Charcoal & Smoking Woods

Smoking and Grilling

Charcoal & Smoking Woods

Postby tony b » Sun Jul 01, 2012 3:13 pm

Did some local recon to see if any of the big box stores carried anything other than Kingsford briquettes.

My traditional "go to" spot for hardwood lump is Menard's in Marion. Found 4 Kg bags of Royal Oak lump for $5.98 each. (Careful, they sell Royal Oak briquettes, too.) In addition to Hickory and Mesquite chunks, today they had Apple chunks, in addition to their normal selection of chips, including Jack Daniels.

Home Depot only has Cowboy brand. It's lumberyard scraps. Yeah, it's hardwood, but barely. Works in a pinch, but burns up fast! They did have a nice selection of smoking woods - chunks and chips. A little pricier than Menards, but not bad. I did notice that they had Alder wood chips, if you're planning to do any fish in the near future, you should check out Alder wood.

Didn't go to Lowes today, but in the past they had nothing to speak of in the way of charcoal or good smoking woods.

Ace Hardware on Center Pt. Rd carries Big Green Egg brand. Decent charcoal (made by Royal Oak for BGE), but very pricey by comparison. Another gouge by BGE in my opinion.

Looking forward to the trek over to HawgEyes to stock up on Weekend Warrior Blend from Wicked Good Charcoal. The only briquettes that I'll use.
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Postby kurtford » Sun Jul 01, 2012 6:45 pm

A guy at work smokes and say he get lump style coal from either Lowes or Home Depot. Talking back and forth between him and all the enthusiasts in the club almost makes me want to give it a try.
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Postby Steven P » Sun Jul 01, 2012 8:41 pm

True Value on Mt. Vernon Rd carries lump Cowboy and also Wicked Good. Also all the Weber chunks.
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Postby jjbuck » Sun Jul 01, 2012 9:16 pm

I have never taken the time to stop and check it out but there is a BBQ and grill store on 8th ave in Marion. Cross the street from Darrels TV store or the Fire department.
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Postby Steven P » Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:23 am

The grill store in Marion has a wide selection of Pellets and Chips. I can't recall seeing bags of lump charcoal there, but then again I wasn't looking for charcoal that day. I do recall they had a good selection of planks as well.
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Charcoal & Smoking Woods

Postby JimPotts » Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:44 am

After one time using a bag of Cowboy charcoal, I swore never to use it again.  The pieces ranged from chunks that were _way_ too big to use, to tiny pieces that fell through the grate.  Also, it popped like a fireworks display.
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Postby brownbeard » Mon Jul 02, 2012 11:24 am

Having tried all manner of fancy lump charcoal, and briquettes, I use kingsford, exclusively. As do many champion BBQ competitors.
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Postby brownbeard » Mon Jul 02, 2012 11:28 am

Having tried all manner of fancy lump charcoal, and briquettes, I use kingsford, exclusively. As do many champion BBQ competitors.
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Postby tony b » Mon Jul 02, 2012 2:38 pm

John - they don't carry any charcoal as I recall, as they don't sell that type of grill. I went in there right after they opened and I asked them if they planned to carry any hardwood charcoals, and they looked at me like I was from another planet.

Steven - thanks for the tip about Wicked Good @ Mt. Vernon Rd. Didn't know anyone local carried it. Will definitely check them out.

Tim - each to his own taste. You know the history of Kingsford - Henry Ford (yeah, the automobile guy) developed the briquette process as a way to get rid of all the wooden pallets accumulating at the car factory. Lemons to lemonade!
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Charcoal & Smoking Woods

Postby JimPotts » Mon Jul 02, 2012 4:03 pm

But, you can't use briquettes in a BGE.  (Unless they're "natural" briquettes, which are pretty rare, and usually overpriced.)

On Mon, Jul 2, 2012 at 12:24 PM, brownbeard <bbq@crbeernuts.org (bbq@crbeernuts.org)> wrote:
Having tried all manner of fancy lump charcoal, and briquettes, I use kingsford, exclusively. As do many champion BBQ competitors.





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Re: Charcoal & Smoking Woods

Postby Steven P » Mon Jul 02, 2012 4:20 pm

JimPotts wrote:But, you can't use briquettes in a BGE.  (Unless they're "natural" briquettes, which are pretty rare, and usually overpriced.)


Umm, seriously? Does it void the warranty or something? I can't imagine it's a functional restriction.
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Charcoal & Smoking Woods

Postby JimPotts » Mon Jul 02, 2012 5:54 pm

It's functional. Apparently the petroleum causes buildup on the inside of the egg.
Granted, it might just be a way to try to sell more BGE brand lump charcoal.  But if it didn't matter, they'd probably sell "special" briquettes at the same price, and make even more profit.

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Postby hoboscratch » Tue Jul 03, 2012 8:28 am

I haven't heard about the petroleum build up aspect, but I know you can use briquettes in a BGE or ceramic cooker. It will produce a lot more ash since its basically pressed hardwood particles held together with binders. It can be a bit of a pain to clean ash out of ceramic cookers. Also, it won't heat up to the high temperatures that lump will. So I wouldn't say its an outright functional limitation, but I would say that ceramic cookers are designed for lump charcoal. It consumes very little at a time and contains the heat extremely efficiently, so it won't burn as fast as it would in a thinner walled kettle grill. Since switching from a weber kettle and WSM to a BGE, I've cooked far more often outside and have only bought 3 bags of lump. I would have gone through twice that much of the briquettes in my prior setups.

That said, I still miss my WSM (too many good memories) and when I was using Weber stuff, I used nothing but Kingsford.
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Charcoal & Smoking Woods

Postby JimPotts » Tue Jul 03, 2012 8:47 am

Supposedly, it builds up at low temperatures, and then when you cook at high temperature, it burns off in a concentrated nasty-tasting smoke.

That said, I can't find anything saying that on the BGE website; they just recommend against using it.  So it might just be urban legend.


However, from what I've just been reading, you get much quicker temperature control with lump in an egg.  Plus, briquettes won't get my egg up to 800 degrees for steak.

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Postby hoboscratch » Tue Jul 03, 2012 9:00 am

Yeah, I've never used it. I've just read you can. Can and should are two different things though, eh?
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