Howdy Y'all I got a big smoke coming up next weekend. I am wondering which would be best to use , lump or charcoal. i will be cooking 3 briskets totaling 38 pounds. I have an old hand - made grill ( 24x50 in.)that I put a 18x18x18in. smoke box on, also wondering about how long it might take to get the job done . Any feedback would be welcome .
Lump coal VS Charcoal
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I would go with whichever type charcoal your smoker seems happier with, (Assuming you have tried both lump and briquettes in it).
I would figure 1.5 to 2 hours per pound of the largest of the three briskets to guesstimate cooking time. (Even though you are cooking all three at the same time).
I have limited experience with lump but, as Bmudd say's "it does seem to burn better". Generally produces less ash and so can be less prone to suffocate your coal bed. (The better quality lump is from all wood and so doesn't have the additives that regular charcoal briquettes can have. (You can get all natural briquettes also, which will produce less ash than even decent briquettes, like Kingsford blue).
I general; Because of the uniform shape of briquettes, they will pack a little tighter than lump which can equate to "more fuel / longer burn time.
Before I committed to a three brisket cook with lump I would do a trial run.
Hopefully some of the folks with more lump experience will add their thoughts.
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I use a basket of Royal Oak lump for a good start of hot coals. I start the lump with about 1/2-2/3 chimney of RO briqs in a valley in the middle of the lump. When all of the lump is fully red, I begin adding splits and do my cook with all wood. That's just my method of getting my smoker off to a good start. Some of the old school stick burners will probably poo-poo my use of charcoal to make my coal bed, buts that's OK
Good luck with your briskies and keep on smokin', Joe..
Thanks to all of you . The big day is nearing and I thik that I'll go ahead and use the brickettes, since that is what I'm used to. Wish me luck . Oh, by the way , these are for my baby girl's wedding reception. I am nervous as all get out.
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I'll see your three briskets and raise you four pork butts! LOL
I have used both lump and briquets and still use both depending on what I'm cooking. For any cooks less than 8 hrs. I can use lump without having to reload and get great results, but if I know I need to go 12-17 hrs. then I switch to briquets. For the link above I used one 20 lb. bag of briquets and the entire cook took about 16 hrs. without reloading - your fuel consumption will probably be different from mine though.
Another nice method for long smokes is to mix lump and briquets approx. 25% lump & 75% briquets. This gives you a fire that burns for a long time, but when the fire hits a chunk of lump it gives it a bit of a boost to help keep the temps up over a long period of time.
Congratulations , but; Where's the pictures?
Did you wind up using briquettes?