I have been cooking on my PBC for a while now and until yesterday I have been using Kingford like they recommend. Generally, I fill the basket with Kingsford blue bag (KBB) and light about a half chimney of Kingsford competition (now professional) and wait 12-15 min and then dump this onto the unlit KBB and away I go! This produces temperature in the 260-275 range pretty consistently and long enough to pretty much cook anything you put on the PBC. What I don't like is the binders Kingsford uses and amount of ash it produces that I need to clean up after the cook so I decided to try something else. I purchased a bag on Royal Oak (RO) Briquettes (not lump, have lump for another try later) and lit my grill using the same exact method as I do for KBB. It seemed to light pretty fast and ash over so I poured it into the PBC basket (again with unlit RO) and closed the lid for 5 min to heat up. I then hung my meat (was a rack of spares) and dropped the probe in and let her go. It started and heated up to around the 230 range and then settled in right around 215-220 after about 20 min. I assumed the coals were still powering up so I let it go but a good hour into the cook I was still in the 220 range so I decided to stir up the pan a little to see if that helped and it went up to around 230 again and then dropped back down to around 215-220. Being used to higher temp cooks as a PBC user (usually 270 or so) I got frustrated and lit a half chimney of Kingsford competition and poured that in to get the temp cranked. That worked and in minutes I was back in business with my 275 temp zone goal.
I was really wishing that RO would run similar enough to KBB that I could use a similar method and get similar results with a "more natural" charcoal but it seems RO briquettes run a cooler than KBB. Has anyone else experienced this or have suggest as to what happened? Did I not let the initial coals light long enough? Should I have left the lid off the PBC 5-10 min after pouring on the initial coals to heat up? Does RO just not burn as hot? I plan to run a few more cooks with different charcoal to see if I can find a replace but as of now its not looking good. I have a bag of Stubbs I am going to try next. I also have RO Lump that I want to try as well. I have hear people claim to run RO briquettes (and lump) in their PBC with no issue but no one offered any method or temps. I am hoping to get a post going so future generations of PBC cookers can have clearer answers to these general questions!