How much charcoal do you go through?

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by husker-q, Feb 16, 2008.

  1. husker-q

    husker-q Smoke Blower

    I am new to smoking and did my first one last week. I have a chargriller pro with sidebox and was wondering what a typical charcoal usage was.

    I went through 18 lbs kingsford and ran out when meat was about 155 degrees. Day was cool (40's with slight breeze) - I covered with a small rug to help hold the heat it but was suprised to go through so much - trying to maintain a 230 degrees smoker temp.

    I think I'll try the Royal Oak lump they sell at wally world next time to see if that makes much difference.

    thanks in advance
  2. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Alot of varibles there, Husker. Lump will be better. Get two bags, note wind and temp conditions, and keep a log... or try to remember...;{)
  3. husker-q

    husker-q Smoke Blower

    OK thanks -

    I'll try the lump - for some reason - I figured the large bag would cover it - but like you said - weather may have played a large part.

    Does lump last longer than briqs?
  4. bbq bubba

    bbq bubba Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Do a search for a charcoal basket or i'll try to give ya detail's later.....double your burn time's!! [​IMG]
  5. capt dan

    capt dan Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Lump burns hotter, therefore you use less at a time, but it burns up just a teeny bit quicker, cuz it doesn't have all the binders and junk in it that briqs do. The briqs also have 5 times the ash, if you used a whole 18 lbs, I bet the ash pile probably snuffed out the heat, unless you moved ash during the smoke. Lump is all I use, and Royal oak is the best I can find locally, it is probably a 7-8 on a 1-10 scale!
  6. glued2it

    glued2it Master of the Pit

    I use the top rated Ozark Oak It's actually the cheapest and easiest to find in my area.

    Like bubba mentioned with the basket, There are a few mods you can make that will extend the life of your lump.

    Do some searching or send Bubba a pm. He's usually really happy to help!
  7. ba_loko

    ba_loko Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Since you're using the CG, I'd like to know if you have the knock out removed between the side fire box and the cooking chamber. It sound like you're not getting proper heat in the cooking area. Can you take a picture for us?
  8. peculiarmike

    peculiarmike Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Here is the charcoal basket I made for mine from expanded metal. I have a C-G Duo with SFB
    These smokers have a bazillion holes in them and the lid does not fit tight to the lower pan, smoke comes out every where, therefore, so does heat. That causes you to burn a lot of fuel to keep temps up.
    Some folks have plugged the holes with high temp. whatever they could find in a tube, fireplace caulk maybe. And some have put a high temp. fiberglas rope seal around the lid where it meets the lower pan. Those things would make a difference I think.
    Now. If you paint the thing silver it will reflect heat back into the smoker. If you don't like a silver smoker then paint it silver, right over the original black, then paint it black over the silver. It will work fine that way. Not enough time or space here to explain the infrared thing, just accept that it works.
    Oh yeah! Use Best Choice lump charcoal, available at Apple Mkt., Price Chopper, Sun Fresh, any stores that are supplied by AG. Best Choice lump is Royal Oak in a different bag at a cheaper price.
  9. ds7662

    ds7662 Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Something seems wrong not sure what it is. Any mods to the smoker. Show us some pics.
    I did a butt last weekend that took 17hrs to finish. Used just under 10lbs RO lump.
    To me that won't bad for 17hrs of heat.

    Another thing is just getting to know your smoker and making the right adjustmemts to dampers.
  10. husker-q

    husker-q Smoke Blower

    Thanks all - I like the basket idea - I think that may have been part of the problem as the stock coal grate sits too low and I bet the ash prevented good circulation of air and reduced the heat.

    Lowes only had 18 guage mesh - I think that is too light so will look for a heavier guage, unless I double it up I guess.

    I also notice smoke leaking between the top and bottom box so sealing that somehow will help too.

    I'll post some pics on the mods (as soon as the snow stops flying maybe I can get it done)!.

    thanks in advance!
  11. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Refer back to BA-Loko's post... do you have the plate removed? It has happened ALOT..
  12. magnadawg

    magnadawg Newbie

    Hello, everyone. I'm knew to the site but not new to smoking meat. I recently upgraded to a horizontal pipe smoker w/firebox on side from Texas Smokers out of Uvalde, Texas. Very nice setup. Anyway, as with any toy, I'm learning and experimenting w/it. Last weekend, made a brisket for first time on this thing since seasoning. I dumped a half bag of unburned B&B oak lump charcoal and started a chimney with the rest. When the chimney was ready, I dumped on top of unburned lump and brought pit up to tempature.

    I figured this slow burn would last quite some time with plenty of fuel there and added some mesquite chunks as well. After about 6 hrs though, temp dropped to 175 F and it ended up taking about 18 hrs to cook an 8 lb brisket. Too long in my opinion since I was unable to maintain a constant of 225 F. This was an overnighter and I'm looking for a method to get me thru at least 8 hrs without having to tend.

    Am I wishing upon a star with this request or has anyone heard of such a method or any suggestion? Thoughts are appreciated.
  13. husker-q

    husker-q Smoke Blower

    yes - plate was removed

    the only other mod I made was the vent extension to near grate level - per the suggestions made on this site.

    I'll give the basket a try if I can find some 12 guage mesh somewhere.
  14. husker-q

    husker-q Smoke Blower

    OK - this really doesnt matter to this thread - other than I want to try to do a picture upload for the first time and need some practice:

    Hopefully, this is an image of my temp graph - with the upper line the smoker temp and the lower line my meat temp.
  15. bustedluckbarbq

    bustedluckbarbq Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    When i put together my offsets i put high temp woodstove caulk in between everything... I had some good help from here (Gramason) helped me put my first one together.... put a couple pieces of angle in the SFB and set expanded metal on it .... can pull slide drawer out and dump ashes and not disturb the fire...put angle inside the lid where it meets the grate... added fireproof rope stove gasket.... filled all the unused holes with the caulk.... check out the sticky of Chargriller mods... these really helped maintain the heat!! check out the minion method of burning too!! That helped me extend the fuels burn time and control temp some!!!
  16. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Interesting-..BTW what were ya smoking? Looks like a plateau there.

    And at what times did you add lit lump?

    Great diagostic tool, BTW!
  17. husker-q

    husker-q Smoke Blower

    yeah - I think it did hit a plateau - but you'll notice the temp was going down as well so that may have extended it some.

    I didnt record the charcoal adds - I should add that next time to my graphs - that would be helpful.

    It was a 7 lb Boston. I put it in oven at 255 deg and took it out at 190 deg at about 4:30.

    It was great btw so in the end, all was good!
  18. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Success! POINTS..tomarrow..sigh..I'm out for today...

    Great job..nice info. A graph is worth ...well... PRICELESS
  19. ds7662

    ds7662 Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    For the 1st part of your smoke it shows alot of steep ups and downs in temps for the smoker. The 2nd half shows less dramatic drops or spikes in temp. How much are you opening and closing the dampers at a time?
    This should be done gradually. Try starting with all vents/dampers full open. As the temp you want gets near, close the intake by half, to slow the climb of temperature. If still climbing close to half again(this would be 1/4 open). Continue this until temp get where you want it. If temp falls then open 1/2 of where you have it (if still at 1/4 then open to 1/2 or a little in btwn 1/4 and a half.) Always make slight adjustments to the vents. This will help even out your temps and should not see such great temp fluctuations.
  20. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Good advice there. Also, if/when yer mopping or whatever, opening the intake a bit to add some extra heat before you open the lid might help smooth out the temp a bit too. Prolly won't matter alot, but in one case I see it taking a half hour to reclaim 50° of heat...

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