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Rookie Mistake using lump--

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    Rookie Mistake using lump--

    So after having to babysit and maintenace my lump charcoal fires the past few smokes, I decided to re-read the Zen of charcoal to see what I can do to improve the process. Yeah pork butts take the wild temp fluctuations ok, but it is a huge PIA sitting and watching the thermometer and having to make SEVERAL adjustments (while my beer gets warm, mind you - lol) during the cook.

    A light bulb went off this time and I decided to drop back and punt the lump for blue and white Kingsford to elimiate the variable of inconsisntent heat source - and I'm glad I did. Using the Minion method (with apple wood) I was able to get a steady 225-240 for almost 3 hours at a time.

    Granted the Kingsford took a bit more newspaper to get started in the chimney starter and left ALOT more ash behind, but at this point as a novice smoker I can live with it if I can get a good, long-lasting, consistent and repeatable heat source. A rookie mistake putting the cart before the horse with lump - I had done everything else on my prep and execution so meticulously; but then failed to really get the basics down on my heat source.

    The briquettes identical size made it nice as well - I didn't have to dump a couple of bags of lump out and sort through the pieces to lay the fire I wanted - just rip and pour with the Kingsford. I will be sticking with the blue and white until I get my sea-legs; especially with the new PBC being delivered next week!

    Here is a before and after pic on the 6 lb pork butt I did yesterday in my CVS with Kingsford:
    Attached Files
    Last edited by HC in SC; November 23, 2014, 09:05 AM.

    Your experiences are not unique. Meathead mentions he usually uses Kingsford blue (or Competition, for higher heat depending on the cook). I use Kingsford blue. There are some die hard lump users out there, and some of that is tradition or pure preference for preference's sake, sometimes a legitimate preference for the lower ash buildup in ceramic cookers. I would use lump for a steak or burger cook- something quicker. I will never use lump for a long low & slow (I usually use logs anyway). I tried it and had the same experiences as you. I've tried every brand available, including diff brands of briquets, even mail order stuff not available locally, and I go back to Kingsford... for what it's worth. You just cant beat its repeatable results and low price point, especially when the holiday sales are on at the big box stores. And no I don't work for them, lol.

    I try to teach people of the benefits of briquets being a uniform, measurable heat source. Much the same as we add 1 tsp of salt, or 1/2 stick butter to a recipe, we can similarly use briquets in the same manner, being able to repeat results in our respective cookers by using a certain amount of charcoal briquets.


    • HC in SC
      HC in SC commented
      Editing a comment
      Right on Huskee. I left a similar comment on the Zen of charcoal section for newbies like me.

      I had started using quality lump (Publix greenwise) because a buddy at work used it with great success - and it performed exactly like it was supposed to - but if you don't have a good amount of experience in general with keeping a conisitent, repeatable fire then you will end up flailing when the temps dip or spike - potentally over-correcting and entering a downward spiral that can make your cook much more work with far less desirable product.

      At least I'll be starting out on the right foot with the PBC - despite all of the claims of ease of use I am still somewhat intimdated. At the end of the day the heat source will not be a variable for me which is 1/2 the battle.
      Last edited by HC in SC; November 23, 2014, 06:50 AM.

    i think lump works better in kamados because the ceramic insulation holds the heat better. You get the oven up to temp, then shut the air flow off almost completely, preventing spikes in combustion.


    • HC in SC
      HC in SC commented
      Editing a comment
      That seems to be consistent with alot of the posters here with BGEs / Kamados.

      The biggest dislike with the Kingsford is the amount of ash - it is easily 10x more ash than lump leaves; but given all of the plusses it offers for consistency (including price) I'll deal with the extra ash problem for now.

    I am smoking a pork butt right now with lump, just to use it up. I kinda like tending the fire right now but I will enjoy the consistency later. After this strictly Kingsford. I am new so I do not mind checking my Maverick, and to think I use to cook without one.....


    • HC in SC
      HC in SC commented
      Editing a comment
      Yeah - I like tending a fire myself, but the novelty quickly wore off when I was constatly making adjustments that either didn't make much of a difference or were over-corrections. Thankfully butts can stand all of that temperature jacking - if I had done ribs or a brisket it might have been toast.

      I'll be using the remainder of my lump to start my fire pit.


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