coal from a coal mine ??

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by frostbite3, Sep 18, 2013.

  1. Hi---Im new to smoking and acquired a brand new mr meat smoker. I got it at a estate auction and it is from 1989. They don't make it any more but I have smoked some salmon and chicken with it with good results.I have been wondering about using charcoal and read on this forum that charcoal contains wood sawdust and glue.  My brother works in a coal mine near Roundup Montana. Would natural coal straight from a mine work for smoking or does it need to be enhanced somehow before using it? Thanks for any help and really like this smoking good site.
  2.    Coal smoke is ghastly smelling. I know that some coal dust is used in charcoal briquetts, and I don't know how they get rid of the smell, but I can't imagine eating something smoked with coal alone.

  3. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Kingsford uses coal in their "Blue Bag" briquettes, I don't know that any other briquette maker does.

    The coal that is mined in Montana is generally used to power electrical plants, IMHO you should not use it in your BBQ.
  4. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Coal Fired Pizza Ovens are common in NY and have a strong following over wood or gas Pizza Ovens. Prior to the 70's Coal fired cook stoves were very common, my Grandma in NE PA had 2. I find the smell nostalgic as she baked everything from Bread to Pies and the best Turkey I have ever eaten. The main fuel was the very hard Anthracite Coal that burns Clean. There is no reason not to use it but I would find out what type of coal you can get. Can't hurt to try it and see if there is an objectionable flavor on the meat...JJ
  5. Careful, you must use Anthracite Coal, and it burns HOT!!! As is melt metal HOT!!!
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2013
  6. Thanks for your reply--I wasn't going to smoke with charcoal only--just use it as a heat source like charcoal to lay my hickory or apple wood on it .
  7. What is the difference between lump coal and coal from a mine?? Thanks for any input
  8. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    There is Lump " Charcoal " which is Wood that is burned in a low Oxygen Kiln to change it into Charcoal. Lump " Coal " is Mined Coal that is broken/cracked into various sized chunks based on it's use. See Below for the various sizes...JJ
    • Steam - 4.5 to 6 inches in size (primarily used as steamship fuel).
    • Broken - 3.25 to 4.5 inches in size.
    • Egg - 2.25 to 2.3 inches in size.
    • Stove - 1.5 to 1.625 inches in size (primarily used for use in home cooking stoves).
    • Chestnut - 0.875 to 0.9375 inches in size.
    • Pea - 0.5 to 0.625 inches in size. There were three subsets of "pea coal":
    • No. 1 Buckwheat - 0.25 to 0.3125 inches in size.
    • No. 2 Buckwheat - 0.1875 inches in size.
    • No. 3 Buckwheat - 0.09375 to 0.125 inches in size.
    Coal pieces smaller than 0.09375 inches in size were considered "culm," and unable to be separated from the impurities (and thus useless).[2]  The grade of coal ranged from a low of 5 percent impurities for steam or broken coal to a high of 15 percent for pea-size coal and its subsets.[2]


  9. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Charcoal is made from wood....   Coal is plant material among other things...    Coal has tars in it...   I'm sure it will make you very ill if used in a food smoker....     Stoves and ovens, that used coal for heat, had a "jacket" where the heat passed and none of the emissions from the coal came in contact with the food in the oven......  

  10. Well--I guess I wont be using real coal for a heat source. Thanks for all the info. This site is such a great source of information.
  11. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Last edited: Sep 19, 2013

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