Grove Charcoal       Home       Lump Review Index      

Quick Stats
Date Of Review: July, 2005
Purchased From: Sunset Foods in the Chicago area.
Date Purchased: May, 2005
Price: $10.99
Weight: 20 pounds
Burn Time:
Ash Production:
Type of Wood: Unknown
Strange Material?: Sparklies and some plastic. See review.
Scrap Lumber Pieces?: None
Smell: Very mild pleasant aroma
Country of Origin: Canada

Quick Links
Photos of Contents: Click Here
Other Photos, Including UPC Code: Click Here
Lighting Instructions: Click Here
Statements From The Bag: Click Here
Unusual Or Unique Statements: Click Here
Contact Information: Click Here
Other Information: Click Here
Photo of UPC Code: Click Here

Rate And Comment On This Charcoal: Click Here


This lump comes to us from Dobie Dad, in the Chicago area. It says on the bag "Product of Canada", so we were wondering if this could be a replacement for Maple Leaf charcoal which is no longer available in the United States. Well, let's see:

We don't know what types of wood are used to make this charcoal, but in appearance, it does resemble Maple Leaf charcoal. We suspect this is some type of mixture of beech, birch and/or maple.

We forgot to take a photo of the lump sorted into piles like we usually do, doh!, but the following table should give you a sense for the distribution which was quite a bit to the small end of the scale. The 18.3% of the bag being chips and dust was average. Almost 20% of the bag by weight is unusable. As you can see, the bag did contain just a bit more weight than advertised.

Large 3.9 pounds 19.3%
Medium 5.6 pounds 27.7%
Small 7.0 pounds 34.6%
Chips/Dust 3.7 pounds 18.3%

Total 20.2 pounds
And lest anyone think that we don't look through the bags of charcoal with any care, we found some small pieces of what appears to be plastic that had been melted and slightly carbonized. You can see photos below. We also found some sparklies, which we believe to be nothing more that volatiles driven off from the wood which may get trapped in pockets in the kiln and then crystalized/carbonized. Pictures of the sparklies are also below.

The charcoal took 3.5 sheets of newspaper to get started in our chimney starter test, which is average. There was very little sparking or popping while the charcoal was getting going in the chimney. The smoke is exceptionally mild and very pleasant. There is no harshness or strong woodsy aroma in the smoke at all. Frankly, this is one of the best-smelling charcoals we have ever experienced. When starting the fire in a cooker the fire spreads with fairly quickly, with no sparking or popping while burning. Also, when started with a MAPP torch, there was very little sparking and popping. There was the occasional mild pop, but nothing like we are accustomed to. The charcoal burned at a maximum temperature of 690 degrees, not rip-roaring, but plenty hot for most grilling uses.

As for burntime, this charcoal set a new Whiz world record, burning longer than any charcoal we have ever tested. Longer than Brassiero, longer than Kamado extruded coconut. The ash produced in our test burn was very low.

So, is this charcoal the equivalent of Maple Leaf, or even Maple Leaf rebagged? We think not. We haven't burned any Maple Leaf in a long time (we are saving the two bags in the main vault at Naked Whiz Plaza for something special like if our kid finds a cure for cancer), but we remember Maple Leaf having a stronger smoke. So, forgetting about Maple Leaf, we think this is another outstanding charcoal. The only thing bad we can say about it is that the size distribution of the pieces makes this a bit more expensive than it seems. It would be great if the manufacturer could screen the charcoal better and get the unusable portion down to 10 percent. Also, the manufacturer needs to keep an eye on the raw material going in to prevent things like the pieces of plastic that we found from getting into the product. Otherwise, this charcoal is relatively inexpensive, easy to light, smells fantastic and burns FOREVER. We give it our 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


Unusual or Unique Statements

You may have noticed that this section is blank on virtually all our reviews. Well, we have
one from this bag for you. There is an image of a funky little chef who is saying, "Give us a fry!"
Fry? Are we missing something?

MYSTERY SOLVED!! Well, one of our wonderful readers named Melissa was kind enough to enlighten us about this mystery "Give us a Fry" slogan:

"I can explain the little chef saying "give us a fry". In Cedar Grove, WI and nearby towns, especially in Sheboygan County, WI grilling out is called fry. They invite people over to 'have a fry' or say 'we are going to have a fry this week end why don't your come over'. There is usually beer, brats (Johnsonville) and some cold salads. So it is a play on words using the 'fry' for 'try'."
Thanks, Melissa, for clearing that up!

Statements From The Bag

"100% Natural Hardwood Charcoal", "Product of Canada"

"Grove Charcoal is not an ordinary charcoal. it is made the old fashioned way by burning select hardwoods in specially designed kilns. This assures you the finest natural Bar-B-Que flavor.

Many ordinary briquettes contain sodium nitrate, sodium chloride, starch binders, clay, fly ash, corn, sawdust. You will not find these additives in Grove Charcoal.

Note: Grove Charcoal burns much hotter than ordinary charcoal so you can use less and still get that great natural flavor. Test results show 40% less charcoal needed when compared to briquettes and with very little ash residue."

Lighting Instructions


Photos Of Contents

This is the contents of the bag. Those are 1 inch squares on the measuring bar.

Here is a closer view.

Here are some of the larger pieces we found in the bag.

Here are the few uncarbonized pieces we found in the bag.

We found what looked to be some carbonized/melted plastic bits.
The lines in the next few photos are 1/4 inch apart.

Here are some sparklies, known by some as "moon rocks". You might
wonder what these things are. Keep reading.....

Look at these sparklies. Keep reading.....

Turn them over and what do you find? Wood. We think that the
sparkly bits are just crystalized bits of the volatile chemicals which
are driven off by the process of carbonization.

We found this one dirt clod in the bag.

Other Photos

This is how the bags arrived.

That sure is a lot of styrofoam, eh?

Ok, there it is....

Photo of UPC Code

Here is a photo of the UPC code on the bag:

Contact Information

Grove Charcoal
Box 386
Cedar Grove, Wisconsin  53013

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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