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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 02-15-2010, 09:02 PM   #1
dudz
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Default My review of charcoal types.

Today i did a side by side comparison of 3 charcoal's In my weber grill. I tested RO lump, Stubbs Briquettes, and blue bag Kingsford. I used The exact same weight measurements for each and lit all 3 at once using a weed burner. They were then separated to separate mounds. I tested for Ash produced, burn time, and for consistency. I found that stubbs burned longer than both the RO and kingsford, produced not as much ash as the kingsford (but were close) and far more ash than the RO. The RO was the least consistent and burned fastest but with least ash. The Kingsford sucked but was consistent. The stubbs was my favorite but I have mixed thoughts about using due to the amount of ash. Any thoughts?
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Unread 02-15-2010, 09:16 PM   #2
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Thanks for the comparison. I've used all three, and would concur with your observations. However, for lump, I prefer B and B oak over the RO as it's denser. It's kind of like putting a puzzle together trying to fit all the various sized pieces in my little wsm ring for long cooks. Because I'd rather do puzzles that don't involve charcoal dust, I'm really wanting to try the big RO chef's select briquettes you can buy in the 40 lb bags from DoitBest.com sometime in the near future.
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Unread 02-15-2010, 09:25 PM   #3
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I think they are simmilar to stubbs but bigger. The ash from briquettes bugs me a lot !!! But I love the long burns and consistency.... I am confuzed on what to do and buy.
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Unread 02-15-2010, 09:44 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dudz View Post
I think they are simmilar to stubbs but bigger. The ash from briquettes bugs me a lot !!! But I love the long burns and consistency.... I am confuzed on what to do and buy.
You are overthinking things...

They will all work well. Use the one that you like the taste of the finished product best, fits your budget and smoker type or time available to refuel.
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Unread 02-15-2010, 09:47 PM   #5
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I am over thinking things......thanks for the reality check .
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Unread 02-15-2010, 10:37 PM   #6
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I agree stubbs is my favorite. I mix it with the ro lump. Try another bag of k, you'll loose the consistancy you speak about.
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Unread 02-15-2010, 10:44 PM   #7
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Default Try Ozark Oak

I love Ozark Oak lump... Used others including Royal but none were nearly the quality of Ozark. In reading Naked Whiz on reader ratings for lump, I am not the only one who likes the quality and consistency bag in and bag out from Ozark.
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Unread 02-16-2010, 12:28 AM   #8
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ash wont be a problem. just control your fuel and you will be golden.
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Unread 02-16-2010, 05:12 PM   #9
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I allways use lump in my Uds ..is ash a problem in a Uds?
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Unread 02-16-2010, 05:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Russell View Post
I'm really wanting to try the big RO chef's select briquettes you can buy in the 40 lb bags from DoitBest.com sometime in the near future.
I knew someone who used to get Royal Oak "Chef's Select" 40# bags from a Sysco Food Distrbutor through a local restaurant. I got to burn some with him on a pig roast once, his pit rotisserie equipment. The briquettes were super sized and seemed to be better quality than basic RO.

I didn't get to use it in a smoker, it was a pit, so I never did get to learn how well it could be controlled. My personal observations are mostly based on grilling usage - I consider RO to burn hot and fast, little ash perhaps from burning so hot and fast?

The RO Chef's Select larger stuff seemed to burn hot and fast but longer due to size. The guy got the 40# bags for like 8.00, guess it pays to be on the in with the right commercial food suppliers, I haven't found an in at that price yet.



About the basic comparison listed before: Your test was good intel for a basic, grilling application, burn. But I'm tempted to buy some various brands and do a UDS controlled temp burn test. All of the qualities you listed for each brand of charcoal could be different in a low and slow controlled burn.

I'm cloning a couple more flat-top, single cook level UDS already in the works. Once I get all my parts together I'll need to eventually season 3 "new" UDS. All will be built to same specifications making for a pretty controlled test. I guess between now and then I best get to finding a variety of charcoal to test.

At least the wife already knows I been itching to try some lump in the UDS.
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Unread 02-16-2010, 05:44 PM   #11
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I've been given crap over using Kingsford blue bag, Sam's club 21#
When I started traveling, catering on-site and competing it was important to me to be able to have consistency.
Blue bag seems to be pretty much the same every time, place, state, season I've purchased and used it.
I've always totally grayed my charcoal before it goes in smokers, that might be part of the consistency I see. The only time any one mentions tasting charcoal in my food might be when I'm drinking and grill something when the coals aren't ready but I am, but not when I'm smoking.

I've used what I've used because no matter where I've been it has been the same. If I went on a job or to a comp and all my supplies fell out of the truck I could pick up some blue bag and roll with it. I'm certain there's better options out there. Now that I'm running efficient UDS rigs it is probably the right time to experiement a bit.

To get a good 6 to 8 hour cook out my my MeadowCreek I'd have to burn half a dozen splits of hickory and near 40# of blue bag. To run 6 to 8 hours on my UDS is 10# or less. I can afford to runs tests and experiment again!

So, locally I've got HomeDepot, Lowes, Wal-mart/Sam's, and Menard's
Any recommendations on a decent lump from them?

Actually there is one local BBQ/Grilling store that might carry good options, I'll check in there tomorrow.
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Unread 02-16-2010, 06:03 PM   #12
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Eatrbbq for lump I suggest Royal Oak ...do not get cowboy! You can get it at walk mart...for a briquette I would try stubbs at lowes...it has no funny smells and burns consistent and longer than K. I am still searching what works best for me.
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Unread 02-16-2010, 06:13 PM   #13
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And to think I thought charcoal was charcoal before I joined up here. Little did I know! Been using Royal Oak & Kingsford mixed in my UDS so far (mainly because those are the 2 brands most readily available in a small town).
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Unread 02-16-2010, 06:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiefOsceola View Post
And to think I thought charcoal was charcoal before I joined up here. Little did I know! Been using Royal Oak & Kingsford mixed in my UDS so far (mainly because those are the 2 brands most readily available in a small town).

Do you mix because of whatever you have on hand or for another reason?

In the UDS do you notice a difference between those two brands?
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Unread 02-16-2010, 06:23 PM   #15
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I now mix stubbs and RO lump...that way I get the best of both worlds..It works for me.
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