Floorboard scrap in Cowboy lump Charcoal

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by pgsmoker64, Jun 14, 2011.

  1. pgsmoker64

    pgsmoker64 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Hi all,

    I recall a recent thread where the quality of Cowboy lump charcoal came into question.

    I stated that I had seen flooring scraps in the Cowboy coals and at least one person disagreed with my assessment.

    Just this weekend I opened an old bag of Cowboy that I had to cook some hamburgers & hotdogs.  (I would never use this stuff in my smoker again).

    As I poured the charcoal into my chimney starter I once again found a piece of flooring scrap, so my son and I took a couple pictures.

    In this photo you can see clearly the grooves in the "down side" of the flooring board.


    This one shows the tongue side of the tounge and groove of a flooring board.


    This final picture shows the groove side.


    Take if for what it's worth.  I just thought I should bring this to the attention of anyone who is considering Cowboy lump charcoal.


  2. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If the scrap was new and unfinished, I would think it's OK, but if it was used flooring, it would contain chemicals from the stain, or finish.  These chemicals could make people sick!

    I would think the company would come forward and post a statement as to where the wood flooring originated from.

    Until they do so, I would boycott their products

  3. desertlites

    desertlites Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I also have found tounge & groove scraps in cowboy, im sure its from unfinished wood. After 2 bags I wasnt impressed with the brand and quit useing it.
  4. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    What Todd said

    Hardwood is hardwood flooring scraps are ok, just as long as theres no shiny bits or funny colored residue.
  5. I wouldn't trust it. I've heard too many bad things about this charcoal.
  6. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I used it once, that was enough for me.
  7. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Last edited: Jun 14, 2011
  8. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Craig's link will tell you all you need to know.  I have heard so many complaints about Cowboy that I have never gone near it.  I use R.O. as do many on this forum.

    Good luck and good smoking.
  9. retread

    retread Meat Mopper

    I don't have an issue with the fact that they make charcoal out of various scrap pieces of worked wood like what was shown. As a matter of fact, I think that's actually pretty commendable (so long as they don't use finished, or treated, wood).  The problem I have with cowboy charcoal is that sometimes they use mesquite limbs and branches instead of hat scrap wood and the two different types of wood behave totally differently.  I just got my second bag of basically mesquite charcoal.  Some of the pieces were HUGE!.  The trouble was I had planned wanted to use them to roast a chicken with a rotisserie. I had baskets made to hold normal Cowboy charcoal, once it was started, so I could get good indirect heat.  Opened the new bag and all I found was mesquite chunks which wouldn't fit in my charcoal baskets.  What I want is a CONSISTANT product which will behave the same way, every time.  Over the past 4 years, I think I have gotten 3 bags which were mostly mesquite instead of scrap processed wood.
  10. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I don't always look for the best or lowest price on a number of things in this hobby.

    Take the amazen smoker rig for example.. I could prolly find cheaper dust.

    I like what I get from Todd because it works great!!  No reason to change.

    Same with charcoal.. I have used quite a few brands.

    I get the best results using R.O. .. Big Green Egg charcoal works great too but it is a little pricey.

    And the fact is BGE charcoal is the high end product from R.O.

    I use Kingsford Blue to start smokes in my WSM and for grilling in my BGE.

    Try out some other charcoal and find one you like.

      Have a great day!

  11. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    OMG.  You use Kingsford Blue?  Like I do for grilling or warming up the smoker?

    When will this blasphemy stop!

    Good luck and good smoking.
  12. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Cowboy is garbage! Just from personal experience. I just as well use pallets. 
  13. weberinpa

    weberinpa Newbie

    PGSmoker64, it was me who "Disagreed" with you, Simply based on what I've seen.

    No arguing here with what you found.

    As I stated tho I never found any myself, and I used CB quite a bit. But I believe you 100%.

    Luck of the draw I guess, Tho as others have said if its raw scraps It should not be harmful.

    Personally if I could get a truckload of untreated hardwood flooring scraps I would take it, Wood is wood to me.

    And I agree with others about the consistency. I just tend to sort it according to size in empty bags.
  14. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I don't like Cowboy brand because of the fireworks it creates, but as long as the hardwood is all unfinished wood, without any MDF, cork, or particle board backing, it shouldn't be a problem.

    Cowboy should be great for the 4th !

  15. pgsmoker64

    pgsmoker64 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Not trying to call anyone out on thiw WeberInPA, just making a point.

    I wish you all the best in your smoking and am willing to help any way I can. 

    I just tried out my first bag of Royal Oak lump (that my lovely bride picked up at Wal-Mart, because I won't go in there) and it was awesome.  I have some Cowboy left over from when I first started using lump.  I typically use that for the grill and not the smoker.

    But hey....different strokes for different folks....that's what makes the world go 'round!

    My main issue is with the lack of shape consistency with the Cowboy.  Some are flat and long, some are chunks.  If all were chunks or all flat I might be able to deal with it a little better.




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