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Briquettes vs. Lump

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by lucc, Sep 21, 2010.

  1. lucc

    lucc Smoke Blower

    Well I finished off the bag of Cowboy lump charcoal and I think I am going to stick with Kingsford briquettes. The lump seemed to give the meat a stronger charcoal flavor and overpowerd the wood flavor. Anyone esle see it the same way? You can definitely smell the difference between the two when smoking.
  2. dick foster

    dick foster Smoking Fanatic

    Overpowered the wood flavor? Lump is made only from wood while briquettes are only partially made from wood. Cowboy is not one of the better or well thought of brands BTW.  
  3. lucc

    lucc Smoke Blower

    LOL, I guess I meant an overpowering wood flavor. Seems with briquettes I tasted the hickory/apple/pecan/mesquite/etc flavor better.
  4. I use GFS lump charcoal and it tastes great and its only 12.99 a 20# bag
  5. dick foster

    dick foster Smoking Fanatic

  6. jethro

    jethro Smoke Blower

    Cowboy is the worst...they use construction waste in their lump. I have personally found chunks of treated plywood in the one and ony bag of cowboy that I bought...whole bag went in the trash. The arsenic and glue is probably what was the overpowering factor.
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2010
  7. dick foster

    dick foster Smoking Fanatic

    I knew they used scrap from flooring mills but I didn't know about the plywood. That would indeed be a bummer.

    The really odd thing is, is that one of the best possible brands out there, Royal Oak, is sold in the lowest cost store around, Wallmart. Go figure.  
  8. lucc

    lucc Smoke Blower

    Wow, won't be using Cowboy any longer!!!

    Also, I've been doing some searching and have found that adding flavoring wood to lump isn't necessary. If you add wood it overpowers the meat and it tastes like lump charcoal, this is basically what I was trying to say in my original post. I noticed when adding flavoring wood to briquettes you could taste the flavoring wood better, wasn't overpowering.
  9. dick foster

    dick foster Smoking Fanatic

    Not in my experence. I use lump for heat and chunk for flavor all the time.  
  10. Dutch

    Dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member OTBS Admin SMF Premier Member

    When I use lump in the sfb modified GOSM, I use Royal Oak. The Royal Oak Briquettes seem to be bigger and burns hotter than Kingsford's.  I really gotta watch my temps when using RO briquettes when I'm cooking with the dutch ovens.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2010
  11. coffee_junkie

    coffee_junkie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I bought a bag of cowboy lump, big mistake. I used it in the drum last weekend and I couldn't get it to stabilize, then it just flat went out, luckily the fatty was done before that happened. I will stick with RO lump from now on.
  12. Dutch

    Dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member OTBS Admin SMF Premier Member

    In the one and only bag of Cowboy lump that I used I found charred nails and even a couple of pieces of uncharred wood chunks in the bottom of the bag. There had to have been at least a pound of small peices (1/2 inch and smaller) that couldn't even be used. 
  13. coyote-1

    coyote-1 Smoking Fanatic

    I've never found plywood in Cowboy. An occasional rock, but you get that in almost any lump (including RO). I did once get a piece of kiln insulation in Cowboy; I just removed it. Industrial scrap hardwood is just as useful as log hardwood; it is the same wood! And in fact, RO is cut into small pieces using saws just like Cowboy.

    It's the process of making it into coal that is different. And that yields differences in the character of the burn. From my experience Cowboy lights quicker, and its initial burn phase is hotter... but it burns out more quickly. RO lights a bit slower, and does not yield as much of an initial heat blast.... but it burns more consistently, and yields greater heat over that time.

    So I use both, for different purposes.

    For smoking I fill my coal basket with RO. I then light a chimney of Cowboy, and dump that into a corner of the basket. That way my smoker gets hot more quickly AND it gets the benefit of RO's steady hot burn. I then toss chunks/sticks of whatever smokewood I want on top of the basket as the smoke progresses.

    For grilling, I use Cowboy. Because that initial hot burn is exactly what I want to sear a steak or lamb chops or whatever.

    What I do NOT use at all any more is briquettes. I have a half-bag of Kingsford sittin' in the garage, and a bag of some match-light stuff that my sis-inlaw gave me. I mmight over time use the Kingsford, but the matchlight is likely gonna get tossed. You think lump coal colors the taste of food?  How about briquettes composed of some wood coal dust, some clay-chemical binders... and infused with enough propellant that you can put a match to it and it lights right up??
  14. ak1

    ak1 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I use briquettes once in a while, when I need stable temps over a certain time. For that, I find that briquettes are better than lump because they're uniform, but what I use is Maple Leaf, it's just charcoal dust held together by wheat starch.

    What I don't like about briquettes is the amount of ash that is produced.