Charcoal Observation

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Sean T.

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So I had been using Royal Oak Lump Charcoal since I bought my stick burner. I made a basket out of expanded metal to burn it in. It worked good, but I was closer to consistently 220 degrees than 250. The last smoke I did, which happened to be my first attempt at a brisket, I thought I would give regular ol Kingsford briquettes a try. 

Huge difference, they burned a lot hotter and was way more consistent. I had to keep my damper almost all the way closed instead of wide open with the lump. 

I'm sure I'm missing something by going briquette over lump, but I'm not sure what. If the next couple of smokes turn out the same way, I might have to permanently move to briquettes. 

Has anyone else had the same experience?
#1 - February 08, 2017, 12:24:39 pm

Bob Smith

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Sean T. I have been a long time lump charcoal user. That is the only thing to burn in BGE. Everything I've heard and read is lump burns hotter.  I recently was given a Red Smoker Box from Sweet Sine O Mine. I tried the same lump I've used for years and could not get my temps up. I talked to a few folks that have one then called the maker and asked about it. For some reason the only charcoal that can be used in that one, is brickett. The other thing I found with it, is it must be lit in a chimney.  I tried with a propane torch, and still could get the Temps up. Not sure why, but I've lit it with a chimney a few times and temps are good. 
The only l that I've heard that makes any since, is it has to do with the fire box. 
#2 - February 08, 2017, 10:24:23 pm
1 small BGE
FEC 100


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Scott, the one thing I read is in your stick burner??  Are you running on lump or KBB for the whole cook??  If so, what happened to sticks in your stick burner??  I use Royal oak to get my base going, actually under four sticks when I light my Shirley fab offset.  but once I have my base, it is a stick every 45 mins or so.  I like to cook hot and fast with it, so I am at 300 plus degrees.  It sounds like you have an airflow issue.  Two things make a fire, fuel and air.  If you have air, you need more fuel.  If you have enough fuel, you need more air.  Try cracking the firebox open to get more air and high temps.  Also a cleaner burning fire.  Just my 2 cents.  Have fun, it BBQ
#3 - February 09, 2017, 10:18:56 am
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Sean T: What stick burning are you using??

Briquets or lump is always a big debate. I use Royal Oak Lump in my stick burner (Lang 36) due to it's excellent rating on Here's why I prefer lump over briquets. Briquets begin as sawdust and chips from mixed woods. It's cooked down to 25% of it's original weight, then crushed and mixed with starch, sodium nitrate, limestone, borax and sawdust. This mix is then formed into a briquet. As a result of the mix they produce more ash than lump due to all the junk that's added during manufacture BUT they are very consistent bag to bag as compared to lump and the consistency translate to an even burn rate. I think a better choice for briquets is COMPETITION BRIQUETS which only contain starch and a little Borax as a binder. It's less chemical and they produce less ash.

LUMP Charcoal, in my opinion, is the next best thing to cooking with hardwood. Lump is made from hardwood scrapes from saw mills, which is carbonized into irregular size pieces. Lump leaves little ash but more importantly (to me) there aren't the BINDERS you find in briquets but because of their irregular shape you don't get the consistency per bag that you get with briquets. Some reviews saw lump burns hotter than briquets due to their irregular shape but i think they both burn at the same rate.

I fill my charcoal basket with lump and then add a couple of pieces of fast burning CAMP FIRE wood and ignite it with a brush burner (harbor freight). Once I establish a bed of coals I might add some more lump to get my cooker to about 250* and then i add the meat. Then I add hardwood chips for a smoke flavor. I only add hardwood up to 145* internal because the product won't take any more smoke after that. I add lump as needed to maintain about 250* to 275* and control my temp using the damper & pinwheels.

My bottom line is I don't use briquets because of all the crap they use as binders and the high ash content but that's just me. I know a lot of guys that swear briquets are the best. For more info than you'll ever want to know about charcoal go to and check out " the zen of charcoal".   
#4 - February 09, 2017, 03:11:28 pm


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I'm glad every time I get involved in hearing about this great comment. I will go researching to talk again.
#5 - March 12, 2018, 07:52:20 pm


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