16 July, 2008

Cowboy Charcoal Company Cheats Customers

There are two reasons I like to cook outside on my charcoal grills. First, of course, is that so many things taste better when they're cooked over live coals. And second, when it's a hot summer's day, I prefer to cook outside and not add any more heat to the kitchen from running the stove or the oven.

Economy, however, is one thing that doesn't enter the equasion. No matter how you look at it, using charcoal outside is more expensive than using the stove or the oven. And because the cost is already higher than indoor cooking, it pisses me off that a company would deliberately game the system in order to cost me even more money.

But that's what Cowboy Charcoal does. There have been rocks packed in with the charcoal in two consecutive bags I purchased. I don't usually find them when I'm pouring the charcoal into the chimney to light it. I find it later, when I'm emptying ashes or raking out unburned charcoal to re-use. They're not small pieces, either - one of the rocks I found was a pound-and-a-half chunk of sandstone. That might not sound like a big deal, but it's a good percentage of an eight-pound bag of charcoal.

I sent the company email last week, asking if they were having some problems with quality control (after all, it has to be a mistake, right? Right??) but they've ignored me so far. So the hell with them. Whether it's a deliberate attempt to short their customers or just a problem with their process, I don't give a damn any more. They've lost my business permanently.

Here's an example of what I'm finding in my grill after the charcoal has burned off. The rock on the left is a piece off of a much larger chunk of quartz that was cracked and split by the heat. The piece on the right is a chunk from a large piece of sandstone that was indistinguishable from a large chunk of charcoal when it was poured from the bag.

Their website is w­ww.co­wboycharcoal.com. I'm not going to make it a link, because they don't deserve it.


Teresa Cordero Cordell said...

Dave I love your site. Congrat's on being featured on this month's foodbuzz! My husband is a purist when it comes to grilling. He will not use gas, only charcoal. He swears to me that the charcoal bags he's been buying (Kingsford) are smaller and less filled than what he use to purchase only 6 months ago. Didn't really listen to him, but now I'm beginning to wonder. Thanks to sharing.

Dave said...

Your husband is correct! Kingsford used to sell their products in 20-pound bags - Now they are 18 pounds (and the ones with mesquite are just 17 pounds!)

Anonymous said...

That's disappointing. Reminds me of the time I was at an oceanside seafood place in Camden, Maine. Some of us ordered the small chowder and some of us the large chowder. After sitting with the "cups" and "bowls" for the course of the meal, we realized they seemed very similar. Turns out the "bowl" only looked like a bowl because it was taller so physically looked bigger. Someone had the bright idea of filling the bowl with water and then pouring it into the cup to discover they both held the exact same amount. Obviously those that had purchased the bowl were being ripped off. We repeated our experiment for the owner and got out money back. And then we complained to the BBB.

Salt N Turmeric said...

we also use charcoal. my decision, mind you!. lol.

anyways, thanks for the write up. il remember not to buy the brand. and speaking of tht, i should check the ash and see if theres any rocks in them!

New England Charcoal Fan said...

I have had three separate instances of rocks in Cowboy Charcoal. These are not just any rocks either mind you, these puppies are trash rocks that contain some very heavy substance. I used to see these on occasion in the South, I don't know if they are from debris or if they contain some form of iron ore that makes them noticeably heavy per size, one occurence may be an accident, twice, three times....and by other purchasers. There should be some way to have this discontinued.
13 October 2011

Anonymous said...

I've bin using cowboy charcoal for 10yrs, and of the 100 or so bags I've purchased not one rock. I live near Baltimore,Md and this is the only brand I've ever seen. What brand do you curantly use?

Anonymous said...

I Love Cowboy Brand Charcoal but I have found the exact looking rocks in the bottom of my grill when cleaning it out. I will stil purhase because it is still the best Charcoal I have found for my BIG GREEN EGG. It last Waaaay longer than the competition and the flavor is not overwhelming.

Anonymous said...

Love cowboy charcoal and will continue to buy but I have found those exact looking rocks. Just Sayin