Cowboy Oak and Hickory
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Quick Stats
Date Of Review: September, 2022
Purchased From: Lowe's
Date Purchased: September, 2022
Price: $22.98
Advertised Weight: 18 pounds
Type of Wood: See review
Strange Material: Few small rocks
Scrap Lumber: None
Smell: Very mild US hardwood smoke
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


We just recently reviewed Cowboy's "Mixed Hardwood" lump charcoal from Mexico, so now we move on to Cowboy's "Oak and Hickory" lump charcoal which is made in the USA. We use quote marks around the oak and hickory because close inspection of the bag reveals that this charcoal is predominantly Southern Oak and MAY include hickory and other southern hardwoods. So your "oak and hickory" charcoal MAY contain hickory? Not a great way to win customers.

But let's move on and see how the charcoal performed in our tests. First of all, we will point out the easy open bag. The bag is sealed with the usual paper tape folded over the top and secured with string stitching. But there is also a tan strip of paper under the stitching that when pulled, miraculously undoes the stitching. Maybe other manufacturers will copy this method and put an end to all the lottery ticket videos on the internet. You can see a photo of this tan tape here.

As usual, the first thing we do is spread the charcoal out on the ground for sorting and inspection. We didn't find anything unusual in the bag. We did find four small rocks, but even after deducting the weight of the rocks, the bag was still over its advertised weight.

As for size distribution, as you can see in the following table, it was pretty miserable with nearly 60% of the bag being small pieces. The 5.4% chips and dust is Low () compared to all other brands tested, but the amount of small pieces is quite large.

Large 2.1 pounds 11.4%
Medium 4.6 pounds 25.3%
Small 10.6 pounds 57.9%
Chips/Dust 2.0 pounds 5.4%

Total 18.3 pounds

We test the ease of lighting by seeing how many sheets of newspaper it takes to get a fire going in a standard Weber chimney starter. Cowboy took only 2 sheets to get going which is Very Low () compared to other brands. Very few brands of charcoal are as easy to start as this one. The smell of the charcoal smoke as it burns is surprisingly mild, about as mild as we have ever observed. If you don't like smoke flavor, this charcoal might be worth looking into. And while the charcoal was starting there was no popping and only mild sparking.

The maximum temperature test also proved to be a strong point of this charcoal. It burned at 967°F which is Very High () compared to other brands. There was very little sparking and popping while the charcoal was burning. The fire spread rapidly, which is no surprise in light of how easy this charcoal is to start.

Next is our burn time test and Cowboy Oak and Hickory Lump Charcoal burned an extremely long time. It ranks number 2 on the all time list. Needless to say, this ranks Very High (). This should come as no surprise in view of how light this charcoal is. Cowboy must be cooking it to a relatively high temperature which increases the ratio of carbon to other components in the charcoal. Since carbon burns longer per pound than all the other components, a light charcoal will burn longer. This also accounts for the very mild smoke. Also, when lighting with a MAP/Pro torch, again there was very little sparking and popping. Of course, always exercise caution when using a torch of any type to light lump charcoal.

Finally, the amount of ash produced by Cowboy Oak and Hickory Lump Charcoal was Low () compared to other brands.

So what we have here is a charcoal which is insanely easy to light, burns hot and long, and produces very little ash. But unfortunately, the size distribution is miserable. And then there's the fact that their "oak and hickory" charcoal may not even contain any hickory at all. Normally, a charcoal of this caliber would get a Highly Recommended rating, but due to its poor size distribution, we can only give it a Recommended rating with an asterisk, where the asterisk stands for "...if you don't mind the size of the pieces."

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

"All Natural BBQ Flavor", "Best for ceramic grills, smokers, kettles.", "Easy Lighting", "Burns Hot and Long", "Low Ash", "Made in the USA"

Compare Cowboy Lump Charcoal to Briquets
1. All natural, 100% charcoal, no coal, fillers, or chemicals!
2. Quicker, hotter fire, with much more heat than briquets!
3. Easy lighting, starts in half the time of briquets!
4. Great taste with no starch or petroleum off-taste and flavor!
5. Charcoal can be added to fire without smelly fumes!
6. All natural charcoal means less ash, clean up is minimal!"

To get the most authentic wood smoke flavor from your BBQ, the best option is lump charcoal. Cowboy® Hardwood Lump Charcoal is made from one ingredient – wood. Our lump charcoal burns hotter and cleaner than briquets for higher searing temperatures and less ash. It's perfect for ceramic grills, smokers, and kettles. It is the professional choice for proteins from the land or sea. Lump charcoal burns hot for quick searing and holds the heat for those all-day smoking recipes. Saddle up cowboy, it's time to get cookin'!"

"*Made from predominantly Southern Oak. May include Hickory and small amounts of other southern hardwoods."

Lighting Instructions

Cowoy Hardwood Lump Charcoal is an all natural charcoal product that burns cleaner, lights easier, and generates hotter cooking temperatures than briquets. This allows for more effective and efficient cooking.

Cowboy Charcoal is sensitive to air and will light and burn quite readily! NOTE: Make adjustments in your air vents and grill lid to control the rate of burning.

We suggest using starters such as a charcoal chimney, electric starter, or paraffin coated sticks. They are economical, ecological, and easy to use.

We highly recommend starting your fire with a charcoal chimney. It uses newspaper as a starter, so it is easy to use and does not give food an after taste."

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 small rocks we found in the bag.

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

Other Photos

This is the tan tape that can be pulled to easily open the bag.

Photo of UPC Code

Contact Information

Cowboy Charcoal
P.O. Box 1230
Stockton, CA  95201-1230


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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