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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 10-26-2012, 04:05 PM   #1
pull_my_butt
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Default Adding un-lit charcoal to firebox

As we all know, we allow the charcoal to ash over and gray up first before smoking/grilling. However, I've seen on some TV shows where BBQ places just add un-lit charcoal to the lit ones that have already ashed over. Is this not harmful to have the fumes of un-lit charcoal going onto your food?

I'm not sure of the technical or scientific term but can't the smoke from the un-lit coals mess up the flavor of the food or be harmful?

Just thinking here.....

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Unread 10-26-2012, 04:12 PM   #2
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I do it with lump and hardwood briqs all the time with no problems.
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Unread 10-26-2012, 04:35 PM   #3
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Only if your using that nasty AZZ smelling Kingsford
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Unread 10-26-2012, 04:54 PM   #4
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I do it all the time with Kingsford and never had a problem so I guess to each his own !
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Unread 10-26-2012, 05:23 PM   #5
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As long as it's not match light you should be fine.

I wait for them to ash so I get uniform, stable, linear heat. No other reason for me.
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Unread 10-26-2012, 05:48 PM   #6
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Do it with KB all the time and never noticed any foul taste.
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Unread 10-26-2012, 06:16 PM   #7
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If possible move the lit charcoal into the corner in a pile and place the unlit next to the pile, not on top. That way the new charcoal will just burn from the edge like when you first light a smoker.
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Unread 10-26-2012, 06:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teamfour View Post
If possible move the lit charcoal into the corner in a pile and place the unlit next to the pile, not on top. That way the new charcoal will just burn from the edge like when you first light a smoker.
^^^ This.

I use these all hardwood briquets with no chemicals manufactured by the local super market and notice nothing foul.

That being said, I've had to use Kingsford Blue and noticed nothing either. I mean if you think about the entire Minion concept, which is used by many, many competition cooks, your basically lighting fresh charcoal as the fire burns down.

I know some top teams who use nothing but Kingsford Blue because its easy to find everywhere. Your mileage of course may vary.
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Unread 10-26-2012, 07:47 PM   #9
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The important part is to have the burning part towards the cooking chamber.

The term you are thinking of is 'products of incomplete combustion' or something like that. They are volatile organic hydrocarbons that have not burned.

When a wood fire dies down too far - or if you're using wood that's too green - or if the heat from the lit coals have to pass through fuel that has not been burnt yet you can get the 'products of incomplete combustion' on your food.

This is what leads to a 'lighter fluid' taste on your meat. (Well, I mean BESIDES actually using lighter fluid to start your fire.)
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Unread 10-26-2012, 08:05 PM   #10
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I also have done it with Kingsford with no problems.
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Unread 10-26-2012, 08:08 PM   #11
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How does throwing unlit coals in differ from unlit coals already in the cooker using the minion method?
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Unread 10-26-2012, 08:11 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfletcher84 View Post
How does throwing unlit coals in differ from unlit coals already in the cooker using the minion method?
What HE said.
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Unread 10-26-2012, 08:38 PM   #13
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Throwing unlit coals in after the fire is already going means that they are cooler in temperature. The coals that are already in the firebox are warmed up and have released a lot of their volatile organic hydrocarbons. Similar idea when you warm up the next wood split on top of the firebox before adding it to the fire.

Another thought with the Minion method is that the very few lit coals are placed on top of the unlit fuel. That way the heat from the lit coals never have to pass through the unlit fuel to get to the cooking chamber. Kinda like a catalytic converter.

Nope - exactly like a catalytic converter, come to think of it.

:-)
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Unread 10-26-2012, 09:56 PM   #14
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This is how the minion method works. You add a few lit bricks to a pile and let them burn and ignite as they go. Longer burns this way.
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Unread 10-26-2012, 10:04 PM   #15
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But if you make the mistake of lighting the pile from the bottom . . . that will literally stink.
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