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How much lump for an all day smoke?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
So, im jumping in feet first this weekend. I bought a chargriller last week. Seasoned it, tried it out last night with stuff i couldnt screw up and now im doing a brisket this weekend. Not really my choice. A group of us are going camping this weekend, and i told one of my friends i bought a smoker and he said "hey i got a brisket, lets smoke that mother Saturday." I told him id rather not do that as a first round but being the friend that he is said "Go big or go home pus.." Its his brisket, so whatever. Im not scared! We'll all be feelin good enough to eat it eitherway i guess. But, i plan on using Royal Oak lump along with hard maple for fuel. How many bags of charcoal should i plan on, 4? I have an unlimited amount of wood, so plan on using quite a bit of wood and just adding charcoal as needed. Somebody help me out som im not going totally in the dark to this thing? I am also planning on getting the smoker fired up at about 4am and meat on at 5...so at least we can eat before midnight i hope! THoughts?
post #2 of 19
There are so many variables , Size of smoker, what is the firebox size, how is the airflo etc. Give us the details of your smoker and someone will likely have an educated guess that is fairly accurate.

I have a cobb cooker for example that only uses 8 briquettes or 6 pieces of lump for an hour and a 1/2 smoke. Or a Masterbuilt smoker that takes about 5 lbs of lump for a 4 hour smoke.

We need to know a bit more to answer your question.

As a rule of thumb though , if you think you may need 4 bags of lump, I'd get at least 6. You can always use it. Better to have more than you need on hand than less than you need.

Good luck on the smoke. Remember we love qview.
post #3 of 19
To save $ would just pre burn the wood you say you have so much of and add the coals from the fire as needed But 2 bags of royal oak as a back up wouldn't hurt. JMO. I've only done 4 briskets so far. All good though.
post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
Ok, I'll take 6 bags to be safe, and wood. I would rather not preburn wood and have to deal with that too as im a rookie. id rather just have to toss a chunk of wood in or some charcoal as needed. I guess after i get a good bed of coals i could just burn wood too. Toss in a chunk or 2 at a time. The wood is firewood size, 16-20 inch splits that i am planning on cutting in half and splitting down pretty small. i guess i shouldnt say i have an UNLIMITED supply, but i burn wood exclusively for heat, and i cut all my own firewood, and have a nice stockpile of seasoned maple and oak and ash right now. And a huge cherry down on my hunting land i will cut this fall. So, for smoking its pretty infinite as long as im not doing it commercially!
post #5 of 19
Make sure that the wood you are using is good and seasoned. Also, before you put the wood on the fire preheat it either on the fire box or in the fire box away from the burning coals. It cuts down on the icky white smoke as it starts burning. Six bags is a lot of lump, you shouldn't have a problem.

Good luck, 4 am comes really fast... Hope you have more than a 6-pack.icon_mrgreen.gif
post #6 of 19
Just my two cents worth....but, if you have plenty of seasoned oak, also....use some of that along with the maple.....it'll burn longer, and oak adds some nice flavor depth to a lighter wood like maple.

Good luck on your first-of-many brisket!!

post #7 of 19
I have to agree with these guys. I bet your going to burn 20 pounds, and since you are not real familiar with that smoker yet, you may burn more. I would have at least 30 pounds ready. Your timing seams about right. I average 19 hours on a brisket.
post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 
I am not looking foward to 4am thats for sure! If i had some more experience i would put it on around midnight i think, but i dont have the willpower to get up and check on it a few times through out the night. At least if i get up and get it on and doze off there are a couple guys along that are competent enough to watch the temp and at least either wake me or add fuel if i doze off in the morn after getting it on. On the lump, i might as well get alot and have enough for the fall/winter. WHen does walmart stop selling the stuff for the year? On the firewood, the maple is easy access and the oakis buried in the pile. Its hard maple at least, but maybe i will try to dig out some oak. its all stuff that i cut last fall, so its well seasoned. WOrst part is now they are calling for rain all weekend...but we have a couple canopies lined up. I'll let you all know how it turns out and try to snap some qview! Thanks for all your replies.
post #9 of 19
I did a 7-pound brisket, along with two racks of spares, on a single basket of RO lump - plus 4 splits of hardwood (cherry & maple) - last weekend. Got 6 hours of burn time, with smoke chamber temps at a pretty consistent 225. The basket dimensions are 12" x 13" x 8", and it's divided so the burn happens in a C-shape. Outdoor temps were around 85, with a breeze.

I doubt you'll need anything more than a single bag of lump. But bringing extra is always a good idea!
post #10 of 19
I would try and use mostly wood for fuel if you have it on hand. I found for myself that I prefer the taste of an all wood smoke (started with a bed of lump) than all charcoal. It's more work and watching the temps closer but imo it well worth it.
post #11 of 19
I have the Chargriller Smokin Pro 800 with the side fire box, I have not done a brisquet yet, but for a 6 hr. smoke (ribs, butts, ect.) I will go through almost 2 bags of Royal Oak lump. I start by minioning one lit chimney into one unlit chimney, let it get up to temp (about 1/2 hr to 45 minutes), add my wood and let it settle to thin blue smoke, then add the meat. After that I pretty much can just add 1 chimney every 1 1/2 to 2 hours (usually 2), depending on weather, wind, ect.

Remember to shake your basket every so often to knock the ash out of the lump and down into the catch tray. My guess is if you buy 6 bags you should be very safe - especially with you using a lot of wood.
post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
Ok, so i ran into some possible new fuel today. I am a purchasing agent for a company and stopped at a vendors on the way home and he had a bag of hickory scraps from what they make. Its kiln dried but to chems. Can i use this to burrn? He also had a few little junk scraps of air dried hickory. I took it cause he gave it to me. Can i use the kiln dried stuff?
post #13 of 19
Was that supposed to read Kiln dried but no chems? If so it should be ok to burn.

You might think about making a simple burn barrel . Its simply a drum with an opening cut out near the bottom with a firebasket . You light a fire in it and when the splits burn down to coals shovel the coals into the firebox of your smoker quite easy really and saves a lot of costly lump.

Here is the Stickey on burn barrels. http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/for...ht=burn+barrel
post #14 of 19
I agree with Rick as far as Wood to Lump Ratio. I'm assuming you bought a chargriller OFFSET? Hope that's correct :-) sorry, if you mentioned that and I missed it. Sometimes I read too fast...

I think 4 bags is plenty, if you have lots of wood. In fact, something you said there reminded me of how I like to smoke.
Something about, "using mostly wood" and, "lump when needed".
That is EXACTLY how I do her now. PDT_Armataz_01_01.gif Her being The Mistress...my big-bottom offset - that my WIFE named, on account of how much time I spend with her icon_mrgreen.gif

I rotate in lump "around" my rotations of sticks. In fact, when I throw lump in - I put it on the opposite side of the actual fire..and push it over slowly - to ignite when needed. When the coals from the sticks have died down a little...move over the pre-heated lump.

I think if you stay true to that theory then 4 bags is plenty. I use one full bag and 20 sticks for a 10 hour smoke. My offset is bigger, but built in the same likeness as yours...hell, you might not use close to 4 bags if you burn a lot of wood...just depends like everyone said, on your set-up and your technique. Sounds like you are comfy with burning sticks - so go for it! Less **** to drag along camping. (the extra lump, I mean) LOL!

Good luck, and tell us Que stories about your camping adventure. icon_cool.gif
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
yes Kiln dried and no chemicals. Yes a chargriller offset. Ok, im going to try the mostly wood method. With my maple splits and hickory scrap. I have enough of both of those to burn all day with ust a couple pieces at a time. Thanks again for all the replies, its been a big help. Now the wather is not holding out and its supposed to rain all day today and off and on tomorrow. Oh well...we have a couple canopies and beer tastes better in the rain! I would just like to be able to set up tonight in dry weather. After that rain away...
post #16 of 19
Amen, brother! PDT_Armataz_01_37.gif
post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 
Ok, well i never posted a follow up. SORRY, NO QVIEW!! I forgot my camera at home. But things changed rapidly Friday night when my friend gave me the pack of "Brisket" i opened it and it was 3 racks of beef spares! Missed marked at Sam's, and he didnt know what brisket looks like. No prob i told him. used the same rub as planned and smoked on maple and hickory plus RO lump. Mopped with a homemade mop recipe...foiled one and just left the other 2 in the smoke. Not much noticeable diff in the end. They were all good!!

But the best part of the day by far was my first fattie! I made it up Thurs night. Pund of Jimmy Dean HOT sausage with some smoked red and yellow bells and smoked onion. Got up at 5 got the smoker going and on went the fattie at about 6. THIS SUCKER WAS UN BELIEVABLE!!! More fatties for sure in my future! My first rolling experience was painless thanks to this site too! Thanks all

QVIEW next time i promise. picked up a chuckie over lunch break. All these posts i had to try it. Went home got the rub on and its partying in the fridge with the rub. Going on the smoker at 5. just a little 2.75 pounder. Will start new thread with qview.
post #18 of 19


You're on the right track, If you gotta use the lump , OK. Try to stick with the wood in small pieces as you stated, and although it takes more hands on, watch for small temp. drops and add a piece when it drops by 10*to 20*F.I should catch quickly and if you keep the backup on top of the firebox, it will catch sooner. Your temps. should be really steady this way. Remember , a small fire can be controled, a big fire will send the temps. crazy .
Oh, and seggregate the Cherry. You will want this for BBQ only. Great on Ribs!!!
Questions about fire, E-mail me and we'll figure it out...
Have fun and
Stan aka OldSchool icon_mrgreen.gif
post #19 of 19
You're taking 60lbs? Wow. That's a lot of coals! Nothing wrong with that though, if it works.

I guess slowly the ceramic grill is paying for itself after my vertical ECB. 5-6lbs of coal will give me 225 on the dot for 18+ hours, easily! Shame it isn't very big..
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