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I'm confused about how to add more charcoal to an already lit fire

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    I'm confused about how to add more charcoal to an already lit fire

    From http://amazingribs.com/BBQ_buyers_gu...coal_fire.html
    For long cooks

    Part of the problem with charcoal is that it starts cold, heats up rapidly, hits a peak, and then slowly cools as the fuel is consumed.
    But it is important to keep the temp of your grill or smoker constant. There are several clever solutions. The core concept of them all is that you put lit coals on top of unlit coals, or visa versa, or side by side, and the ignition of the new coals synchronizes with the death of old coals.
    They work well with one noteworthy problem. Freshly lit coals put out a lot of smoke, and it is thick white smoke, not the thin blue smoke that makes the best flavor.
    A lot of questions about this.

    you put lit coals on top of unlit coals
    How the heck do you get the lit coals out of the grill so as to add the unlit coals! It doesn't say. The Minion Method is mentioned, but that uses a heck of a lot of charcoal.

    you start by pouring a Weber chimney full of unlit coals (80 briquets) into the grill or smoker and bury about three chunks of wood in the pile. Then put 1/2 a Weber chimney (40 briquets) of hot coals on top of cold coals, and a lump of wood on top.
    You bury wood in the pile? I thought smoking was supposed to go for only the first hour or so of cooking. If you do more after this, your food will be over-smoked.

    Freshly lit coals put out a lot of smoke, and it is thick white smoke, not the thin blue smoke that makes the best flavor.
    How do you get around this problem? Last week when I made my rubbery chicken, I had to add more coals. I had to place them on top of the burning coals as I saw no way of doing it otherwise. Sure enough, they put off that white smoke for about 30 minutes until they all caught. What am I supposed to do with my food during this time? Can't put it on the grill, it will taste bad due to the white smoke. Can't take it off the grill, the temperature will fall and it will stop cooking. What to do?

    I thought of lighting coals in my chimney, but that doesn't really work for some reason. I have tried again and again and the newspaper balls just burn up and don't light the coals. It works sometimes, but it's unpredictable, which means I can't use it. I had to switch to those sawdust cubes to light my fire, and they work fine.

    The Fuse method works best for me. I can get a constant 240 temp for about 7 hours doing nothing more than a few changes on the exhaust vent. Doesn't overpower the ribs with smoke because on 2 or 3 coals slowly light at one time. I've attached a screenshot of my constant temperature to show how easy it is to maintain a low and slow cooking method. I mean I kind of felt stupid that I didn't figure this out on my own.


      The Weber lighter cubes work really well in a chimney. I don't usually use newspaper, per say, but instead use the sales paper inserts that come in the Wednesday paper.


        when you use the fuse, you have all four stages of Pyrolysis occurring at the same time. You will always have white smoke using this method.
        When i cook chicken over coals, i typically put a a few pcs of applewood chunks under about 12 briquettes and light only about half a chimney. Once ready, i dump that on the chunks and unlit briquettes and close the lid to warm the cooker. Once the cooker is hot, and the white smoke has mitigated, put the meat on the grill. If more coals are needed, just watch your temps and don't worry about white smoke at this stage... unless you are basting the chicken, it should be skinned over enough to limit additional smoke.

        Smoke, i have found, is a relative taste. If you grew up with over-smoked food, you probably find that you desire that same level now. I know a guy that makes jerky so smokey that if he opens the ziplock bag on the other side of the room, everybody can smell it within a few minutes and you wonder what is burning! That is just the way he's used to it. Most people prefer a "kiss" of smoke... something sensual but not overpowering. Practice and repetition is the only way to find the level that appeals to you. and as always, Your Mileage May Vary.
        Last edited by CurlingDog; September 18, 2015, 12:12 PM.



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