About Us

Real Montana Charcoal

Our mission is to deliver the best charcoal on the market today. Randy carefully hand packs each and every bag/box to eliminate the chance of customers receiving “brands” (uncarbonized wood) instead of charcoal. Our commitment to excellence shall not be surpassed. We are a small company producing charcoal in a limited supply. Each piece of wood is currently cut (not broken) into manageable size chunks before the charcoal making process.

Made in the Bitterroot Valley of western Montana from the finest “American” hardwoods. Each wood has a different quality, density, burn time, aroma and flavor. There are many to choose from and many more on the way. Giving you the customer the chance to choose for yourselves what fits in with your meal and lifestyle. Our Softwood Mix is perfect for blacksmiths, producing very hot coals, in large chunks, and for single people who want a quick fire and do not require much burn time to cook a meal. Give us a try you will be glad you did.


Company history

The Two Shades of Randy

two shades of me

After attending taxidermy school, Randy started Critters-N-Stuff as a small taxidermy shop located in Darby Montana. Taxidermy was slow a first, so Randy took a job digging fire lines around logging units in the Bitterroot, Lolo and Clearwater (Lochsa) forest. As he had two young children to raise so he had to quit this job  (the favorite of  his lifetime) because it kept him away from home to much.

He started working as a Sub-Contractor cutting firewood for a local firewood service. After three years and  his years creeping up on him, he decided to quite firewood and start  another business  under the name of Critters-N-Stuff, doing easier work at his old mainstays construction and landscaping. For about 2 years he worked at his construction business and Landscape Company during the Summer months and back to doing Taxidermy in the Winter.

This easier work was nice but now he really started to miss cutting firewood so he bought a couple 1 1/2 Ton trucks and a 1 ton and started cutting firewood in the mountains of western Montana. For five years Randy spent the Fall and Winter cutting firewood and when he had a day off in the Summer, as well as doing Taxidermy, chiefly during the Fall and Winter, construction and landscaping in the Summer. In the spring of 2008, while walking around in His back yard a thought came into his head, “I wonder how they make charcoal”.

So he decided to find out. After studying about it he decided to give it a try. He made a small earthen oven and cooked out a batch. It all burned up. Not one to give up easily he learned from his mistake and tried again, this time it went much better and through a whole lot of trial and error (more error than trial) he proceeded in perfecting his process. Now at age 53 Randy has gotten out of Taxidermy, Landscaping, Firewood and Contracting. , and now concentrates on making the best charcoal on the market today.

On December 21, 2019 Randy married the love of his life Prateang Phuksue aka (Som) now Som Schwehr is engaged in the fine art of charcoal making. Som is from Thailand and Thai’s know charcoal. It was used by Som and her family to cook with on a daily basis. She will be doing a fair share of the manufacturing process and will be assuring the products are always made to Real Montana Charcoals extremely high standard.

Customer TestimonialsUPNSMOKIN We are a competition BBQ team named UPNSMOKIN, we have been doing BBQ competitions for the last few years and have used most of the major brands in lump charcoal and have had the same results with them all, good heat and OK burn times.With Real Montana Charcoal we have found good heat, good burn times as well as incredible flavor.I never realized that custom charcoal could make such a difference in our BBQ products, to be honest I never new there was such a thing as custom charcoal.
The first product we tried was the Maple. we used it at the Montana State BBQ championship and had great results,we tied for first place in ribs. The charcoal was easy to light and burned with what BBQr’s call the perfect smoke!
A nice blue smoke.This product produces great flavor and a great smoke ring without adding wood chips or chunks to the fire box.We have tried apple,oak,maple,cherry and now even plum and have had the same results with all of them, AWESOME!If you want to add that something special to your BBQ then Real Montana Charcoal is a must,we will be using it at all of our BBQ contests and events.Thanks for a great product!
Brett and Candi

The Naked Whiz’s Charcoal review of  our




For those of you seeking superlative lump charcoal, Real Montana Charcoal is once again in production. I recently received a shipment of apple, cherry, plum, and lilac. As some of you know, I was a huge fan of Hall’s Hill hickory lump (and remain so), but Real Montana surpasses all other lump out there. With Dennis’ extruded coconut and this new addition, I’m in charcoal heaven.

Peter Antonell
Monterey Bay, CA


The average Real Montana Charcoal adsorption capacity was 70% higher than for the selection of lump charcoals.
Hugh McLaughlin PHD, PE

 #2 Hardwood Mix

In July,I celebrated a big birthday party with a pig roast for 60 friends, our pig weighed about 82 pounds.

We used Real Montana Hardwood Charcoal and at Randy’s suggestion, %100 Apple wood. Randy also suggested 40 pounds of charcoal since we planned to slow cook the pig in a large outside pig roaster for about 10 hours and that amount was perfect.So was the outcome!

Our pig cooked at about 250 degrees for the first 8 hours and was really simple to regulate by putting a smaller amount of hardwood charcoal onto the roaster.The last 2 hours we went with about 350-375 degrees to get a crust on the skin and again, that hardwood charcoal was easily regulated, a real dream to work with over a long period of cooking time.These photos show the beautiful color achieved with the Apple wood charcoal.

I highly recommend Randy’s product, Real Montana Hardwood Charcoal for it’s smoky good taste and for it’s ease of use.


Marianne Forrest

private chef and restauranteur


Randy, use me as a reference.  Your product gets to blue smoke faster, perfect for low and slow cooking, lights very easily, last a long time and produces very little Ash. I am a fan and will continue to purchase your product.

Tom Hobby Atlanta , GA