I've been given crap over using Kingsford blue bag, Sam's club 21#
When I started traveling, catering on-site and competing it was important to me to be able to have consistency.
Blue bag seems to be pretty much the same every time, place, state, season I've purchased and used it.
I've always totally grayed my charcoal before it goes in smokers, that might be part of the consistency I see. The only time any one mentions tasting charcoal in my food might be when I'm drinking and grill something when the coals aren't ready but I am, but not when I'm smoking.
I've used what I've used because no matter where I've been it has been the same. If I went on a job or to a comp and all my supplies fell out of the truck I could pick up some blue bag and roll with it. I'm certain there's better options out there. Now that I'm running efficient UDS rigs it is probably the right time to experiement a bit.
To get a good 6 to 8 hour cook out my my MeadowCreek I'd have to burn half a dozen splits of hickory and near 40# of blue bag. To run 6 to 8 hours on my UDS is 10# or less. I can afford to runs tests and experiment again!
So, locally I've got HomeDepot, Lowes, Wal-mart/Sam's, and Menard's
Any recommendations on a decent lump from them?
Actually there is one local BBQ/Grilling store that might carry good options, I'll check in there tomorrow.