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lump or briquettes?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

So the more I read and search and read again, the more I realize that everyone has a preference, something that really works for him or her, and that the debate between lump or briquettes is hot.....that was terrible, I know

 

Anyway, I have a webber kettle and have smoke a total of two times on it, and both times I have used some kingsford briquettes. Cooking times have been a max of 6 hours, and keeping the temp down has been a problem, which I plan to try and rectify by using a water pan the next time, and, not taking the lid off repeatedly, and being a little more patient when adjusting the airflow.

 

The next cook(which will most certainly include qview pics), is a whole, beer can chicken. I bought jeff's book so will be brining and using recipes from that, but, lump charcoal or go with the briquettes again. I know there are so many variables, a lot of which I have researched and read. I read about the minion method, but I dont think it applies here, how to judge the right amount of coals to put in...I'm lost.

 

In summary, what I am going to do is use a parafin cube to light with lump charcoal, and I have the kettle modified with the IQ 110 which is great to keep temp up..but not to keep it down. So, adding in a water pan as well. And seeing if I can keep the temps around 225-260, and finishing it off over the lump for the crispy effect on the skin. My hope is that the lump will burn cleaner without as much ash

 

Thats a lot, I know, but just trying to find my way. I appreciate the time

post #2 of 16
I'm Interested To Know How It Works Out. I Have A Wsm With Cyberq Wifi And Have Wondered The Same But Haven't Tried It Yet.
post #3 of 16
Hay Lu aub. I too have been questioning brick or lump..
From what I've read is lump burns hotter but for shorter times than bricks.
So in the mean time if your looking at doing long cooks I'd stick with bricks and nail the temp issues. A water bath really helped my last cook, kept temps at 105 c but when I removed it temps went close to 200c..

Have you heard of the snake method for long cooks? If not jump on you tube.. It's great for keeping constant heat temps and long cooks.
Anyway enjoy
post #4 of 16

Agree with previous poster about the 'snake' method or Minion method for long cooks. I'm a brick user, in my grill, and am lucky to have available Kingsford Competition at Costco. No additives or such and I love them.....Willie

post #5 of 16

What I've learned: Briquettes offer convenient consistency, uniform piece size and composition. But they tend to stink while lighting partly because they may include coal and other fillers.

 

Lump is straight wood that is burned enough to be past the smoky phase. When fresh, it will clink like glass. It lights cleanly and burns well, sometimes too fast if not choked correctly. But the piece size is a total crapshoot. There's anything from the size of a fist, to a pinkie fingertip. Little bits of it will drop through the fire grate.

 

I'm starting my fire with briquettes, usually fired with small-split wood, and I let the briquettes ash over and serve as the embers to light the lump (and/or wood). If I need to stoke mid-smoking, I'll use more lump or more wood, but not briquettes, because of that stink.

post #6 of 16
Kingsford competition briquettes is what my offset likes. I've tried all kinds of lump and briquettes, and thats he brand that works with my style of cooking. Gets my smoker up to temp much faster that lump (probably because all of the air pockets with lump), and burns hotter (but slightly faster) than other briquettes. If I was using lump it would be Royal Oak.
post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by LA-AUB-TIGER View Post
 

So the more I read and search and read again, the more I realize that everyone has a preference, something that really works for him or her, and that the debate between lump or briquettes is hot.....that was terrible, I know

 

Anyway, I have a webber kettle and have smoke a total of two times on it, and both times I have used some kingsford briquettes. Cooking times have been a max of 6 hours, and keeping the temp down has been a problem, which I plan to try and rectify by using a water pan the next time, and, not taking the lid off repeatedly, and being a little more patient when adjusting the airflow.

 

The next cook(which will most certainly include qview pics), is a whole, beer can chicken. I bought jeff's book so will be brining and using recipes from that, but, lump charcoal or go with the briquettes again. I know there are so many variables, a lot of which I have researched and read. I read about the minion method, but I dont think it applies here, how to judge the right amount of coals to put in...I'm lost.

 

In summary, what I am going to do is use a parafin cube to light with lump charcoal, and I have the kettle modified with the IQ 110 which is great to keep temp up..but not to keep it down. So, adding in a water pan as well. And seeing if I can keep the temps around 225-260, and finishing it off over the lump for the crispy effect on the skin. My hope is that the lump will burn cleaner without as much ash

 

Thats a lot, I know, but just trying to find my way. I appreciate the time


Also Weber sells charcoal baskets for the kettle grills that really are great for conserving charcoal and facilitating the minion method. I love mine. You can always start with more charcoal than you need and then shut down all the vents when you are done. The leftover charcoal will still be good for the next smoke. I recommend getting the baskets A charcoal chimney and hinged grates. Or you could just buy a performer and get all of that with it. haha...

post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thank y'all so much for taking the time to respond. As soon as this chicken is done, you will have the qview. I am going to try the snake method as I did you tube it and looks pretty solid. And will give the charcoal baskets a look as well.

post #9 of 16

I used to use Kingsford, but I noticed that my coals would start to choke out because of the amount of ash. I switched to Royal Oak Lump and I love it. Very little ash, and what ash I do have falls right through the charcoal basket and out of the way of the coals and air. I have a Brinkmann TrailMaster Offset Vertical smoker with a Pitmaster IQ120. I seem to be able to keep temps around 225 for hours. I tried the minion (snake) method, but I couldn't get it to work for me. I had trouble getting temps to get above 150 or so. Maybe I'm doing something wrong, but I've figured out something else that works for me. That is the beauty of BBQ, keep trying till you find what works for you. Then you get to keep eating the mistakes.:sausage: 

post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 

Update....the chicken is done! What I ended up doing is trying out the lump just because I found a huge bag of royal oak at home depot. I also bought the little webber charcoal baskets as recommended. Used a parafin cube to start it as seen in the picture at one end hoping for the minion method...kind of. I had to add more fuel at two hours, as well as more wood chips. Now, that is something I need to get better at which is either putting the chips in tin foil packet, or, just switching to chunks. Seems like I got good smoke for a few hours and then not as much as I wanted for the last two. The water pan helped so much and I did not have to mess with the IQ110 nearly as much as I did the first time I used it.   All total it took four hours to cook, the grill held the temp well, and even though I have not tried it yet, could not have done it without you guys help. Thanks so much and as promised......check out the pics

 

post #11 of 16
Nice mate. It's great when things work hay
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by LA-AUB-TIGER View Post
 

So the more I read and search and read again, the more I realize that everyone has a preference, something that really works for him or her, and that the debate between lump or briquettes is hot.....that was terrible, I know

 

I use both lump and briquettes in my Weber 22"s and both of them work well. I do find the briquettes to be more consistent when it comes to trying to keep a steady low temperature. The premium briquettes that are sold for kettle BBQs I find the best. We don't have Kingswood briquettes over here but something like the Weber premium briquettes are great - I use Heat Beads but I don't think they are available in the US.

 

Cooking times have been a max of 6 hours, and keeping the temp down has been a problem, which I plan to try and rectify by using a water pan the next time, and, not taking the lid off repeatedly, and being a little more patient when adjusting the airflow.

 

To maintain steady low temperatures it is important to reach an equilibrium inside the smoker where the coals are producing just enough heat to maintain the desired temperature and balance the heat loss through the sides, through the top vent and into the meat. If you keep taking off the lid then it will destroy the equilibrium each time and you will effectively be cooking on hot and cold spikes. You are using the IQ-110 so this should be fit-and-forget with regards to temperature control. The water pan will help regulate the temperature however to avoid very long warm up times when using the IQ-110 you should add the water to the tray near to boiling.

 

... and I have the kettle modified with the IQ 110 which is great to keep temp up..but not to keep it down. .

 

It took me several goes to get my IQ-110 to work for me however once I mastered it (by actually reading the instructions :biggrin:), it now works like a dream. As you know the 110 works by increasing the temperature of the coals until the required temperature equilibrium is reached. Unfortunately if the coals are already burning too hot then all it can do is stop the fan to try to reduce the air flow over the coals - but it cannot cut it off completely. It sounds from your post that you already had too much heat in the coals and the 110 was just unable to slow the air flow sufficiently to lower the temperature. By continually taking the lid off the Weber you would have actually been making things worse as each time you did that you would be allowing more air to reach the burning coals.

 

The water pan helped so much and I did not have to mess with the IQ110 nearly as much as I did the first time I used it.

 

 

 

A couple of questions regarding your IQ-110 setup. Are the bottom two vents securely covered with the tape and are you keeping the top vent 3/4 closed?

 

I see from your photo that you have a good snake of lumpwood charcoal there. That is about the right size for briquettes however you may want to start with a thicker snake of lumpwood. This will avoid you having to top it up half way through. You may also want to start the snake off with a few more lit pieces or it is likely to take a long time to get up to temperature. You should also start with the top vents fully open to maximise air flow until the chamber is about 3/4 up to temperature before shutting down the top vents to about 1/4 (3/4 closed).

 

Once the IQ-110 has it up to temperature don't play with it and don't open the Weber lid... On your digital thermometer you will see the temperature fluctuate a couple of degrees either side of the set temperature but this is normal. Once you have set it going and the Weber is up to temperature you should be able to walk away from it and only have to glance at it every couple of hours.

 

Getting up to temperature with the IQ

 

 

This what was left of about 30 briquettes after 6 hours cooking ribs

 

 

To get steady smoke levels throughout the cook you can spread either wood chunks or pellets along the top of the snake. Here is an example in my Weber 26" using pellets. I wasn't using the IQ-110 for this cook so no foil on the grate.

 

 

 

This amount of pellets was sufficient to keep the temperature at 230 F (110 C) for 6 hours - with a few partially burned briquettes left over at the end.

 

I hope this helps to fine tune your next smoke.


Edited by Wade - 9/11/14 at 4:23am
post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 

Wade, thanks so much for the insight man. I did have the two vents closed at the bottom while using the IQ 110, and the top vents were back and forth between like 1/4 to 1/2. I am still pretty obsessed with walking out there and checking to make sure, but with time I think I will trust it more. Because if it's not working, it's probably my fault.

post #14 of 16
To pit your mind at ease grab a couple of thermometers
One for the food that can be in the oven and a second for your air temp..
post #15 of 16

I've been using Kingsford "Competion" too.  Works great.

post #16 of 16

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by LA-AUB-TIGER View Post

 

I am still pretty obsessed with walking out there and checking to make sure, but with time I think I will trust it more.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by BigGQWesty View Post

To pit your mind at ease grab a couple of thermometers
One for the food that can be in the oven and a second for your air temp..

 

As BigGQWesty says, if you don't have one already get yourself a Maverick dual probe thermometer (other makes are available). At least that way you can monitor the temperatures remotely and the lid and IQ-110 dial will not be in arms reach for you to be tempted to lift or tweak :biggrin:. For more confidence you could also set the temperature alarms on the Maverick remote...

 

You have a great setup there with the combination of the Weber and the IQ-110. A couple more smokes and you should get the confidence that it will just sit there quietly doing what it is supposed to. 

 

Cheers

 

Wade

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