Masterbuilt
Lump Charcoal

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Quick Stats
Date Of Review: April, 2021
Purchased From: Walmart
Date Purchased: April, 2021
Price: $14.97
Advertised Weight: 16 pounds
Type of Wood: Guayacan, Guayaibi, and White Quebracho
Strange Material: Root ball, rock, string
Scrap Lumber: None
Smell: Pleasant moderate woodsy smoke
Country of Origin: China (See review)


Key Performance Indicators
Chips and Dust:
Lighting:
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


Commentary

We saw this lump on a few Facebook groups which indicated it could be found at Walmart. Sure enough, they had quite a bit, so we made the buy. There was nothing on the bag to indicate its country of origin, so we shot off an email to Masterbuilt asking that question as well as what types of wood it was made from. Their reply was fascinating:
"Thank you for your interest in our charcoal. The charcoal is crafted in China and it is made from a blend of hardwood - Guayacan, Guayaibi, Mistal, and White Quebracho."
If you are a regular reader of our reviews, you might recall that Kamado Joe Big Block lump charcoal is made from this exact same blend of Argentinian hardwoods. Since these species don't grow in China, we can only think that either Masterbuilt is confused, or they are shipping wood to China for processing and then shipping charcoal back to the US. In light of the fact that Masterbuilt has bought Kamado Joe, we think it far more likely that this is the same charcoal being sold by Kamado Joe and is being made in Argentina from Argentinian woods and then shipped to the US.

So, that said, we'll assume this lump comes to us from Argentina. For those of you who are geographically challenged, we have conveniently provided a maps of China and South America showing their location.

So, this lump charcoal appears to be made from a blend of three different South American woods. According to the Kamado Joe web page and the response from Masterbuilt, the three species are Guayacan, Guayaibi, and White Quebracho. (By the way, both Kamado Joe and Masterbuilt say their charcoal includes a species of wood called "Mistal." We can find no evidence of any such tree or shrub and can only assume that they are just wrong.) 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

Cross section of Guayaibi


But enough with the geography and botany and charcoal mysteries Let's see how this charcoal performs in our customary tests. Our first procedure is to dump the charcoal out on the ground, look for funny stuff and then sort the charcoal into small, medium and large pieces, as well as chips and dust. Well, we did find a little bit of funny stuff including what appears to be a small root ball, a rock and some string. (You can see a photo down below.) When we sorted the charcoal, this is what we found:

Large 1.0 pounds 5.9%
Medium 6.1 pounds 37.6%
Small 7.2 pounds 44.5%
Chips/Dust 1.9 pounds 12.0%



Total 16.2 pounds

The distribution isn't all that bad, but it certainly could be better with more large and medium pieces. The 12% chips and dust by weight is Average compared to all other brands. (We have read that some people think this charcoal was designed for use in Masterbuilt's gravity feed cookers, hence the large amount of small pieces. It does say on the bag that it is the ideal charcoal for Masterbuilt Gravity Series Grill + Smoker.)

In our lighting test, it took 5 sheets of newspaper in a Weber chimney to get a fire established, which is High compared to all other brands. There was no sparking and popping while the charcoal was being started. The smell from the burning charcoal is a moderately strong but pleasant woodsy sort of smoke.

In our maximum temperature test, Masterbuilt charcoal really didn't burn all that hot. It could only get up to 800°F which is Average compared to all other brands. It's hot enough to get the job done for most cooking, but this charcoal struggles to get really high temperatures. While the fire was building for the test, the fire did spread moderately fast. While the charcoal was burning during the test, there was a small amount of sparking, but no popping.

Next, in our burn time test, this lump burned relatively long. The burn time was High compared to all other brands. When using a MAP/Pro torch to start the charcoal for the burn time test, there was a lot of sparking and a fair amount of popping. As always, exercise care when using a torch of any kind to start lump charcoal.

Finally, the ash production was Average compared to other brands of lump charcoal that we have tested.

So, we have a pretty average charcoal in Masterbuilt lump charcoal. Average amount of chips and dust, average maximum temperature and average ash production. While the burn time was better than average, the ease of lighting was below average. All in all, it's pretty average charcoal and that's the rating we give it. While it may be the ideal charcoal for use in Masterbuilt Gravity Series Grills/Smokers, it isn't that great for the rest of us.

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

None


Statements From The Bag

"Naturally Sourced — Carefully selected and fired in artisan style kilns"
"Hardwood Blend — Perfect hardwood blend for all temperature ranges and food types"
"Clean Burn — Clean burn for optimal charcoal flavor and performance"

"Ideal charcoal for Masterbuilt® Gravity Series™ Grill + Smoker"

"Learn more at Masterbuilt.COM", "100% Hardwood — Premium Handcrafted", "100% Premium Hardwood", "Naturally Sourced", "Fired in Artisan Kilns", "Clean Burn, Ultimate Flavor"


Lighting Instructions

"1. LOAD — Load up to 10lbs. of lump charcoal into the Gravityfed™ charcoal hopper.
 2. LIGHT — Use a Masterbuilt firestarter to ignite your charcoal.
 3. SET — Set your temperature on the digital control panel or smart device with the
               Masterbuilt App."


Safety Instructions

None


Unusual or Unique Statements

None


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 some "extras" found in the bag. From left to right, a root clump, a string,
and a rock. The vertical lines are 1/4" apart.


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


Other Photos

None


Photo of UPC Code


Contact Information

5032 Milgen Ct.
Columbus, GA  31907

Web: www.masterbuilt.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/masterbuilt


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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