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A New Charcoal in Town - Review Concluded

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beercuer User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 2286
Location: Southern Californy
... Well, new to me in my town at least. As I stopped by the local Trader Joe's to pick up my dark yolk eggs, I met with a huge stack of these 18 pound bags of all natural hardwood charcoal briquettes at $6.99/bag. 100% hardwood, high heat, long burn, very low ash intrigued me. Some of you might be interested to know that this charcoal is made in Mexico. Here is a pic:

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The reverse side of the bag describes the virtues of this charcoal as you can read for yourself. Interesting, yes?

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I bet you would like to see a side-by-side comparison between one of these briquettes and a Kingsford. So here it is. See that it is significantly larger and heavier than a Kingsford. I also smelled the two. I discerned a subtle but more salty and sour aroma from the Kingsford, and a rather neutral unscented quality about the TJ's.

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I'm excited to give this TJ's charcoal a tryout. I am hoping to come up with the strength to do some pizzas this weekend. Of course, I'll also be injecting some hickory smoke into the works. Meanwhile, may the Q be with you! :D
Last edited by beercuer on Sat Aug 11, 2012 9:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Thu Aug 09, 2012 4:39 pm
jsperk well done
well done

Posts: 945
Location: Pittsburgh PA
Should be some good stuff if it's anything like Humphrey's brand hardwood briquettes. I'll have to look for some.
Thanks
Weber OTG/smokneator/rotisserie
Grill Dome/Stoker

Post Thu Aug 09, 2012 4:56 pm
jstewart well done
well done

Posts: 945
Location: Simi Valley, CA
It is good, in fact, that it what I'm using right now for the ribs. It is also what I used for the brisket and the butt. I use this brand whenever I'm cooking low and slow and I get pretty good burn times. The charcoal is actually Rancher HD that is packaged for Trader Joes.
Jimmy
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CG Super Pro w/SFB
Weber One Touch Silver

Post Thu Aug 09, 2012 10:58 pm
scotts1919 medium
medium

Posts: 169
Location: Chicago

You made a great purchase!

I use this stuff all the time. I am making my way to my local trader joes this weekend to stock up for the winter because around these parts they only stock it in the summer!

:shock:
18.5 WSM
22.5 Weber Silver
22.5 Weber Performer
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Post Fri Aug 10, 2012 7:16 am
jfm0830 well done
well done

Posts: 2638
Location: Northeastern MA

My guess for that charcoal would have been Cowboy Brand. The fact that it is Humphreys is even better IMHO. I love all natural briquettes and they are all I use in my CG. I've been using them for six years now. For my first year I used the original blue bag Kingsford. When they switched to the New (and Improved-NOT!!) Kingsford I switched to all natural briquettes and have never looked back. I was amazed at the better heat and far far less ash.

You will find when you light them up you will like the smell even better-it should smell like real wood as opposed to the odd smell of Kingsford. If it is like any of the all natural briquettes I've tried, it will be harder to light (you may need more newspaper), it will burn hotter, and it is a little fussier to control. It is odd, they are steadier in the long run, but fussier. They are closer to lump in a way than briquettes. Just be careful and don't let it run away on you. If you overshoot you temp by much it can be harder to bring down. You should get a longer burn too. Just be careful with when you replace the coals on a long cook. Kingsford used to start a long slow decline in temps about an hour before they were spent and I knew I had maybe 30 minutes to swap. The all naturals seem to burn very steady right up to the end. You open up the SFB and you see these 3/4 pieces of coals that disintegrate when you move the charcoal baskets. Then you are left with nothing in the basket to keep the temps high.

Back to beercuer's find. Thanks for the heads up and shots of the bag. Please give us a report of your impressions. I will be curious to see if the Trader Joes around here bother to carry them through the Winter. The natural briquettes are hard enough to get in the summer, but Stubbs is the only brand I can get in the Winter.

Jim
2 Large BGEs
Kenmore Elite 6 Burner Gas Grill
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BBQ Site: http://grillinsmokin.net

Post Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:29 am
ScreamingChicken BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 7419
Location: Stoughton, WI
jfm0830 wrote:
I will be curious to see if the Trader Joes around here bother to carry them through the Winter. The natural briquettes are hard enough to get in the summer, but Stubbs is the only brand I can get in the Winter.

Hopefully someone will be able to personally compare the TJ charcoal to Stubb's as well. Right now Stubb's is what I use because I can have my parents pick it up for me, but I think there's a TJ in Madison.

Brad

Post Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:35 am
jfm0830 well done
well done

Posts: 2638
Location: Northeastern MA

ScreamingChicken wrote:
Hopefully someone will be able to personally compare the TJ charcoal to Stubb's as well. Right now Stubb's is what I use because I can have my parents pick it up for me, but I think there's a TJ in Madison.

Brad
I plan to grab a bag of it the next time I'm near TJ. I'm curious Brad: I really like the Stubbs, but I find it is the slowest charcoals I've ever used in the charcoal chimney. Have you found it takes a long time to light?

Jim
2 Large BGEs
Kenmore Elite 6 Burner Gas Grill
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BBQ Site: http://grillinsmokin.net

Post Sat Aug 11, 2012 6:28 am
beercuer User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 2286
Location: Southern Californy
Thank you all for your responses and info. I am so hoping to get the steam to fire up some pizzas today and tomorrow. I've got my ingredients collected. Can't wait to give these puppies a try. I like hearing the positive reviews thus far. Knowing the cost of the bbq sauce, I bet the Stubbs charcoal is expensive. I will follow up with my own experience of these asap. :D
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Post Sat Aug 11, 2012 7:09 am
jfm0830 well done
well done

Posts: 2638
Location: Northeastern MA

beercuer wrote:
...Knowing the cost of the bbq sauce, I bet the Stubbs charcoal is expensive...
It is sold to Lowe's around here. I pay about $7.99 for a 15 pound bag for it.

Jim
2 Large BGEs
Kenmore Elite 6 Burner Gas Grill
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BBQ Site: http://grillinsmokin.net

Post Sat Aug 11, 2012 7:26 am
beercuer User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 2286
Location: Southern Californy
Thanks Jim. That's actually cheaper than I imagined. I've got to check out my local Lowe's. Here they used to sell Royal Oak for a good price. Right now, I'm really jazzed about the idea of hardwood briquettes without all the chemicals added. For a long time around here it was either Kingsford or bust. None of the alternatives could measure up to it. That tells you something about how awful they are. :D
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Post Sat Aug 11, 2012 8:00 am
jfm0830 well done
well done

Posts: 2638
Location: Northeastern MA

You're welcome beercuer! Once you start using all natural hardwood briquettes I doubt you'll ever go back. My switch was when Kingsford came out with their slotted and supposedly improved New Kingsford briquettes. They were just horrible and I was looking for alternatives. Jim Minion (yes that Jim Minion) used to visit this board once in a while back in that day. He responded to one of my posts and suggested using Duraflame all-natural hardwood briquettes. He did say they were his new sponsor, but the fact he would use this on his food for competition told me all I needed. I tried the all natural and never went back. I also noticed that SR was using Duraflame on BBQU at that time and they sponsored him as well. It also looked like there were bags of it around on the set of Planet Barbecue.

One thing to watch on the Stubbs, is I found it takes sometimes 30 to 45 minutes to get a charcoal chimney of it going. Once it's going it runs as well as any all-natural briquettes I've used. That also reminds me that I should tell you to read the directions on the bag of charcoal, you bought because the all-natural briquettes sometimes take an extra sheet or half sheet of newspaper in your chimney.

And something I know you'd appreciate: yesterday I was at the butcher buying a couple more of those prime grade ribeyes to make for my anniversary yesterday. While there, I noticed some new hot dogs that were bigger in size than regular dogs. Turns out they are a new type of Kayem (my favorite brand of hotdog) all beef franks with natural casings. They're made for sale in premium butcher shops. Of course you know I immediately grabbed six for tryout. I'm rather excited about the prospect of having a more and better version of my favorite dog.Hopefullybit will be a wiener!!

Jim
2 Large BGEs
Kenmore Elite 6 Burner Gas Grill
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BBQ Site: http://grillinsmokin.net

Post Sat Aug 11, 2012 8:27 am
beercuer User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 2286
Location: Southern Californy
"Wiener?"-- You're really on a roll this mornin' my friend. Congratulations on your Kayem discovery and Happy Anniversary to you as well! I'm thinking they sound like fine dining dogs. Luv to see pics of them cooked up.

I sure do like hearing about the hardwood. I have and have used lump, but that gets a little costly for my budget, especially for longer cooks. Many a time I add lump to the charcoal and do a mix. Thanks for the added inspiration to get my behind out to the pit today. And it will be a fiery pit as the weather has been 107-109 degrees past few days. :D
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Re:

Post Sat Aug 11, 2012 9:34 am
ScreamingChicken BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 7419
Location: Stoughton, WI
jfm0830 wrote:
I'm curious Brad: I really like the Stubbs, but I find it is the slowest charcoals I've ever used in the charcoal chimney. Have you found it takes a long time to light?

I opened a fresh bag last night and a smaller chimney was fully ablaze in about 20-25 minutes, which is pretty much normal and matches up with the times you see and seems to be on par with other charcoals I've used.

I can get Duraflame at the True Value in the next town over, so that's my primary briquette. In fact, I should pick up a couple of bags this weekend.

Post Sat Aug 11, 2012 1:50 pm
jfm0830 well done
well done

Posts: 2638
Location: Northeastern MA

ScreamingChicken wrote:
...I opened a fresh bag last night and a smaller chimney was fully ablaze in about 20-25 minutes, which is pretty much normal and matches up with the times you see and seems to be on par with other charcoals I've used...
I've been using the Stubbs for about 21 months now, and it has been consistently slow to light. About 30 minutes in the summer, and about 40 minutes in the winter. Other than that I really like it. It seems to perform about as good as any other all-natural briquettes that I have used. And considering it's the only one I can get around here in the winter, that's a good thing. I'll be interested to see if the TJ lump is stocked year round. Fingers crossed.

Jim
2 Large BGEs
Kenmore Elite 6 Burner Gas Grill
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BBQ Site: http://grillinsmokin.net

Post Sat Aug 11, 2012 5:46 pm
Beer B Q medium-rare
medium-rare

Posts: 51
Location: Sierra foothills
I've been using this charcoal for a long time now. I've surely burned over 100 bags. The best compromise between briqs and lump IMO. Excellent product at a good price.

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