion.

Next, let's take a look at the size distribution of this charcoal. Needless to say, the packing indicates that you should expect some pretty large pieces of lump with phrases like "World's Largest", "incredibly large" and "extra large." The bag is littered with references to large, XL, block etc. Fortunately, the overall contents of the bag don't really turn out to be quite what the language on the bag would lead you to believe. Why fortunately? Because contrary to what you see and hear a lot, huge logs of charcoal really aren't that desirable. Big chunks don't burn longer. 3 pounds of charcoal is just 3 pounds of charcoal, whether it's in a few large blocks or a lot of little chunks, especially in kamado-style cookers where the fire is contained and the airflow is controlled. And nothing but large chunks doesn't make for very good low and slow fires. What is actually the ideal bag of charcoal is a few large chunks, a lot of medium-sized chunks, and a minimal amount of small pieces, chips and dust. Which is pretty much what we got with this bag of Kamado Joe Big Block lump charcoal. Take at look at the distribution of sizes:

Large 3.5 pounds 17.2%
Medium 13.6 pounds 66.7%
Small 2.5 pounds 12.4%
Chips/Dust 0.8 pounds 3.7%

Total 20.4 pounds

In this photo down below of the bag sorted by size, you can see how small the amount of smaller pieces and chips/dust was. As far as the quantity of chips and dust go, the 3.7% by weight that we found was very low compared to all brands we have tested. And in this photo you can see the largest pieces in the bag, hardly the largest pieces we have ever seen.

Finally, we found no sawn pieces of lumber, no scrap wood, and no strange looking materials. We did find almost ½ pound of uncarbonized bark, but all in all, we were very pleased with what we got in this bag.

Next on to the lighting test, this lump took 5 sheets of newspaper to get it going, which is high compared to all other brands. There was no sparking or popping whatsoever and the smell of the smoke was reasonably mild, a typcial smell for South American hardwoods.

In our maximum temperature test, the charcoal was able to get up to 983°F, which is very high compared to all other brands. There was no sparking or popping as the fire grew, and the fire spread at a moderate pace. Again the smell was reasonably mild.

As far as burn time goes, Kamado Joe Big Block did reasonably well, just sneaking up into the high range compared to all other brands. We light the charcoal for the burntime test with a MAP-Pro™ torch which is prone to generating lots of sparks and popping. The amount of sparking and popping with this lump was relatively low, but be sure to use caution if you use a torch for lighting your lump charcoal.

And finally, the amount of ash produced by this charcoal was only average compared to all other brands.

All in all, we really like this charcoal. Although the ash production and difficulty in lighting were nothing to write home about, the burn time, maximum temperature and size distribution were all quite good. In fact, as far as we are concerned, the size distribution was about as good as we have ever seen. We also like being able to get this charcoal in boxes that protect the charcoal and are easier to store than just bags. So, we give this charcoal our Recommended rating.

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Other Information


Statements From The Box

"Big Block XL Lump Charcoal", "World's Largest", "All-Natural, Burns Longer and Cleaner", "Big Block", "Extra Large Premium Lump Charcoal"

"Our Big Block extra large lump charcoal is crafted by Argentinian artisans to create charcoal that's not only significantly larger, it's noticeably better—better burn times, better flavor, better smoke."

"Made From Argentinian Hardwood"

"Kamado Joe Big Block is made from an exclusive blend of Argentinian hardwood so dense it's called 'axe-breaker' by locals. The dense woods produce an incredibly large lump charcoal that burns longer and cleaner."

"Heavier and Larger", "The bigger and more dense your charcoal lumps the longer and better they'll burn", "Slower and Longer", "While typcially, smaller lump burns 8-10 hours, Big Block can burn 14-18 hours. It can also be reused up to three times."

"18 Hours of burn from single batch", "Learn more at kamadojoe.com"

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 are the pieces of uncarbonized bark that we found. It amounted to almost ½ pound.

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

Other Photos

This is how the box/bag arrived.

Photo of UPC Code

Contact Information

Kamado Joe
5032 Milgen Court
Columbus, GA  31907

Phone: 877-215-6299

Web: www.kamadojoe.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/KamadoJoe/

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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