What Do You Use Briquettes or Lumpwood Charcoal?

Discussion in 'UK Smokers' started by smokewood, Sep 27, 2014.

  1. smokewood

    smokewood Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    I have always been interested in the lumpwood charcoal versus briquettes debate after reading something many moons ago on a previous website.  I understand the pro's and con's of both, but was just wondering if there are any purists out there who will only use restaurant grade charcoal no matter what, while some will use any lumpwood charcoal, while other smokers purely use briquettes, and some people will use anything as long as it is cheap.  

    I look forward to your views.

    Best Wishes

  2. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    In order to ensure a predictable low smoking temperatures in the Weber and the offset I now only use premuim briquettes as a base (Heat Beads usually) and use pellets or lumpwood on top for flavour. I find that lumpwood charcoal needs far too much tending and does not last as long as I need it to without having to be topped up. I have found that briquettes also work better with the IQ110. When grilling I will use charcoal.
  3. I have learned from experience that you get what you pay for.  If you by "cheap", you get cheap.  You will use twice as much for the same cooking time and will have a large amount of unusable small pieces and dust in the bag.  Back in Texas I used strictly mesquite, but I had 11 acres of it.  When I came over here I only used lumpwood.  I never liked the taste that briquettes gave off.  Wade introduced me to the Heat Beads and I now use them for long smokes.  Lumpwood and chips/pellets for flavour.  The Heat Beads are more expensive but no nasty after taste and they last a long time.  For grilling I still use lumpwood and chips.  Keep Smokin!

  4. markuk

    markuk Smoking Fanatic

    Lumpwood and Oak is my preferred weapon :)
  5. russnettle

    russnettle Newbie

    I have been using lump wood mainly although briquettes when I can't get lump wood - 

    Lumpwood seems to need refilling much quicker - but I have noticed briquettes  (using minion method) that I have sometimes had a slightly unpleasant taste when smoking chicken, could have just been the tesco briquettes though ;)

    Also keen to understand how it works with stick burners, I have seen plenty of vids of people cooking with nothing but logs / wood (not charcol

    ) and not over smoking their meat. I only use a handful of chunks and get a decent result. 
  6. Hello Russnettle.  Let us know what you want to know specifically.  I used nothing but mesquite wood back in Texas.  I had it running out my ears.  What I did was to have a side fire to burn it down to coals to add to the smoker and then used splits to add more smoke flavour.  Hope this helps.  Keep Smokin!

  7. russnettle

    russnettle Newbie

    Thanks Danny - 

    That pretty much answers it really, I was initially thinking that perhaps due to the airflow of some of the bigger smokers, that the smoke was harder to get penetration , therefore just using splits etc would be fine throughout, but makes total sense that just using embers from burnt wood would replace the need for coals
  8. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I'm curious about these "heat beads". Are they all natural briquettes similar to Stubbs' here across the pond? Stubbs' is my favorite for smokes longer than a couple hours. For shorter hotter smokes or grilling, I've recently been using Kingsford competition and have to say I kinda like it. No weird flavors and it burns evenly and consistently. It runs hotter and faster than the denser Stubbs' briquettes, but not as hot and unpredictably as lump. For my purposes it works out fine.
  9. osprey2

    osprey2 Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Heat beads

    Have a look  HERE

    Better write up than I could do, except they are great !
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2014
  10. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Avoid the no-name and home brand briquettes like the plague when smoking. You need to make sure that they are true premium briquettes specifically for kettle BBQs. The only ones I will use these days are Heat Beads or the Weber Premium.
  11. smokewood

    smokewood Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    I might have to take a closer look at the Aussie Heat Beads
  12. smokewood

    smokewood Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    I have ordered a bag of heat beads to try out, what's the best price you have bought them for,  I have just paid £5.99 a bag, they should have been £6.99. Deal or No Deal! 
  13. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hi Smokewood

    I assume that this was for the 4Kg Heat Beads bag. If you go to wowbbq.co.uk and enter the SMF discount code "SMOKINGMEAT27" you will get 27% off their list prices. This brings the cost per bag down to £5.10 per 4Kg bag. For orders above £30 the shipping is free.

    I usually buy the 7Kg bags of Heat Beads - also available from Wow BBQ.
  14. smokewood

    smokewood Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    I have been reliably informed that the 7 Kg bags of heat beads have now been discontinued, and the 4Kg bags will only be available in the future
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2014
  15. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    That is strange. All of the usual sites still have them in stock and on sale and the couple of people I have asked have not heard that. Maybe it hasn't filtered down to them yet?
  16. smokewood

    smokewood Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    They must be selling off their existing stock, I was told that little nugget of information by the company that imports the Heat Beads, and to top it off the price is due to increase on the 1st Feb next year.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2014
  17. Isn't that typical?  I just started using those heat beads.  As soon as those darned Americans get involved the price goes up!!

  18. jockaneezer

    jockaneezer Meat Mopper

    We should import a container load ourselves !
  19. smokewood

    smokewood Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    I can sort that out for you, but you will have to re-mortgage your house.  To be honest if wow bbq is giving members 27% discount that is a fantastic deal, so they are just about covering their costs.  How did you manage to cut a deal and get 27% off everything?
  20. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I guess I did re-mortgage my house with all the stuff I have bought from them over the last few years - Lol. Danny then played negotiator and did the deal. Patrick is a great guy.

Share This Page