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chromestacks
11-20-2010, 10:38 PM
Hey brothers and sisters,

I am new to this site and have been hearing a lot of talk about lump charcoal. Other than physical shape and composition, what are the differences from briquette? Does lump burn hotter? Longer? I scored some "cowboy lump" charcoal from lowes for 5.49 for 8.8lb bags. Is that a good price? also any one familiar with the brand? Where is a good outlet to buy lump from? I think once I start using it, I probably will not go back to the beick style. I appreciate your advice. Thanks.

Pat

Midnight Smoke
11-20-2010, 10:45 PM
Lump does burn hotter and faster depending on how much air flow there is to the fire. Great for smokers! It also leaves considerably less ash and burns cleaner because of the lack of fillers that are in briquettes. I am not fond of Cowboy and use mostly Royal Oak (Walmart). Wicked good Lump is great but hard to find local and shipping is a killer. There are many good brands out there but RO is consistent and easy to find.

I will do a few low temp smokes and salvage the lump and use it for a hot n Fast cooks for Steaks and Burgers. Just need to be careful on hot n fast as it does get hot if not controlled with air flow.

bigabyte
11-20-2010, 10:48 PM
Cowboy sucks. Seriously. Take it back and get your money refunded. Then go get some lump that is worth a damn. If you try and use that Cowboy garbage, you will simply be disappointed and then you will mistakenly think that lump charcoal sucks. The truth is, it only sucks because it's Cowboy.

Terry already covered all this I think, but here goes. Lump burns hotter, faster, and produces much LESS ash than briquettes. However, you control the temperature with lump the same as with briquettes. Since lump burns hotter, to keep your cooker at 250 you will have your intakes closed more than with briquettes is all this means.

Lump produces flavor in your food that tastes like wood smoke. That's because you are burning pieces of wood that have been pre-burned down to coals for you. Briquettes do not give you that flavor because they have to put in other things to form the briquette, sacrificing this wood flavor. Kingsford adds in even more stuff to make it burn longer, making it even less smokey tasting.

Check around and see if you can find some Royal Oak lump.:thumb:

Depending on the cooker you are using, you are likely to permanently switch to lump as long as you give it a fair shot, and use some good lump.

jestridge
11-20-2010, 10:51 PM
I never touch the stuff . Use real wood

Harbormaster
11-20-2010, 11:05 PM
I never touch the stuff . Use real wood
Mmmkay.

But the question was about lump vs. briquettes.

Cowboy is made from leftover flooring, furniture, and wood trim scraps. The source wood has been kiln dried, and it just burns way too hot and fast.

I have found that all natural briquettes are a viable alternative to the Kingsford brand of briqs; Royal Oak Chef's Select being my new fave. I too really like RO Lump, but would like to buy it in 20 to 40 lb bags, and it's not available for me that way.

If you use RO lump, you just need to pack it in tight to minimize air gaps. What do you cook on?

Spode
11-20-2010, 11:10 PM
You might also find a charcoal (lump) place that sells powered and moulded lump, so you get more consistency in size, but it's pure charcoal, not the chemical stuff in briquettes.

Only downside with lump is that often the pieces are small and fall through the grates. If you can learn to use it, it's the best. I personally still use briquettes as lump is really expensive in Australia.

caseydog
11-21-2010, 12:00 AM
Here is my experience with lump and briquettes.

I like the raw heat of lump, and love to use it to grill steaks, where BTUs are critical to making a steak that is perfectly charred on the outside and nice and medium rare on the inside.

Other than that, it is hard to use for anything else.

First, it does burn hot, which is fine, as long as the chunks are relatively even in size. I can deal with that. But, the chunks range from tiny to huge, so I am better off with wood that I cut myself.

Second, in shipping, about a third of the lump in a bag turns to dust or crumbs. So, I waste a third of every bag of lump charcoal.

So, I do use lump from time to time, to grill some USDA Prime steak, but I choose each and every chunk, and just assume that I will throw away a bunch of powder and crumbs from every bag I buy.

I love the concept of natural lump charcoal, but have not found it to work out in the real world. I'm hoping Steve Jobs likes BBQ, and creates a lump charcoal "for the rest of us."

CD

anojones
11-21-2010, 12:07 AM
It's been awhile, but my first experience with lump was Cowboy as well. It does tend to burn hot and sparks a lot- probably due to it's source (hardwood floors/furniture). I still found it much better than Kingsford for my use in a smoker. I'd give it a try and see how it works for you but don't make your final decision based on it. I get Royal Oak from Walmart- some is better than others, but the made in USA stuff is pretty good- keep looking and you may find another local source. I will take some getting used to, but lump will give you beter results.

sportsnut
11-21-2010, 12:19 AM
Use Kingsford "Competition" briquets and be done with it. 95% wood with a little starch to hold it together.

gtr
11-21-2010, 12:51 AM
I've been liking lump. Seems it's kinda hard to find good stuff around where I live, but I've discovered "ship to store" Royal Oak at the DoitBest. I also use Trader Joe's briquettes which if I'm not mistaken is rebadged Rancher. It's briquettes made of hardwood with a little cornstarch for a binder. Makes more ash than lump but seems to be good stuff.

There is a massive amount of info on lump on the Naked Whiz website:
http://www.nakedwhiz.com/lumprankpoll.htm

chromestacks
11-21-2010, 01:20 AM
What do I cook on?.......Small collection in my arsenal...36" custom reverse flow for the big shows/cooks, 1 ECB, 1 16"reverse flow mini custom, WSM2x, and in process of an UDS. Thanks for the ingo guys and gals keep it comming. I will probably burn the cowboy if nothing more than to burn the UDS.

landarc
11-21-2010, 01:31 AM
I use both, I like lump for the reasons pointed out above. I like briquettes as they are a more manufactured product and more consistent. They will work for smoke as long as you add wood for flavor. I have used the natural briqs and like them a lot, flavor is different than Kingsford, not better or worse, just different.

Dave Russell
11-21-2010, 08:44 AM
What do I cook on?.......Small collection in my arsenal...36" custom reverse flow for the big shows/cooks, 1 ECB, 1 16"reverse flow mini custom, WSM2x, and in process of an UDS. Thanks for the ingo guys and gals keep it comming. I will probably burn the cowboy if nothing more than to burn the UDS.

Yeah, that's a pretty good use for cowboy, not to cook in the UDS, but for burning one out. The fire won't last too long.

Smokeadelic
11-21-2010, 09:42 AM
I used Kingsford briquettes for the longest time on my Backwoods Party. It certainly lights easily, burns evenly and is easy enough to manage....but the amount of ash it produces as it burns is a problem.

Unless you regularly shuffle the briquettes around, they build up enough ash to stifle the fire. In my older backwoods party, the fire pan has no grate, which meant a lot of fire maintenance, trying to separate the ash from the burning charcoal every couple of hours. What a pain in the ass and what a waste of charcoal (because you can't separate the small burning bits from the ash). I eventually switched to a BWS Fat Boy with a fire grate, but ash continued to plague me.

Even worse for me than the fire maintenance issue was ash in the cooking chamber. I'd get quite a bit of ash carried in with the heat and smoke via convection. It would get so bad sometimes, I'd notice a significant layer of ash on top of anything wrapped in foil in the cooker. What wasn't wrapped didn't look ashy, but the moisture in the food must have been absorbing the stuff. Yuk.

Now I'm using lump. I tried Cowboy (because they sell it at my local supermarket) and as everyone else has said, it sucked. Now I'm using Wicked Good. It burns really evenly and slowly (although it takes a lot more to get it lit then kingsford), and I don't notice any more ash in the cooking chamber. The stuff is great, probably even worth the price and the amount of tiny bits and dust I get in each bag.

Goin Que Que
11-21-2010, 09:47 AM
You might also find a charcoal (lump) place that sells powered and moulded lump, so you get more consistency in size, but it's pure charcoal, not the chemical stuff in briquettes.

Only downside with lump is that often the pieces are small and fall through the grates. If you can learn to use it, it's the best. I personally still use briquettes as lump is really expensive in Australia.


For my Weber's I buy two charcoal grate and lay them on top of each other to make an "expanded metal" style grate. By doing so I get twice as long use out of the coals whether it's briquettes or lump.

John

chromestacks
11-21-2010, 11:09 AM
Yeah, that's a pretty good use for cowboy, not to cook in the UDS, but for burning one out. The fire won't last too long.


Thats what I was thinking too dave. "waste not want not"

Homebrewed Q
11-21-2010, 12:08 PM
Thanks Chromestacks for this thread, I've been wondering the same thing. I've tried lump once before, not sure of the brand as it was a few years ago, but there was a lot of popping and sparks. I'm about to take delivery on a BWS Fatboy and was considering lump. I need to check and see what is available in my area. I don't believe our local Walmarts carry any lump but I have seen some at Sam's before.

The Grill Sergeant
11-21-2010, 12:34 PM
For my Weber's I buy two charcoal grate and lay them on top of each other to make an "expanded metal" style grate. By doing so I get twice as long use out of the coals whether it's briquettes or lump.

John

Amen, Bro. That's what I do, too and it works really well.

I also use about 95% lump - stuck on Frontier - mostly because of the price (Sam's @ 15 bucks 4 a 40 lb bag - restaurant quality) When I run out I'll grab some Royal Oak.

Used to be a Kingsford guy til they started jackin with the price - now, I wouldn't go back!

CBQ
11-21-2010, 12:51 PM
I am surprised we got as far as qtr's post before someone mentioned www.nakedwhiz.com (http://www.nakedwhiz.com). Everything you ever wanted to know about charcoal, and maybe more.

Wicked Good is amongst the best. I added 50% to my burn time when I switched to it, it's very dense. If you are in a location where you can't buy Wicked Good and the shipping is too expensive, use the Royal Oak. It's pretty dense too, but will spark more (especially when lighting) than the Wicked Good does. It's also almost as cheap as the Cowboy, and doesn't have nearly as much furniture turned into charcoal. :shocked:

If you are grilling vs. smoking, Wicked Good also makes a briquette. It's a little easier to manage for grilling, and all the pieces are uniform. It does generate more ash than the lump, since it has a natural corn starch binder, but will still produce a lot less ash than the "blue bag" stuff. (It doesn't have the press release agents, ignition aids, and all that other funky stuff you don't want in your food either.)

chromestacks
11-21-2010, 08:48 PM
Use Kingsford "Competition" briquets and be done with it. 95% wood with a little starch to hold it together.

Thanks sportsnut. Where do you purchase that brand?:confused:

Harbormaster
11-21-2010, 09:33 PM
Thanks sportsnut. Where do you purchase that brand?:confused:
Kingsford Competition should be available at Home Depot, among other places. The composition is supposedly the same as the RO Chef's Select available through DoItBest via ship-to-store.

trza
11-21-2010, 10:06 PM
Mmmkay.

But the question was about lump vs. briquettes.

Cowboy is made from leftover flooring, furniture, and wood trim scraps. The source wood has been kiln dried, and it just burns way too hot and fast.



I thought Cowboy was made out of plywood, concrete, and rocks. At least that's the kind of stuff I've found in bags when Cowboy has been the only lump i can find in town.

stglide
11-21-2010, 10:47 PM
Yeah, another cowboy user, since I was in Lowe's. Yep... I've been disappointed. After reading this, I think I may have found why my temps have been bouncing around lately.

As for the basket, I actually took some expanded metal, cut it fit the bottom, and presto, no more lump dropping through. Ash still drops through just fine...

Ty_
11-21-2010, 11:32 PM
I grill 2 -3 times a week. The price that HD runs on Kingsford around Memorial day and Labor day is really hard to beat. Significantly cheaper than lump. I still have at least a dozen bags in the garage. I'm constantly scooping ashes but it lights a lot quicker for me than lump, that's especially good on a work night. After saying all that, I do use lump most of the time when I BBQ. I agree with everyone else about Cowboy. Sometimes it is hard to find anything else though.

Hub
11-22-2010, 08:33 AM
I haven't used charcoal in competition in years but still use it occasionally for family and friends cooks, especially steaks and chops. I've tried most popular brands of both briquettes and lump.

I keep going back to gool ol' Kingsford briquettes. Are they the best? No. What they are is PREDICTABLE. I know how long it will take them to light and how long they will last. No surprises.

Hub

MattG
11-22-2010, 09:15 AM
Kingsford Competition should be available at Home Depot, among other places. The composition is supposedly the same as the RO Chef's Select available through DoItBest via ship-to-store.


I also would like to try the Kingsford Competition but have never seen, well on TV.:becky:

1FUNVET
11-22-2010, 09:57 AM
See if your Lowe's carries Stubbs. Great burning stuff but not as cheap as Cowboy's.

BIGBrandon2785
11-22-2010, 11:22 AM
Hmmmmmmmm,well looks like I bought Cowboy lump for my 6 hour turkey cook:mad2:............Can I put unlit/unsoaked kingsford charcoal briquettes in the smoker and put a chimney full of cowboy lump in the middle to get it going??

Harbormaster
11-22-2010, 12:49 PM
Hmmmmmmmm,well looks like I bought Cowboy lump for my 6 hour turkey cook:mad2:............Can I put unlit/unsoaked kingsford charcoal briquettes in the smoker and put a chimney full of cowboy lump in the middle to get it going??
Yes you can.

Dave Russell
11-22-2010, 01:40 PM
See if your Lowe's carries Stubbs. Great burning stuff but not as cheap as Cowboy's.

Amen to that, and I'm starting to think it'll last just as long as K does...w/ just a small fraction of the #$%$ coal suffocating ash. I wish it was more available so we'd see sales on it around here, or something similiar like RO briquettes.

FretBender
11-22-2010, 03:12 PM
I agree with the foreign junk that comes with Cowboy, but I do like the taste it gives over RO. I don't care if it comes from defective furniture, screwed up flooring, or a raw tree, as long as it's 100% oak or hardwood and has no glues, finishing material, or chemical binders added to it.

stglide
11-23-2010, 08:24 PM
Amen to that, and I'm starting to think it'll last just as long as K does...w/ just a small fraction of the #$%$ coal suffocating ash. I wish it was more available so we'd see sales on it around here, or something similiar like RO briquettes.

Just bought a bag of the Stubbs. A friend who knows somebody at Lowe's spoke to them about Cowboy. Yes, they know it's not the "good stuff" but it is meant to be a less expensive alternative to the "good stuff". For those who cook seriously, they suggest the Stubbs, as it compares to Kingsford Competition. They said they would address it with Cowboy, but I honestly don't see much changing since this appears to be a common complaint of theirs for the past several years.

One other thing they did mention is it is getting harder and harder for charcoal companies to find wood sources. Yes, they may get scraps from furniture factories, but primarily wood mills. Problem is, with the downturn in the economy, construction has slowed, furniture is being made out of the country now, so mills have scaled way back on their wood, thus the product the charcoal makers use. It was said many are now looking to "green" lumber and actually kiln drying it before turning it into charcoal...

Will be cooking on the Stubbs soon, so I'll post again when I do!

Brauma
11-23-2010, 08:47 PM
See if you can find some Wicked Good locally. Great lump.

Lump and briqs have their uses. I use lump in the Egg and when I need heat and little ash. I use briqs in the Bandera when I'm starting the fire and when I'm finishing - when the meat is wrapped.

bam
11-23-2010, 09:58 PM
1. Ozark Oak 2. Wicked Good 3. Humphrey's 4. Kebroak 5. Royal Oak . Cowboy is for grilling.

Dustin D
02-11-2011, 10:09 AM
I used Kingsford briquettes for the longest time on my Backwoods Party. It certainly lights easily, burns evenly and is easy enough to manage....but the amount of ash it produces as it burns is a problem.

Unless you regularly shuffle the briquettes around, they build up enough ash to stifle the fire. In my older backwoods party, the fire pan has no grate, which meant a lot of fire maintenance, trying to separate the ash from the burning charcoal every couple of hours. What a pain in the ass and what a waste of charcoal (because you can't separate the small burning bits from the ash). I eventually switched to a BWS Fat Boy with a fire grate, but ash continued to plague me.

Even worse for me than the fire maintenance issue was ash in the cooking chamber. I'd get quite a bit of ash carried in with the heat and smoke via convection. It would get so bad sometimes, I'd notice a significant layer of ash on top of anything wrapped in foil in the cooker. What wasn't wrapped didn't look ashy, but the moisture in the food must have been absorbing the stuff. Yuk.

Now I'm using lump. I tried Cowboy (because they sell it at my local supermarket) and as everyone else has said, it sucked. Now I'm using Wicked Good. It burns really evenly and slowly (although it takes a lot more to get it lit then kingsford), and I don't notice any more ash in the cooking chamber. The stuff is great, probably even worth the price and the amount of tiny bits and dust I get in each bag.


For a second I thought I was writing this.

Sounds like I have some shopping to do, oh the horror :tsk:

:tongue:

jdbh
02-11-2011, 10:18 AM
i use frontier 10lbs bags @ lowes 7 bucks a bag works well

likeadeere
02-11-2011, 11:00 AM
Well if you just can't settle on any type or brand of lump charcoal - you could always just do what I do.

Make your own!

49984
49985
49986
49987

Now granted, not everyone has the capacity to burn in your own backyard. But I've been able put apple/cherry/apricot wood in my kiln and with a few adjustments create some excellent lump charcoal. These pics are my first attempt and I didn't quite get the uniformity that I wanted. But I'm getting better. IMO stay with lump, you can't go wrong, if you are looking for lump vs. briquettes.

But I'm in envy of those that use stick wood in an offset, one day brethren, one day.....
I can hear it now, "WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU NEED ANOTHER BBQ!!!" :crazy:

OneHump
02-11-2011, 11:59 AM
I've been using Kingsford blue bag and comp until just recently. I switched to lump a few weeks ago and will probably never go back. I find that lump responds much faster up or down that briquettes, it lights faster and my temps are FAR more stable, which is contrary to the advice I had been given prior.

I do find that lump doesn't last quite as long as briquettes, but a refill is no biggie.

Here is a chart that shows the consistency of lump on a WSM over about 6 hours:
http://i34.photobucket.com/albums/d135/OneHump/stoker.jpg

Here's a chart on that same cooker, in the same weather conditions using blue bag over 12 hours:
http://i34.photobucket.com/albums/d135/OneHump/stoker3.jpg

Wampus
02-11-2011, 12:13 PM
I've tried both. I've tried cheap lump and expensive lump. I've also tried cheap (K) briq's and expensive briq's. I will NOT say by any stretch that I am ANY kind of expert. I do not compete, but only cook for friends and family.

I'm a briquette guy. I recently bought 4 or 5 bags of all natural lump and tried to give it a real go. I can't say that lump lasts longer, at least in MY drum. I love lump for grilling. It's definitely hotter, but for low'n'slow BBQ cooking, I'll always use briquettes. This goes against what many here have said time and time again, but it's what I like. It does indeed yield a lot more ash, but to me, it's not a big issue. I'd rather have a longer cook and then just dump out the ash at the beginning of the next cook.

I just know what I know. That's what works for me. PLUS.....I'm a cheap arse.:becky:

OakPit
02-11-2011, 02:52 PM
My vote is for lump. A few reasons.

1. Natural - no binders or fillers.
2. Less ash to reduce or restrict air flow.
3. Many different burn characteristics are available. From Royal Oak to Wicked Good, ONO, and a new Orange Lump that I am especially fond of. All have different burn rates and smoke aroma characteristics - allowing for almost infinite applications.
4. Larger pieces allow for great air-flow with smaller pieces filling the gaps. Dense charcoal profile means consistency in temps.
5. Residual charcoal can be re-used if the air is restricted thoroughly enough.

Don't get me wrong, I am NOT trashing briquettes. They have served and will continue to serve up great BBQ. They just aren't for me.

This opinion is based upon my use of BGE's and WSM's - in other cookers, my opinion might not mean squat.

42BBQ
02-12-2011, 03:18 PM
So far I have no experience with Lump. Quality lump is harder for me to find in my parts than good ol K. I recently purchased an offset and started my last cook with an unlit chimney of K, topped by a lit chimney of K followed by seasoned cherry wood. After a few hours the K was gone and my fire was solid cherry wood. My pit has a removable ash tray that I can slide out and empty without even opening my firebox door so ash is not an issue. HOWEVER, I recently purchased BBQ 25 by APL and see that he does all of his grilling with lump. I am going to purchase lump for grilling and maybe start using it as a coal base in the offset. Will probably stick with K for the UDS because I KNOW how it will respond and know what it can do. Thankfully I know now not to get Cowboy because that is what is available to me and I would have bought it before. Not now.

CyberdineX
06-24-2014, 01:40 PM
Well if you love your Lump that is great but really Briquette are the best way to go. (Don't hate).

There are two aspects that we are looking for in our cooking: Heat and Wood smoke.

For heat we want easy control and stable temps. Everyone will agree that briquettes are best for that.
(Barring the extra ash, and good briquette have little more than lump)
The other is a good smoke, and here is the rub. The Lump enthusiast will tell you that their lump has better "smoke" and in a way they are right but for all the wrong reasons.
All Charcoal is wood (big pieces for lump or saw dust compressed for briquettes) that has been cooked in a low Oxygen environment. With the likes of Kingsford Briquettes this process is complete, that is all the wood has been turned to charcoal so you get very little smoke and long even heat.
With the Lump you get small pieces fully converted but some of the larger lumps are not fully converted so you still have some wood inside, this wood gives off the smoke. Great but no two bags are the same, some have oak, some have hickory, and some have old bits of a desk.
I believe that you want charcoal for HEAT, and you should add you own wood to flavour, not rely on Royal Oak etc. to give you the “Right” of even “Consistent” amount of wood in your cook.
Also remember that in lump you get all sorts of foreign objects, 3 rocks in my last bag, but I have seen bits of PVC pipe come out of some. I am sure there is different levels of quality control but you will always be at risk with lump. You also have a lot of dust (this adds to the weight of the bag but not to your cooking time or heat)
Further with Lump you are always trying to get consistent amounts of charcoal. Many people feel that the lump burn hotter, this is because when you first get it going you have lots of surface area with all those small pieces, but once they all burn up, your burning surface area drops and you get lower temp output.
If you want higher temps there 3 easy options,
1) more charcoal (it will be hotter, last longer and stay hotter)
2) move closer to the coals (either raise the coal bed/box, or drop the gill either way hotter temp and consistent
3) More air, burns more, burns hotter, briquettes still stay consistent longer
When I first started I drank the cool aid and burned Lump, No more. Each to their own and work with whatever is best for you but I believe that Briquettes beet Lump every day in every way.

Good luck to all,
C :-D

Awitte58
06-24-2014, 02:11 PM
Old thread....REVIVED! lol

I started with lump and will stick with it. A pretty good rated lump that is local at lowes is Frontier USA brand.
That charcoal review placed rated it well and I agree.

Hoppy
06-24-2014, 05:23 PM
I'll take 100% American Hardwood Lump over Compressed sawdust with added chemicals and God knows what's in it any day.

Kyle Serlington
06-24-2014, 06:46 PM
i started out using kingsford briquettes when i got my first smoker 5 years ago. then i started trying lump and i liked it better. i bought my WSM 3 years ago and have only used lump in it and have no problems keeping temps consistent. i buy in 10lb bags and rarely have to use more than one bag for an 8 hour cook. smoke flavor is going to come more from the wood chunks than the charcoal

Blanton
06-24-2014, 07:54 PM
Hey, I figure if we can push this thread to a new page, no one will know the difference :wink:

Another benefit not mentioned is what happens with a reverse minion. I've never had a problem with KBB and the Minion, but added more unlit is bad news. Never a problem adding more lump