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Kingsford Charcoal

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    Kingsford Charcoal

    So I got into kettle cooking with charcoal about 3 years ago after about 3 years of pellet cooking. Missed the smell of charcoal. I would buy a two pack of KBB and it was great. Then the big box stores would have their usual sales and like many here, I stocked up. It seems at that point the odor when starting the coals seemed a bit off. About that time there was a thread here with people complaining about the smell and wondering if Kingsford changed their formula. So then I started trying Weber and B&B. I would still use KBB for quicker cooks. I then decided to give a bag of Kingsford Professional a shot. That had a much more pleasant smell at start up. So I decided when I finished up all the KBB I would switch to Professional when Costco had it on sale.

    So now I have been using Professional for my usual rotation of cooks the last month or so (except for long cooks, I use Weber). Maybe it's just me, but it seems like Professional doesn't really last or perform any better than KBB. I just did Vortex wings for the first time with Professional last night. I used a heaping large chimney and by the time the top coals began to ash, I dumped them into the Vortex and it only filled the Vortex up to about a little over half full. I normally used KBB for wings and could swear it would fill the Vortex almost all the way to the top. It's almost as if Kingsford came up with a cheaper formula for KBB and then just re-labeled the original KBB as Professional. It was a pretty short period of time when I first started with KBB, but I could swear it smelled a lot better then than it does now. Anyone else notice this?

    #2
    I just returned to charcoal cooking a month or so ago after over 20 years using only gas grills and more recently, a pellet cooker. So I can’t comment on a change in the smell. But I sure do think that the KBB sure burns a lot faster. To follow your example, I did a batch of Vortex wings a couple of days ago. I lit the coals right in the Vortex using the gas igniter on my Weber Performer. The Vortex was full with the coals heaped a solid 2” above the top edge when lighting. By the time the coals were ready for cooking, they were at least 2” or so below the top edge. By the end of the cook, about 50 min, it was less than half full and had cooled down considerably. This surprised me after such a short cook.

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      #3
      I use KBB in the PBC and in the past I've used Pro in the WSJ. I've not been able to find Pro at the Club recently so I've just bought my second bag of Long Burning at Lowes. I think the Pro and LB keep my GrillGrates hot for a while when I clean them after dinner.

      There are some YouTube videos with comparisons, but I think they are a few years old. Maybe I'll do my own comparison here and take some notes to report.

      I do know this; ALL Kingsford stinks to me when it's starting up in the chimney.

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        #4
        I have sort of moved away from Kingsford charcoal over the past 5-6 years. Mainly due to the off putting smoke at lighting and the briquettes themselves getting smaller.
        However my better 90% if she sees a Kingsford double bag deal at a big box she normally will drag it home. So yes I have experienced some of what you mentioned in the original post.
        I have switched to B&B oak briquettes mainly. Will definitely burn Weber briquettes (holy grail around here) if I can find them.
        Have been playing around this summer with B&B charlogs. Not totally ready to jump on that band wagon yet. However pretty good for a long burn.
        Additionally, this summer I have been fooling around with Napoleons offering of Coconut Charcoal. Bit of a pain to light, last a loooong time on slow burns. Very little ash content. Only negative is price $33 for 23lbs. However little bit of coal goes along way.

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          #5
          I am of two minds on this.

          First, I have used other brands and liked the results. Specifically, I liked Stubbs. But I can’t find it anywhere anymore.

          Second, though, I really haven’t noticed a lick of difference in the actual results. Charcoal burns, gives off heat, food cooks, food tastes good. Doesn’t matter what brand I use. There is probably a difference in ash content; I wouldn’t notice the difference in emptying the ash after 5 days or 6 days. There is probably a difference in burn time; for grilling all it needs to be is “long enough”, for bbq if it doesn’t make it to the end then it doesn’t matter if I reload at 7 hours or 8 hours.

          As far as smell, I’ve found that KBB smells if you dump the chimney too soon. Let it go until the top is completely ashed over.

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            #6
            Kingsford Professional definitely burns hotter than KBB in my PBC.......30 to 40 degrees hotter on average I think. I agree the Pro burns cleaner, somewhat less ash I believe, and definitely a better smell on lighting. I agree with Mosca that burning it longer reduces the smell. I usually dump into the PBC before total ash over to keep initial temps in PBC down, but I wait to add meat until that smell goes away if using KBB......usually 15 or 20 min. Lets the fire stabilize, white smoke turn to blue or at least be reduced and the KBB smell becomes absent at least for me.

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              #7
              I have a very sensitive nose, and I don't really understand the Kingsford smell issue. Fully lit, it just provides heat like any other briquettes. And it burns long enough to get the job done on long cooks, or I just add more as needed.

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              • Mosca
                Mosca commented
                Editing a comment
                Agree completely. In regular use I notice no odor from KBB.

              #8
              I've never been a big fan of the Kingsford Original mainly because if you don't have them fully lit when you need to add more you get that odor which I don't really like, especially for longer cooks. I've fully switched over to lump. I have noticed that the lump and brickette market have gotten a lot more competitive here recently and they might be losing some business. That said, it would make sense if they tweeked their manufacturing process to keep costs down. Of course, that's just a theory....don't know for sure.

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                #9
                I notice an odor from Kingsford BB when first lighting. They cook fine as far as I am concerned though. They are cheap and available everywhere. To keep that early on odor away, wait to put meat on after they thoroughly heat up. If on a long cook and you need to reload, preheat the new batch in a chimney and dump HOT coals into the coal basket.

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