Board index Barbecue Board General Discussion Lump or Briquets

Lump or Briquets

This is the place to ask your BBQ questions, share information, and more.
Post Sat Feb 24, 2007 4:41 pm

Posts: 4
Location: Topsham, Maine
I just started this obsession this past Fall and the biggest problem I continue to have is consistent heat. For example, I've started 2 chimneys of lump and have trouble getting the temp to maintain-its a big spike, then quick drop. I initially started with 1 chimney, but have trouble getting the temp up to 225-250. I have played around with the air vents on the side and the chimney, but I do not feel I have any clue on what to do. I'd like to have some idea of what I'm doing instead of just winging it as I go along.

I would also like to know what the differences are (if any) of using lump or briquet's. Reading the posts, I thought the best thing to use was lump since it wouldn't give off any residue/odor and was a better heat. Is there a briquet that true bbq smokers use? And how much fuel should I expect to use smoking a butt? I seem to be going through more than a bag and refueling about every 45 minutes. I've seen posts where people say they can get their smoker to temp and leave it for much longer than that. I want to enjoy the process but I feel like I am constantly working on fuels issues and too stressed out about getting to, and maintaining, temp. that I'm not enjoying the process the way God intended:) Thanks for your help! My smoker is snowed in up to the handles, but I'm about ready to go dig it out and get the season started!!

Post Sat Feb 24, 2007 4:45 pm
mrgrumpy well done
well done

Posts: 1846
Location: North Carolina

Welcome VLS 06 BBQ,

Lump in my opinion is a better fuel than briquets. The draw back is that lump does burn hotter, and does not last as long. It is because if you look, it is nothing more than charred wood. Briquets are compressed with binders, so it is more dense, and does burn longer, but you will have a LOT more ash.

Lump does give better flavor in my opinion, and if you stay with it, adding it more often, it does do an extremely good job. It took me some getting use to after switching from coals, but I won't go back.

I hope this helps.

Bill

Post Sat Feb 24, 2007 4:48 pm
Village Idiot well done
well done

Posts: 500
Location: Near Reading, PA
What smoker do you have?

When I did my first smoke, I had trouble maintaining the proper temp. For me I think the right combo is to fill my basket in the SFB with unlit lump, then top it off with one full chimney of lit lump.
Last time I looked, the temp of the pit was 263. I would like to get it somewhere around 230-250 but for my second attempt, I can't really complain. From what I read in a book of mine, it's ok to start out at something like 300 because the meat you put on is going to be cold. After a half hour or so, if the temp hasn't dropped to the desired range, then you'll have to make adjustments like removing some of the hot coals, or like I just did, slide the ash tray out a little and let some of the heat vent.

Also go to nakedwhiz.com. That website has an extensive section on lump charcoal, and some articles on the lump-vs-briquettes debate.
Chargriller with SFB
Home-made charcoal basket
Maverick ET-73

Post Sat Feb 24, 2007 5:09 pm

Posts: 4
Location: Topsham, Maine
Sorry about not being more particular. I have the Chargriller w/SFB. I am familiar with the differences between the two kinds of fuel, but not with the results of using them. I guess I'm looking for some affirmation that I'm not doing anything wrong! How do people get their smoker started-1 chimney or 2? Do you add unlit or lit fuel when adding? When should I be adding fuel-once the temp has dropped below 225, or at a regular interval for consistency?

Andrew

Post Sat Feb 24, 2007 5:18 pm
Village Idiot well done
well done

Posts: 500
Location: Near Reading, PA
I started this smoke session with 1 lit chimney of lump. Someone else told me(I forget who) that when using lump, add it unlit....when using briquettes, add it lit.

As far as knowing when to add the lump, I'll be playing around with that today since I don't really know myself.

8)
Chargriller with SFB
Home-made charcoal basket
Maverick ET-73

Post Sat Feb 24, 2007 5:23 pm
Ian Mack well done
well done

Posts: 367
Location: Cornwall, UK

I recently tried some compressed coconut husk briquettes, I found them to be extremely good in terms of consistent heat and they really do burn for a longer time. 3Kg's gave the equivalent burn time as 5Kg's of normal briquettes.

Post Mon Feb 26, 2007 11:39 am
jamesstew well done
well done

Posts: 899
Location: Minnesota
I agree that lump does give better flavor than briquets but I've found that the better, slower burning lump has a more neutral flavor that Royal Oak. Wicked Good works great and is slower burning, you should be able to get it where you live. However after cooking with lump for years I have gone back to briquets. Yes they leave more ash but this is not an issue with my setup, with your CG you should be able to access the fire and give things a shake also. A compromise you could look into is hard-wood briquets, they are made of compressed wood-char and a starch binder and leave far less ash that regular briquets. Royal-Oak make a type under called Chef's Select and Duraflame also makes a natural briquet. Otherwise if you can deal with the extra ash you could use briquets and lump together, that way you get the flavor from the lump and the slow-burn of the briquet. Or you could start your fire with briquets and add lump to maintain temps throughout the cook. Don't let anyone scare you away from using briquets, a lot of top restaurants use them including the Weber Grill in Chicago, which uses standard Kingsford. Whatever you end up using experimenting is always a blast and keeps the hobby interesting.

Post Mon Feb 26, 2007 7:29 pm
mrgrumpy well done
well done

Posts: 1846
Location: North Carolina

Lump, and I always start with 2 chimneys.... the first one starts to get the main chamber hot, and the 2nd one reinforces the heat and brings it up to a point to be able to start to close down the sfb damper..... then just watch your temps and add as needed. Usually abt once chimney per hour. Give or take some time depending on outside temps, wind, etc.....

Bill

Post Tue Feb 27, 2007 4:39 pm
jamesstew well done
well done

Posts: 899
Location: Minnesota
Here's an interesting development that ties into the best of both worlds scenario; Wicked Good Charcoal now has a briquet version of their splendid Weekend Warrior charcoal.

Post Thu Mar 01, 2007 12:48 am
BingeAndPurge medium
medium

Posts: 141
Location: Ohio
Was going to post this exact rpoblem tonight, but figured I'd check previous posts first since I know I've seen it before. I hope you don't mind me adding my experience in here.

I received my CG-SP with the SFB for Christmas. The weather was warm in OH at the time so I did get to season it, but hadn't got to cook on it until today. Tonight I did a BCC. Outside temp was about 50. I do not have a thermo for my grate yet, but the lid thermo would get up to 200 and level out with one chimney and slowly drop to 150 over the coarse of an hour. My fuel consisted of el cheapo Sam's Choice briquettes that I had leftover from my seasoning session, and thankfully I am now out of the stuff so I can move on to bigger and better things (ash was a huge problem). I used 2 aluminum drip pans with about an inch of water in each in the main chamber on the tray which I left upright and all the way down. After 2 hours with the bird on the grill and not including warm-up time, the temp of the chicken registered at 170 and turned out fine. I added another half chimney and left the chicken on maybe 30 minutes longer while I finnished up six foil-wrapped spuds in the coals, an effort that brought the temp down to a consistent 150.

Tonight's simple experience taught me a few things. I know my fuel choice can be improved, and I know I need to invest in a grate thermometer to get better readings of temp. Ash was a huge problem, I went through more fuel than I expected and had to leave both dampers fully opened to keep temps up. I do wonder if maintaining temps of 250-300 is reasonable with the SFB. Would doing the mod to the SFB where you add a higher rack for the coals do the trick? I have plans for bigger things than a single BCC and could use some advice and input on how to maintain medium temps (250-300) with the SFB over a long period of time. Thanks.
Back in the land of poisonous nuts

Post Thu Mar 01, 2007 2:21 am
MaineiacSmoker well done
well done

Posts: 438
Location: Western Maine
VLS - Welcome from a fellow Mainer!!! I started with briquets, but have since switched to Wicked Good Lump (a Maine Company!!!). According to their web site, Finest Hearth and Home in Topsham is a distributer for them. I think the stuff is excellent.....I would only go back to briquets if I were in a bind, and couldn't get down to Raymond to get more Wicked Good...


Congrats on your toy.


Cheers,


Dave
Image

CB 45K Gasser
Modified CG w/ SFB

Post Fri Mar 02, 2007 3:06 pm
jamesstew well done
well done

Posts: 899
Location: Minnesota
Maniac, would you consider trying the Wicked Good/Weekend Warrior briquets? Apparently they're made with the same blend of wood.

Post Fri Mar 02, 2007 5:42 pm
Attrill well done
well done

Posts: 663
Location: Chicago

I switched almost entirely to lump after using a mix of Kingsford and wood chunks for years. Lump is much better in terms of taste, but I've found a source of Royal Oak Chef's Select and am very happy with that as well. I mix both with wood chunks.

Since finding a good briqette I've starting using briqettes more often for indirect grilling and smoking, and just using the lump for steaks and such (for anything that can use the higher heat).

Post Fri Mar 02, 2007 6:31 pm
tex_toby well done
well done

Posts: 1798
Location: Van Alstyne, Texas

BingeAndPurge wrote:
Was going to post this exact rpoblem tonight, but figured I'd check previous posts first since I know I've seen it before. I hope you don't mind me adding my experience in here.

I received my CG-SP with the SFB for Christmas. The weather was warm in OH at the time so I did get to season it, but hadn't got to cook on it until today. Tonight I did a BCC. Outside temp was about 50. I do not have a thermo for my grate yet, but the lid thermo would get up to 200 and level out with one chimney and slowly drop to 150 over the coarse of an hour. My fuel consisted of el cheapo Sam's Choice briquettes that I had leftover from my seasoning session, and thankfully I am now out of the stuff so I can move on to bigger and better things (ash was a huge problem). I used 2 aluminum drip pans with about an inch of water in each in the main chamber on the tray which I left upright and all the way down. After 2 hours with the bird on the grill and not including warm-up time, the temp of the chicken registered at 170 and turned out fine. I added another half chimney and left the chicken on maybe 30 minutes longer while I finnished up six foil-wrapped spuds in the coals, an effort that brought the temp down to a consistent 150.

Tonight's simple experience taught me a few things. I know my fuel choice can be improved, and I know I need to invest in a grate thermometer to get better readings of temp. Ash was a huge problem, I went through more fuel than I expected and had to leave both dampers fully opened to keep temps up. I do wonder if maintaining temps of 250-300 is reasonable with the SFB. Would doing the mod to the SFB where you add a higher rack for the coals do the trick? I have plans for bigger things than a single BCC and could use some advice and input on how to maintain medium temps (250-300) with the SFB over a long period of time. Thanks.


I think maintaining a temp between 250 & 300 would be difficult with a unmodified/slightly modified CG when using the SFB. I can initially get these temps, but as far as maintaining, I think more of around 220 - 250. If you want to maintain higer temps, why not use the main chamber indirectly? Just my two cents...

tex 8)

Next

Return to General Discussion