Mixing lit and unlit charcoal briquettes

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by hallertau, Jul 12, 2011.

  1. Hope this is the right spot to ask this question ... anyways here we go.

    I read online, not here but on some other site about mixing lit and unlit charcoals. It was in regard to a WSM (which is what I also am using) they stated that you put 50 unlit briquettes on the bottom of your pile and then add 50 lit ones. This way the lit coals will slowly light the bottom coals and keep your heat going for a long time as the day progresses. This is using regular Kingsford briquettes. My question is, will this lead to off tastes in the meat or do you only get that with Matchlit type briquettes (ones with fluid added already).

    Would you say this is OK to do or is it best to just keep adding already lit coals to the chamber as the day progresses?
  2. jrod62

    jrod62 Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

  3. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Good charcoal burns pretty clean and usually isn't a problem with off taste as long as you stay away from the easy light stuff.  I would recommend using a good grade lump charcoal if you can get it.

    Good luck
  4. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Since you are using a WSM you don't have to keep loading charcoal all day. I use two basic loads in my WSM half ring or full ring. Half ring is fill the ring half way with charcoal (lump or briquets) mixed 5 or 6 chunks of flavor wood, them dump half a chimney of lit charcoal on top in the middle. Full ring is the same idea, but using a full ring of charcoal.

    A half ring load will run for approx. 8-10 hrs, a full ring will run approx. 18-20 hrs.

    Basic method I use is after I dump my half chimney I wait about 5-10 min., put on the middle section and the lid, wait for the lid therm to hit 200°, dump hot water in my pan, let the therm come back up to 200°, add the meat. I usually run between 200-250° in the chamber with top vent 100% open, two bottom vents 100% closed, third vent 1/2 closed.
  5. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    This works every time in my WSM...

    Fill up the ring with the can in the middle..use whatever charcoal you want to use..

    I use R.O. lump and/or  Kingsford blue..

    Sometimes I load the ring with lump..but always fill the can with Kingsford.

    OK fire off around 8-10 briquets in yer chimney and put them in the can when they are fully lit.

    Pull the can and put your WSM together..

      Top vent stays all the way open....when it hits around 180 close all the bottom vents except one and put it about halfway open...

    Much KUDOS to TYOTRAIN for helpng me get this right and the picture!!


  6. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Yup, minion method. 
  7. Ah thats right, The Minion method! Thanks for the input everyone. I am digging the can process too!
  8. jrod62

    jrod62 Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    WOW !!!! 10 TO 20 hrs, ! Most I get from my side fire box is 4 to 5 hour before adding more charcoal,

    birthday is next month . Will have to give the wife a hint, "WSM"
  9. jeff 1

    jeff 1 Smoke Blower

    how many pounds of RO lump are in say a full ring?  And how long will it make smoke with 3-4 chunks of wood?   thats wild that it will burn that long
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2011
  10. Hallertau? As in the fine German hop.
  11. smokinal

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

    What Johnny said!
  12. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    That is the exact reason I got rid of my Char-griller and switched to the 22.5" WSM..... no more fire tending, just set it and forget it! LOL

    I don't know about the 18.5" WSM, but my 22.5" can hold a full 20 lb. bag of briquets. Lump is a bit tougher in that you have to almost hand pack it one piece at a time if you want to get a super long burn - simply because if you don't pack it tight you only get about 3/4 of the bag in. But lump will burn great if you get it packed tight, if you don't get it tight there is also a lot extra air in the stack and it will have a tendancy to burn hotter.

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