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Slow cooking with lump

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Post Sun Jun 13, 2004 9:52 am
jayshaw91 medium-rare
medium-rare

Posts: 58
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Another question! I read somewhere on a post that somebody doesn't suggest using lump for low and slow grilling. Any other opinions on this?

EDIT: I forgot to add I'm using an 18" Weber grill. Does this change anything?
Last edited by jayshaw91 on Sun Jun 13, 2004 10:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

Post Sun Jun 13, 2004 10:08 am
BBcue-Z well done
well done

Posts: 3054
Location: Atlanta-GA
It all depends on your smoker size and what you’re trying to cook. I have a large smoking chamber, and when I want bring the temp up quickly, I use lumps. I also like the flavor they add. I almost never use just plain lumps in the smoker though. I mainly use briquettes and add few lumps for flavor and temp control. Otherwise, I use lumps mainly for direct grilling.
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Post Sun Jun 13, 2004 10:59 am
ThrRoff well done
well done

Posts: 999
Location: Washington, DC

Jay,

I believe I was that poster. Lump charcoal lights quick and burns hot and fast. As Z says, it will do well to quickly jack up the temperature of a large smoker. I think in your small Weber that you would have trouble keeping a cool fire for smoking with lump. You could only use a couple of pieces and would be opening the kettle every 20 minutes or so to add fuel. I would recommed some good briquettes for this use.
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Post Sun Jun 13, 2004 11:07 am
jayshaw91 medium-rare
medium-rare

Posts: 58
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
The good news is that I buy Kingsford in bulk so I think I'll be set with the briquettes!

Post Sun Jun 13, 2004 2:51 pm
Airfoils well done
well done

Posts: 1063
A good example would be, using a chimney of hot Kingford on top of a bed of lump using Minion method then using lump for temp control though I use wood chunks instead. I also will use a chimney of hot lump on a bed of unlit lump. Keep in mind this is in a bullet.

Post Mon Jun 14, 2004 10:22 am
RichD medium-well
medium-well

Posts: 280
Location: New Jersey
You can do low and slow with lump. However, you need to pay a lot more attention to your smoker to monitor your temps. I do not like to use lump if I am going to set up a minion burn. In my opinion it creates too much smoke as the fule ignites. If I'm using lump for an extended time I will get 1 - 2 lit chimneys in my firebox to start then replenish with a lit chimney as I need to.
I do find that I get a nice long burn with briquetts when I set up a mnion burn (6 - 8 Hours).

RichD

Post Tue Jun 15, 2004 2:22 am
starpacker medium-rare
medium-rare

Posts: 53
Location: southern Arizona
Jay,

I feel funny giving advice, when I am usually asking for it.

Now, I will only use charcoal equipment, (CharBroil Santa Fe grill, and Brinkmann water smoker,) and based upon various comments by other grillers, I only use lump charcoal. I buy Mexican Mesquite charcoal by the 40 lb. bag, and it is pure mesquite wood ocnverted to charcoal. No binders, floor sweepings, petroleum products of any kind, etc. When I have to add more charcoal, I just dump in the new lumps, there is no period of bitter, acrid smoke while it ignites. I have had great success with my selection of fuel for both grilling and smoking. As long as the draft controls don't stick on me, I can get and maintain the temp needed. (In addition, my fuel only costs me $14.00 for a 40 lb bag.)
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Post Thu Jun 17, 2004 8:23 am
Airfoils well done
well done

Posts: 1063
RichD wrote:
You can do low and slow with lump. However, you need to pay a lot more attention to your smoker to monitor your temps. I do not like to use lump if I am going to set up a minion burn. In my opinion it creates too much smoke as the fule ignites. If I'm using lump for an extended time I will get 1 - 2 lit chimneys in my firebox to start then replenish with a lit chimney as I need to.
I do find that I get a nice long burn with briquetts when I set up a mnion burn (6 - 8 Hours).
RichD


Fair enough, I can understand your struggling with it in your smoker. I have a handle on it in my however and using lump minion is no problem whatsoever with temps or smoke. I'm using a Weber bullet. What do you have? Must be large if you are using 2 fully lit chimneys in a smoker.

Post Thu Jun 17, 2004 9:20 am
RichD medium-well
medium-well

Posts: 280
Location: New Jersey
Air, I have a Silver Smoker which is a horizontal/offset. I don't struggle with the lump. It just requires a little more attention to the smoker becuase it burns hotter and quicker. I don't have any problem keeping temps I just need to be more aware of what the smoker is doing. I don't like to use lump for a minion burn because it ignites faster and generates more smoke than I want. I like to smoke with just a kiss of smoke. Because I don't use it for a minion burn when I want a longer intial burn I will use two full lit chimneys to start. I get up to temp quickly this way and don't have to add more fuel so soon. This is only my opinion, by all means use what work best for you.
Now, to add a little more confusion to the topic I will sometimes set up a minion burn with briquettes in the firebox and a full chimney of lump. This way a get the longer more controlled burn I am looking for and that kiss of smoke that I like.

RichD

Post Thu Jun 17, 2004 1:43 pm
Airfoils well done
well done

Posts: 1063
RichD wrote:
Air, I have a Silver Smoker which is a horizontal/offset. I don't struggle with the lump. It just requires a little more attention to the smoker becuase it burns hotter and quicker. I don't have any problem keeping temps I just need to be more aware of what the smoker is doing. I don't like to use lump for a minion burn because it ignites faster and generates more smoke than I want. I like to smoke with just a kiss of smoke. Because I don't use it for a minion burn when I want a longer intial burn I will use two full lit chimneys to start. I get up to temp quickly this way and don't have to add more fuel so soon. This is only my opinion, by all means use what work best for you.
Now, to add a little more confusion to the topic I will sometimes set up a minion burn with briquettes in the firebox and a full chimney of lump. This way a get the longer more controlled burn I am looking for and that kiss of smoke that I like.

RichD


JMHO but I would never go lump on briquettes. I would rather burn off the binders and dust from briquettes before introducing them to the cooking environment. There isn't this problem with lump. It burns clean and mine at least is laregly smokeless unless I am introducing smoking woods to the chamber. I don't know why your lump burns smokey because it shouldn't if its good lump. Mine burns clean and hot. Did you get it wet? Did you leave it outside? In any case, here are some combination I would use:

hot briquettes on lump
hot briquettes on wood
hot lump on lump
hot lump on wood
hot wood on wood
hot wood on lump

In no case would I use briquettes as the bed for my minion burn. As an analogy I would liken it to using a chimney starter vs. using lighter fluid. Its just how I do things but I don't like raw briquettes in my cook chamber. I almost always use briquettes on top of lump and then add wood chunks for temp control and smoke. More often than not though, my temps are rock steady and any fluctuations require only a subtle turn of a vent.

Post Thu Jun 17, 2004 2:58 pm
RichD medium-well
medium-well

Posts: 280
Location: New Jersey
I use Royal Oak natural wood charcoal as that is what is readily available here. I keep it in the garage so it isn't exposed directly to the elements. I have never had a problem with Kingsford briquettes before. I use them this way all the time and never once had them effect the taste of the food. In fact if I were to smoke two of anykind of meat one with the briquette set up and one with the lump set up, serve them side by side I think it unlikely that you would be able to tell them apart. I would only use the Kingsford in this way though. I find them to be a high quality briquette.
Anyway, back to the original topic. Lump can be used for low and slow cooking. You just need to know your smoker and pay a little more attention to it while cooking.
Who knows Air, maybe sometime we can prove or disprove my theory.
In the mean time enjoy!

RichD

Post Fri Jun 18, 2004 7:47 am
Airfoils well done
well done

Posts: 1063
For my part, I can definately tell a difference for sure which is why I do it the way I do and I use nothing but regular Kingsford when I use briquettes also. If you can't tell any difference then it's really a moot point for you anyway which is puzzling given your insistance on this method. Some people swear there is little difference between gas and charcoal while others of us definitely can tell a noted difference. Once you have your fire right in a smoker, the heat is regulated by how much oxygen and fuel you have. It doesn't matter what the fuel is, just that it burns. In the instance of briquettes they are more dense so you use less of it and hence they also burn longer. Since lump is less dense, your answer lies in using more ot it (lump) compared to charcoal. A chimney of briquettes doesn't equal a chimney of lump since their densities are so different. If you're constantly tending it then use more lump and start out with a cooler fire. In a Weber bullet I do no more tending of lump than I would briquettes. Neither fuel is exhausted by the time I finish my cooks and I usually take about 12 hours for my pork shoulder. The only thing I do to the fire during that time is pitch in some wood chunks for smoke.

Post Fri Jun 18, 2004 8:07 am
Grand Scale BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 4272
Location: York, PA
Well said Airfoils!!
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Post Fri Jun 18, 2004 8:40 am
RichD medium-well
medium-well

Posts: 280
Location: New Jersey
Air, I am not trying to be argumentative nor am I insisting on anyone particular method. I have simply stated what I find happens when I use the lump for an extended burn as opposed to briquetts. I do know how the heat is regulated that was never the issue.
You are right as the briquettes are more dense they tend to ignite slower when spread out in the firebox. Correct me if I am wrong, but in the Webber butllet you have a charcoal pan which would keep the coal from being spread out at least as compared to the firebox on my horizontal. I am thinking that if I use the lump in a charcoal basket it would be more tightly packed and ignite slower creating less smoke. I think the reason I am getting too much smoke is because it is igniting much faster due to how spread out it is in the firebox. What do you think about this?

RichD

Post Fri Jun 18, 2004 11:55 am
Airfoils well done
well done

Posts: 1063
RichD wrote:
I am thinking that if I use the lump in a charcoal basket it would be more tightly packed and ignite slower creating less smoke. I think the reason I am getting too much smoke is because it is igniting much faster due to how spread out it is in the firebox. What do you think about this? RichD


I think you've largely answered your own question. :wink: Now if we could just get you to drop using unlit beds of briquettes lighting off with food in the chamber... :)

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