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Unread 12-21-2011, 11:28 PM   #1
Babbling Farker

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Default Review: Kingsford® Competition vs Stubb's® Briquets (pics galore)

Review: Kingsford® Competition vs Stubb's® Briquets

Note: Please excuse the formatting. It looks great on my blog, but here,
not so much. If you want to see the pretty version, just click the link

All-natural charcoal briquets have become increasingly popular over the
past few years. That's especially true in the world of competition
barbecue. This style of briquet is popular because it's essentially lump
charcoal in briquet form. You get the high heat of lump with the
convenience, uniformity, and predictability of a briquet.

Both the Kingsford® Competition and Stubb's® Briquets have been on the
market for nearly three years now, but the Stubb's® product is new to me.
I've been seeing quite a bit of banter about it on the various barbecue
forums that I frequent, so I thought that it's time that I put these
products to a briq-to-briq showdown.

As in my previous side-by-side charcoal reviews (the others are linked at
the end of this post) I wanted this comparison to be as fair and impartial
as I could make it. I don't have a laboratory, but I am an engineer, so I did
the best that I could in a home setting. I ran side-by-side tests of two
brand new off-the-shelf bags of each product. As you will see, I've
weighed and photographed each product so that you can see exactly what
I saw.

Let's see how these products compare.

I first weighed various quantities of each product. This will help quantify
the bang-for-the-bag of each. It will also let us see how much of the
product is left as ash, as we'll see at the end.

1 Briquet:
5/8 oz
5 Briquets: 3 3/8 oz
10 Briquets: 6 3/4 oz

1 Briquet: 1 oz
5 Briquets: 5 oz
10 Briquets: 10 oz

For the burn test, I punched two aluminum pie pans with an identical
pattern of holes. I wanted to use a method that would contain the ash for
a final weight.

I then arranged each of the briquets in each pan as similarly as I could. I
used 12 briquets in each, in layers of six, four, and two. I put a single
Weber wax starter cube in each pile.

I lit each cube and took pictures at various intervals.

From here on the Kingsford® Competition briquets are pictured on the left
(top), and the Stubb's® on the right (bottom).

Note: If you're interested, the temperature when I started the burn was
39º and the humidity was 84%.

Houston, we have ignition!

5 Minutes

10 Minutes

15 Minutes

20 Minutes

30 Minutes:

30 Minutes: 702º

At 30 minutes I started taking temperature measurements. I used a
TW8060 two-channel thermocouple thermometer that was provided by the
great folks at ThermoWorks for the purpose of this review.

This thermometer, like their incredible Thermapen™ is dead-accurate, and
with a range of -328 to 2372°F it seriously blows the doors off of the
infrared thermometer that I used in my previous reviews. The long
industrial probes allowed me to measure the temperature just above the
coals where your food sits.

I stopped taking pictures at 120 minutes, but I continued reading the
temperatures out to 180 minutes.

35 Minutes:

35 Minutes: 539º

60 Minutes:

60 Minutes: 424º

90 Minutes:

90 Minutes: 341º

120 Minutes:
180 Minutes: 140º

120 Minutes: 205º
180 Minutes: 92º

Here's a chart that shows the temperature readings of each product over
time. The horizontal axis is time and the vertical shows the temperatures.

What about ash? Well, the results were surprising. The Stubb's® briquets
produced nearly 250% more ash by weight than the Kingsford®
Competition briquets. I was also surprised at the density of the Stubb's®
ash. As you can see in the picture above it held its shape fairly well, as
opposed to the Kingsford® ash which collapsed.

1 7/8 oz

4 5/8 oz

The bottom line is that, while the Stubb's® product starts stronger, it
loses its firepower more quickly and produces far more ash than the
Kingsford® Competition briquets. There's more product by weight in each
bag of Stubb's, but there's also much more that goes to waste.

I hope that you've found this review to be informative and helpful.

Obligatory Disclaimer: This is not a paid endorsement. It simply reflects
my honest findings and opinions.

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Unread 12-21-2011, 11:39 PM   #2
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Great review! I've always been curiouse how different charcoals match up.
Ever done any other brands? I've always been a plain old Kingsford guy, but have used "off" brands from time to time, normally with less than perfect performance. How do some others match up to Kingsford??
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Unread 12-21-2011, 11:41 PM   #3
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No, I've never reviewed the lesser known brands.
It's a lot of work.

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Unread 12-21-2011, 11:52 PM   #4
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Nicely done. Thank you for taking the time.

I like Royal Oak in my UDS, but have used Old K Blue in the Hog-A-Nator for doing whole hogs because of the value you get. Add a little hardwood chunks to it and you're good to go!

Great reading!
Homemade trailer Roaster a.k.a "Hog-A-Nator"; UDS; Dual Chamber Charcoal; ECO Gasser
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Unread 12-22-2011, 12:05 AM   #5
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Great review I used to use K Comp when it first came out it was all over the place then it just died out and I can't really find it anymore. But stubbs is 8 bucks 15# I've been using it steady for the last 2 years and love it, I have noticed though it does leave a good amount of ash but the way my basket in my UDS is set up it doesn't bother air flow. I really love B&B oak lump burns long and hot great for HnF cooks with some chunks of wood.

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Unread 12-22-2011, 12:09 AM   #6
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Thanks for the hard work and the info Brother!

I have noticed alot more natural briquettes on the market nowadays. My WSM likes the Stubbs, but I can't say that I've tried the Kingsford Comp for anything but cooking ribs in an offset once. I remember it not lasting as long as the original but thats about it.

Now if someone will come up with a way to make uniform pieces of actual lump that would really be cool!
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Unread 12-22-2011, 01:20 AM   #7
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Thanks for the review! I'm actually kinda surprised they both burned for about the same amount of time, in grilling uses, I swear that k comp burns faster than anything else I've used, including stubbs.

I do like the burning smell of stubbs over the smell of k comp, but the k comp is still way better than blue k IMO...
Hybrid Pellet Pooper "The Meat Vault" - 3 RED Weber Kettles O, H (with Cajun Bandit Mod) & pre '79 - Black OT Platinum (DH) - SS AusPit - Rib-O-Lator - SJ UDS (DI) - CRAZY FAST Yeller Thermapen

We shall throw our bacon wrapped all beef justice upon the wooden skewers of truth to be held on high and let them know that we will not stand for this. ~Butz

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Unread 12-22-2011, 04:58 AM   #8
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Wow...great review....very impressive!
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Unread 12-22-2011, 05:20 AM   #9
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Excellent review. I wonder why the K Comp is so much lighter in weight than other briquettes?
I have included a couple of other reviews of K Comp, the finding pretty much mirror yours with regard to it.
I have used it in the past, excellent for grilling IMHO.
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Unread 12-22-2011, 06:51 AM   #10
somebody shut me the fark up.

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Thanks for the review John! It's funny that you reviewed the two brands that I buy almost exclusively now. The Kingsford Comp is pricey, but well worth it. I do find myself using a bit more wood chunks with it though.
Guerry >^..^< Pit Beeatch for Team Munchkin
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Unread 12-22-2011, 07:00 AM   #11
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Thanks John; nicely done. I've been using Stubbs exclusively in the mini WSM (Smokey Joe Silver) believing I was getting the lowest ash output. Glad I have a bag of K Comp leftover from the Costco sale!
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Unread 12-22-2011, 07:13 AM   #12
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awesome reveiw john. nicely done.
roger. Sponsored by oakridge bbq. stumps baby with digi q 2. doublebarrel 250 gallon offset
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Unread 12-22-2011, 07:23 AM   #13
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That's as scientific as it needs to get for the humble charcoal. Thanks. Have you considered doing that test with homemade charcoal?
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Unread 12-22-2011, 10:07 AM   #14
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Good work! I bet the food off your Q is fine also. We stopped using "bricks" of any brand here since finding the "lump" way of Q'n.

Happy Holidays to all the brethren & folks!
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Unread 12-22-2011, 10:23 AM   #15
Babbling Farker

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Thanks, guys! Here's a similar review that I did last
spring between Kingsford blue and Competition.

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