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Quick Stats
Date Of Review: September, 2010
Purchased From: Casual Furniture World
Date Purchased: May, 2010
Price: 23.95
Weight: 20 pounds
Burn Time:
Ash Production:
Type of Wood: See review
Strange Material?: 1 Rock, 1 dirt clod, pine bark
Scrap Lumber Pieces?: None
Smell: Pleasant hardwood smoke
Country of Origin: USA

Quick Links
Other Information: Click Here
Statements From The Bag: Click Here
Lighting 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
Rate And Comment On This Charcoal: Click Here


Primo started selling their own "house brand" in mid-2008 and Primo owners have been waiting to see how it stacked up against the competition ever since. Well, we finally acquired a bag of Primo charcoal this past May and have done the review. So let's see how it does stack up against all the other lump charcoals on the market.

The first thing we do, as usual, is to dump the charcoal on the ground for sorting and inspection. As you can see from the following table there was a relatively good mix of sizes, although we'd like to see a bit less small chunks and more large chunks:

Large 2.7 pounds 11.3%
Medium 8.3 pounds 34.8%
Small 10.6 pounds 44.3%
Chips/Dust 1.5 pounds 6.3%
Uncarbonized 0.8 pounds 3.3%

Total 23.9 pounds

As you can also see, there was quite a bit of uncarbonized bark, but when you consider the bag was almost 4 pounds overweight, you certainly can't say you were cheated! The amount of chips and dust was low compared to other lump charcoals we have reviewed. In sorting through the charcoal we found one small rock and one small dirt clod. We also found 2 large pieces of uncarbonized pine bark. You might wish to keep an eye on any uncarbonized pieces that you happen to dump into your cooker.

Next up is the chimney starter test where we determine how hard the charcoal is to start. This charcoal took only 3 sheets to start, which is low compared to other charcoals. While the charcoal was starting there was almost no sparking and no popping. The charcoal has a hardwood smoke smell, but it was somehow a bit different from what we have come to know as American hardwood smoke. It may just be that this bag had a slightly different mix of the American hardwoods that typically go into these charcoals.

In our maximum temperature test, this charcoal reached 940 degrees which is high compared to other charcoals. There was almost no sparking and popping during the burn and the fire was relatively quick to spread. When lighting with a MAPP torch, there was surprisingly little sparking and popping also. However, as always, exercise caution when using any type of torch to light lump charcoal.

The last test is the burntime test and the resulting ash produced. This charcoal's burntime was very high compared to other charcoals. In fact, it was sixth on the "all-time" list of charcoals we have tested. The resulting ash produced was low compared to other charcoals.

So, Primo has indeed come out with a good charcoal that is easy to light, burns hot, burns for a very long time and produces a relatively small amount of ash. Although it is quite pricey, it's not to bad when you look at the cost per hour. So we have no trouble giving this 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


Statements From The Bag

"Premium Quality", "Premium Taste", "100% Natural Lump Charcoal", "Made in U.S.A."

"Primo Lump Charcoal is your premium choice 100% all natural coal (sic) product. Free of tars and other harmful chemicals, Primo Lump Charcoal does not emit pollutants into the air or compromise the flavor of your food. It weighs less, produces very little ash, lights faster, and burns longer and hotter than standard briquettes. A single load in any charcoal grill can last for up to 6 cooks! For the ultimate in quality and flavor use this product in your Primo Grill—the best in class cooker for grilling, smoking, roasting and baking!"

Lighting Instructions

Primo Lighting Instructions:

REMOVE ASH AND DEBRIS (after the first use if needed) Stir the coal (sic) from prior cooking to remove ash from the leftover coal (sic) in the firebox. Then scoop ash out of the lower vent.

DETEMINE FILLING AMOUNT Half Firebox: Fill the firebox half way when preparing smaller amounts of food or when cooking at milder temperatures. Full Firebox: Fill firebox to within four inches of the top. Use this for larger amounts of food, hotter cooking temperatures, or longer cooking times; i.e. slow-cooked ribs would require a full firebox.

FILL WITH LUMP CHARCOAL Sprinkle in smoking wood for flavor, if desired.

LIGHT CHARCOAL For ½ a firebox, bury one or two starter pouches (Primo® Quick Lights are recommended) halfway down in the charcoal. For a full firebox, use two or three pouches. You may also use a starter chimney or, if monitored closely, an electric fire starter. DO NOT USE LIGHTER FLUID!

CLOSE LID Be sure the fire has started.

FULLY OPEN TOP AND BOTTOM VENTS When first starting the grill, opening the vents allows air flow to the coal.

MONITOR THERMOMETER Watch the thermometer. Once the grill approaches the desired temperature, partially close the vents to maintain that temperature.

Unusual or Unique Statements


The Ruler Used In The Following Photographs

We use the following ruler in the photographs which follow. The blocks are 1 inch wide. 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 is the contents of the bag. Those are 1 inch squares on the measuring bar.

Here is a closer view.

Here are the larger pieces we found in the bag.

Here is the one rock and the piece of "fused" dirt that we found in the bag.

Here are the uncarbonized pieces we found in the bag. Notice the largest piece of
bark that is in the right half of the photo. That was a piece of pine bark.

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

Other Photos


Photo of UPC Code

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

Contact Information

Primo Grills and Smokers
5999 Goshen Spring Road
Norcross, GA, 30071


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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