Originally Posted by George
I have to agree with Goldenfinger and Charcoal addict, there's not a lot of choice up here. I've had bags of RO with huge chunks, and bags with mostly little pieces, but I've also tried the Maple leaf lump that everyone loves, and I really don't taste much of a flavor difference.
Outside Mesquite and cocoanut briquettes don't think there would be any effect on the flavor. The start-up smell with some cheap lump is excuse to head back in the house for a beer until it burns off.
The reason I would pay more for Wicked Good or a solid South American lump would be purely for performance rather than flavor profile.
Aside from the sparks Nature's own (sold at Canadian tire) is a decent economic brand. Basques Sugar Maple can be hit and miss on piece sizes. Maple charcoal has fragility issues and can be hit or miss on the size of the pieces.
Most of the hardwood lump has to be imported into Canada and that's the wallet killer. Over zealous government taxes. You have $800 USD for one day road trip to the US. Even with the price of gas you could $800 dollars worth of lump and briskets in the US for what would nearly equal $1600 dollars in Canada.
The other option is you order pallet loads from the US fairly cheaply and ship via a brokered courier and sadly you would still end up saving 35% as long you purchased bulk from a state that boarders your province.