The Good Charcoal Company
Lump Charcoal

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Quick Stats
Date Of Review: April, 2022
Purchased From: The Home Depot
Date Purchased: April, 2022
Price: $19.99
Advertised Weight: 15.4 pounds
Type of Wood: Acacia
Strange Material: Plastic strips
Scrap Lumber: None
Smell: Strong, tropical wood
Country of Origin: Namibia


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

This is another brand of charcoal that we discovered on Facebook in one of those "Anybody tried this?" threads. While the brand of charcoal is new to us, the type of wood it is made from is not.
We recently reviewed JURK charcoal which is made from a species of Acacia that comes from Brazil. This new charcoal from The Good Charcoal Company comes from a species of Acacia (Senegalia mellifera) that grows in Namibia. And according to the manufacturer,
"...the overgrowth of the Acacia through “bush encroachment” threatens open grasslands needed for people and wildlife alike. In fact, bush encroachment is also endangering the cheetahs in Namibia that need these grasslands to hunt."
thus making it a good candidate for making charcoal. Further, the Forest Stewardship Council says that charcoal made in Namibia from Acacia wood:
"...is known to be among the most ecologically produced charcoal in the world. No deforestation is involved. On the contrary, harvesting the encroaching bushes and trees helps restore the original ecological values of the soil. Clearing also helps wild animals roam freely in the veld and prevents fires. Jobs are created and the environment is preserved."
It's other uses include tannin for the production of soft leather, resins, thinners and adhesives, the timber for building materials,

Namibian Black-thorn (Senegalia mellifera)
and the pulp and wood chips are used to produce paper. We provide for your enlightenment, a map showing the location of Namibia above right. And to the right, we provide a photo of an acacia tree. But enough about acacia. Let's see what Acacia wood charcoal is like and how it performs.

As usual, our first step is to dump the bag out onto the ground and sort it into small, medium and large pieces, as well as the chips and dust at the bottom of the bag. We also look for scrap, uncarbonized wood, and other interesting objects. What a disappointing surprise! The entire bag was composed of small (1" to 2" pieces) and chips/dust. We opened a second bag, and it was the same. (We have also seen photos on Facebook of bags the look exactly like ours.) You expect to find the large pieces on top and the smaller pieces towards the bottom, but there simply were no large pieces in the bag. The top of the bag was exactly the same as the bottom. (And before the "it was mishandled by jack-booted thugs" crowd gets going, let us say that it was quite clear that this is not the result of mishandling. If a bag of charcoal has been mishandled, there will be tell-tale signs, and there were none. How we received the charcoal is more or less how the charcoal looked when it was bagged.)

We found no scrap, but we did find a number of plastic strips in the charcoal. Charcoal is typically bagged in large white bags made of woven plastic strips, much like the blue tarps you see in the hardware stores. It is shipped in bulk in these white plastic bags and then bagged in retail packaging at some other location. The Good Charcoal Company is allowing too much of this plastic to end up in their bags. If you do plan to use this charcoal, you would do well to sort through the bag and remove any plastic you find.

Since the entire bag consisted of small pieces, there wasn't much to sort, but here's the result of separating out the small pieces from the chips and dust:

Large 0.0 pounds 0.0%
Medium 0.0 pounds 0.0%
Small 12.5 pounds 80.1%
Chips/Dust 3.0 pounds 19.9%



Total 15.5 pounds

So, as you can see, nearly 20% of the bag was unusable chips and dust, which is High () compared to all other brands tested. The total weight of the charcoal was right at what was advertised.

Things seemed to look up when we conducted our lighting test. It only took 3 sheets of newspaper in a standard chimney starter to get this charcoal burning. This is Low () compared to all other brands. There was no sparking or popping at all, and the smell of the igniting charcoal was a fairly strong tropical wood smell.

So, on to the maximum temperature test. The Good Charcoal Company charcoal burned at 868°F, which just barely squeaks into the High () category. We have to think it might have burned a bit hotter if the charcoal was composed of larger pieces that would allow greater airflow. In any event, while burning there were no sparks or pops.

Next comes our burn time test. The burn time for this charcoal was Low () compared to all other brands. There were virtually no pops or sparks when lighting with a MAP/Pro torch except for one big pop which took us by surprise. In any event, always take appropriate precautions whenever lighting lump charcoal with any kind of torch.

Finally, we come to the ash production test. What word should we use to describe the amount of ash produced by this charcoal? Huge? Monstrous? Stunnig? Prodigious? Well, it was a whole lot. It was Very High () compared to all other brands. In fact, it was the second highest amount of ash produced by any lump charcoal we have ever tested. Another indication of how much ash was produced is that it completely blocked the air pathway in the bottom of our small Big Green Egg cooker. The only reason the fire didn't go out was because we use a blower-based temperature controller to conduct the test and the blower was able to force air into the fire.

So, what rating to give this charcoal? The negatives are the amount of plastic waste we found, the unbelievable amount of ash it produces, the miserable size distribution and the very low burn time. The only positives were that it was easy to light and it did manage to burn relatively hot. We are inclined to give it our Not Recommended rating. The only thing that saves it from that fate is that up to this point, we have only used Not Recommended for brands sold by fraudsters.

So, while their environmental impact is laudable, what they are to doing to help the cheetahs in Namibia is laudable and what they are doing to help local US communities is laudable, when rating a charcoal we have to look at how it compares with all other brands. And in this case, based on the performance indicators, it gets our Below Average 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

None


Statements From The Bag

"Premium Hardwood Lump Charcoal", "Acacia wood burns hotter (you need less)", "Burns evenly (more consistent cooking)", "All natural (no chemicals)", "Feeding Americans In Need", "Supporting US communities in need through free BBQs",

"What makes our charcoal Good? Our charcoal comes from the Namibian bush in Africa, one of the hottest places on earth. It's made from Acacia, a denser wood than oak and hickory; it burns hotter and more evenly. Therefore, you do not need to use as much charcoal for your BBQ."

"What makes our company Good for America? The Good Charcoal Company is partnering with local communities across the US to support and sponsor FREE weekly BBQs. If you want to learn more about our program or how you might help, visit www.thegoodcharcoal.com"

"What makes our charcoal Good for the Environment? Acacia bushes make for great charcoal. However, in Namibia, the overgrowth of the Acacia through "bush encroachment" threatens open grasslands needed for people and wildlife alike. In fact, bush encroachment is also endangering the cheetahs in Namibia that need these grasslands to hunt. To find out more about our sustainability impact, go to: www.thegoodcharcoal.com."

"Made in Namibia", "Distributed by The Good Charcoal Company", "The Good way to open the bag", "First untie (or cut off) the little threaded end-knot above, then pull the middle string, and "zip," it's open!"


Lighting Instructions

"Lighting Good Charcoal
We use a charcoal chimney to light our Good Charcoal for best results.
1) Remove the cooking grate and position the chimney inside your BBQ on top of the charcoal grate.

2) Place a wad of paper or fire starter below the chimney and fill the top portion of the chimney with the desired amount of lump charcoal. Light the paper with a match or fire wand.

3) In 10 to 15 minutes, your Good Charcoal should begine to turn an ash gray color. When that happens, empty the charcoal from the chimney onto the grate. Spread it out evenly across the grate for a consistent layer of heat.

4) Replace the cooking grate and preheat the grill for another 10 to 15 minutes. Then you're ready to go.

To use lighter fluid, follow these steps for best results.
1) Remove the cooking grate and stack the charcoal lump into a pyramid shape on top of the charcoal grate.

2) Apply lighter fluid per the manufacturer's directions, then light with a match or fire wand. Never put lighter fluid onto lit, or previously lighted, charcoal — that is extremely dangerous!

3) In 10 to 15 minutes, your Good Charcoal should begin to turn an ash gray color. When that happens, spread the charcoal evenly across the charcoal grate for a consistent layer of heat.

4) Replace the cooking grate and preheat the grill another 10 to 15 minutes. Then you're ready to go.

Be sure to adjust the air vents above and below your grill to maintain desired cooking temperature."


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. You can see at least 2 of the plastic strips.


Here is a closer view. All of the pieces are well under 2 inches in size.


We found no large pieces in the bag at all.


Here is a closeup of the plastic strips, and 2 twigs we found in the bag.


As the entire bag was all small pieces, we didn't sort the bag.


Other Photos

This is how the bags arrived.


Photo of UPC Code


Contact Information

The Good Charcoal Company
New York, NY 10075

Email: hello@thegoodcharcoal.com
Web: www.thegoodcharcoal.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/thegoodcharcoal


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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