• jlwjlw
    Posts: 16,454
    I know a lot of us cook outside on the grill and I think most of us (if not all) cook using charcoal. I thought I would start a thread about charcoal. Maybe a place to post brand reviews, experiences etc.

    For at least 5 or 6 years i used almost solely Cowboy charcoal. The consistency in chunk size was pretty good. Recently, I have notice the quality has gone way down. The last bag I used was terrible. It had tree limbs on the top and lots of worthless little pieces at the bottom.

    Yesterday I picked up a bag of Kroger brand lump charcoal and I have to say this is was a pretty good bag of charcoal. So far consistent pieces and I got a good long burn.
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 88,618
    This is something I need to learn more about. My $99 depot gas grill crapped out last year. I want to go charcoal this year. I've heard really good reviews about the Weber Performer. Anybody have that one?
    Also, what's the difference between lump charcoal and that one brand of matchlight briquettes that eurvreebody uses?
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • jlwjlw
    Posts: 16,454

    This is something I need to learn more about. My $99 depot gas grill crapped out last year. I want to go charcoal this year. I've heard really good reviews about the Weber Performer. Anybody have that one?
    Also, what's the difference between lump charcoal and that one brand of matchlight briquettes that eurvreebody uses?



    Weber's are great grills. i chose to go with a Chargriller found here:

    http://www.chargriller.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&category_id=1&flypage=flypage_tabbed.tpl&product_id=8&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=1

    I also have the smoke box attached.

    The big difference between lump charcoal and briquettes is the lump is all natural where as the briquettes use binding stuff to bind the briquette together. Also the match lite uses a lighter fluid in the briquette.

    Also, with lump it burns cleaner and leaves very little ash pile.
  • jlwjlw
    Posts: 16,454
  • jlwjlw
    Posts: 16,454
    Also, if you want to use charcoal or even wood chunks I would recommend using one of these:

    Charcoal Chimney:

    image
  • frydogbrewsfrydogbrews
    Posts: 44,679
    lump charcoal also burns much hotter than briquettes, so adjust cooking distance and time accordingly. i can't speak highly enough about weber grills. i have put them through hell and back and they come through the other side. i have charcoal and gas.

    in terms of brands, i use only Fire King brand. it is made in steeleville, MO not far from me and was visited by mike rowe from dirty jobs. great company with good people making a terrific product.
    the link takes you straight to Fire King's review
    http://www.nakedwhiz.com/lumpdatabase/lumpbag57.htm
  • PK1PK1
    Posts: 14
    I've got burned on my last bag of lump too; half bag of dust. I have been only lump for a while and use the chimney. I don't have a smoker but wanted to try smoking some grain after having a smoked porter.
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 88,618
    JLW, that is cheaper than I thought. I don't like their website, it's hard to navigate. The smoke box is off to the side right? Like I said, I don't know shit about smoking. The Weber Perfomer is smaller and way more expensive.

    Fry, I saw that episode. It was awesome. Especially when the guy tried to offer Mike a chew.

    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • jlwjlw
    Posts: 16,454

    JLW, that is cheaper than I thought. I don't like their website, it's hard to navigate. The smoke box is off to the side right? Like I said, I don't know shit about smoking. The Weber Perfomer is smaller and way more expensive.

    Fry, I saw that episode. It was awesome. Especially when the guy tried to offer Mike a chew.



    The site does suck. You can buy these grills at Lowes. This is a made in America product they are located in Georgia. My ash pan rusted out and I called and talked to a nice southern lady who helped me find the right replacement and it was shipped and at my house within a week.
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 121,968
    PK1 said:

    I've got burned on my last bag of lump too; half bag of dust. I have been only lump for a while and use the chimney. I don't have a smoker but wanted to try smoking some grain after having a smoked porter.



    Seems like the lump is kinda hit or miss. i suppose that's why the brickettes are so popular. You know pretty much exactly what you are going to get every time.
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • frydogbrewsfrydogbrews
    Posts: 44,679
    Lakewood said:

    PK1 said:

    I've got burned on my last bag of lump too; half bag of dust. I have been only lump for a while and use the chimney. I don't have a smoker but wanted to try smoking some grain after having a smoked porter.



    Seems like the lump is kinda hit or miss. i suppose that's why the brickettes are so popular. You know pretty much exactly what you are going to get every time.


    yup, cancer.

    seriously though, much like Kingsford seems to rule the world of briquettes and others aren't as good; same thing with lump.
    some company's make better stuff than others, although they will all work
  • scoobscoob
    Posts: 16,617
    I use lump charcoal in my smoker, I have a grate so I can use the firebox as a small grill.

    If you have the space and the wood it is easy to make your own lump coal, get yourself a 55 gal barrel with a clamp on lid, use a pickaxe to punch like 5 or 6 air holes on the bottom of the barrel, place it in a safe location where the bottom is sitting on dirt. Dig a hole about 8-10 inches deep where the center of the barrel bottom will be and channel it out to the side, the idea is to create an airgap under the barrel with the channel there so air can get to the holes in the bottom. Fill your barrel with small branches, chunks of hardwood, untreated hardwood trim like baseboards or railings, whatever hardwood scraps you have and build a fire in the bottom of the barrel, when it is going, fill your barrel with hardwood set the lid on the barrel and use a stick or whatever to let some smoke out, after a couple hours the water will be driven from the wood as indicated by the smoke going from white to a clear/bluish smoke. Give the barrel a few whacks to settle the coal a bit more tightly, secure the lid and clamp it shut. The lack of oxygen flow caused by the lid will cause the wood to carbonize as opposed to burn. after 24 hours or so, or when the barrel is cool, open it up and you will have a third to a half barrel of ready to use hardwood lump coal.

    If you have a lot of pecan, hickory or other good smoking wood you can make a fair bit of coal that will add great flavor to your grilled foods.
    Jesus didn't wear pants
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 121,968
    azscoob said:

    I use lump charcoal in my smoker, I have a grate so I can use the firebox as a small grill.

    If you have the space and the wood it is easy to make your own lump coal, get yourself a 55 gal barrel with a clamp on lid, use a pickaxe to punch like 5 or 6 air holes on the bottom of the barrel, place it in a safe location where the bottom is sitting on dirt. Dig a hole about 8-10 inches deep where the center of the barrel bottom will be and channel it out to the side, the idea is to create an airgap under the barrel with the channel there so air can get to the holes in the bottom. Fill your barrel with small branches, chunks of hardwood, untreated hardwood trim like baseboards or railings, whatever hardwood scraps you have and build a fire in the bottom of the barrel, when it is going, fill your barrel with hardwood set the lid on the barrel and use a stick or whatever to let some smoke out, after a couple hours the water will be driven from the wood as indicated by the smoke going from white to a clear/bluish smoke. Give the barrel a few whacks to settle the coal a bit more tightly, secure the lid and clamp it shut. The lack of oxygen flow caused by the lid will cause the wood to carbonize as opposed to burn. after 24 hours or so, or when the barrel is cool, open it up and you will have a third to a half barrel of ready to use hardwood lump coal.

    If you have a lot of pecan, hickory or other good smoking wood you can make a fair bit of coal that will add great flavor to your grilled foods.



    I'd love to to have a source of big ol barrels. I'd be building a much bigger brewery!
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • FuzzyFuzzy
    Posts: 49,695
    PK1 said:

    I've got burned on my last bag of lump too; half bag of dust. I have been only lump for a while and use the chimney. I don't have a smoker but wanted to try smoking some grain after having a smoked porter.



    try a cold smoker:

    http://www.homebrewforums.net/discussion/115/cold-smoking#Item_7

    http://www.homebrewforums.net/discussion/116/lakewoods-cold-smoker-build#Item_13
    The pinnacle of lame and awesome in one singular moment. -Lake
  • jlwjlw
    Posts: 16,454
    My bed of coals from a couple of weeks ago.

    photo (17).JPG
    640 x 480 - 84K
  • viking73viking73
    Posts: 521
    I've been using Royal Oak, courtesy of the local Wal-Mart. Works fairly well, burns hot, chunk size is consistent.