"Cowboy Lump Charcoal" (War Zone)

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by bearcarver, May 28, 2010.

  1. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    OK guys, I never used lump hardwood charcoal before, but I've read about various kinds on this forum & other places. The only time I use any kind of charcoal is when I break out my little Hibachi to make a couple quick steaks, hot dogs, or burgers for me & the Mrs. So I finally bought a bag of "Cowboy Lump Charcoal" to give it a try.

    WOW !!!

    I lit it in my chimney starter. It was spitting & carrying on when I carried it over to my Hibachi. I thought for a minute I was back in 'Nam! Bang---Zing---Bap-Bap-Bap-----Hot pieces were flying all over the place. I had to put it on my gas grill & close the lid to keep from getting hit & to keep hot flying pieces from landing under my deck in the mulch & starting a fire!!!

    I think I'll go back to charcoal !

    Can anyone tell me what that was all about???

    It isn't wet or anything.

  2. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Cowboy is one of the what should we say, not so good cheap lump wood brands. Lets just say it doesn't get very high reviews usually and has been known to have particle board etc. found in the bags. Not all Lump woods are the same. Some brands are great and some aren't very good. Some burn hotter, longer, produce more or less ash and spark more than others. Check out this web page if you haven't been on it before. It has all kinds of great reviews. http://www.nakedwhiz.com/lump.htm

    I would definately suggest giving it another try but maybe with a better brand lump. Other than the sparks and stuff did it taste and perform up to your standards?
    Last edited: May 28, 2010
  3. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

  4. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks RB.

    After I put on my flack jacket, helmet, and safety glasses, I finished the burgers. I didn't notice any better taste than with regular charcoal. I'll probably light the whole bag on July 4, and get rid of it.


    LOL----It wasn't that bad, but then again it wasn't dark out at the time.

  5. gofish

    gofish Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Give the Royal Oak Lump a whirl ... you'll like it alot better!
  6. dennisdocb

    dennisdocb Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Agree..I had the very same thing happen to me my first experience with lump as that's all ACE carried.  Then I tried RO-USA and haven't looked back..Good Smokes my friend..
  7. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I also prefer RO lump (when I can get it), but just FYI all lump will spark some, but some more than others. Another brand I like is Lazzari it is made from mesquite wood, but it sparks a LOT.
  8. danielh

    danielh Meat Mopper

    I get the same from the frontier i've been burning..  But WOW does it burn hot and long, and doesnt leave much ash. 

    I rarely even use briquettes anymore.  Especially for long cooks.  I'll mix some in when just grilling to get rid of it though..
  9. disbe81

    disbe81 Smoke Blower

    You have to expect some sparking with any lump. Just think of when you have a camp fire going, you can hear the wood at times popping and sparking.... its normal.... and lump is basically just charred wood. Lump has huge advantages over briq's. For starters, theres no added fillers and potential chemicals in lump like there is charcoal (cowboy brand is known to have particle board and other non real wood items in it though). You also usually get a longer more consistent burn with much less ash. You wont notice a big difference in taste from lump to briq's with cowboy brand, but some of the better brands i assure you will.

    Also, some of the better brands cost more, but with the longer burn times you wind up using a LOT less on long smokes. Also, when i use it for just grilling, after i take my meat off, i have a jug of water and i pour it over my coals. Doing this, i can usually use the same batch of lump charcoal for 3 or 4 grilling sessions without needing to add more. Try that with briq's, lol! Dont give up on lump, its superior in every way!
  10. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Red bag Royal Oak lump is made in 4 countries-USA, Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. Of the 4 thenakedwhiz rates the USA and the Brazilian as the best RO lump. I have used the stuff from Paraguay and the burn time is no where near as long as the made in the US.
  11. lugnutz

    lugnutz Smoking Fanatic

    Hey thanks for the Nakedwhiz link, found out I have several lumps to choose from, and the majority are made by RO just labeled different. Might even have wife stop in and pick me up some today and give it a try.
  12. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Did you pick up your Frontier at Sams Club? I picked up four 40lb bags earlier this summer when they had them. I really like the stuff. Comes with nice big pieces and it seems to last a long time. After a 6 hour burn I can hardly tell anything was burned in my basket.
  13. I have some royal oak that lights up better than that link, scared the begeezes out of me the first time I used it, but once I dumped it into the smoker it was fine, I think the chiminy makes it alot more dramatic than it is.  now even though I had a 10 foot colume of sparks shooting out the top of the chiminy I got a 9 hour burn time out of that load.

  14. danielh

    danielh Meat Mopper

    Yeah I've been buying it from there..  Just pick up a bag everytime I go.

    I find it way superior to briq's, especially Kingsford, even their comp line.  But it does have its flaws like anything else.  Hard to light and smells funny when lighting it, but other than that I'm pleased with it.  I usually just throw a few briq's in the bottom to help get it lit and keep it lit.  Havent found anything odd in the bags yet and I'm halfway through the second bag.  Its screaming hot though, great for searing steaks.  Make sure you have long tongs if you dont like the smell of burning hair.

    It lasts forever though, I filled the ring in my 18.5" WSM and have done 2 small cooks lasting around 8 hours total plus startup and shutdown time and I would say I've only burned around 1/3 of the ring.  I'm pretty confident I could do at least a 16hr cook on it althought i havent tried it yet.
  15. dick foster

    dick foster Smoking Fanatic

    For one thing Cowboy is not one of the better brands of lump. Like everyone else suggested try some Royal Oak USA made and bagged lump. Wallmart carries the stuff so it's easy to find. The second thing is you're grilling and not smoking so the food isn't there long enough to make much of a difference either way.

    For smoking you really want to use lump because it is made from hard wood only and the food is exposed to it for many long hours. Lump also gets hotter allowing many pits to get up the cooking temps required while many won't get as hot as they need with charcoal briquettes as fuel.  

    Charcoal briquettes are made with clay to help stick it together (or dirt), sawdust of almost any kind of wood (a waste product) and even coal dust to help make it burn (another waste product).

    They make charcoal briquettes as cheap as they can and sell it for as much as they can. They probably spend more money in marketing the stuff than they do producing and distributing it. If they could find a way to get old car tires and used ground up asphalt pavement in there and get away with it, they would probably do that too. Some brands are worse, much worse, than others. As charcoal briquettes go regular Kingsford is OK so long as it's not that crap that is doused with lighter fluid. You may as well go out and pour some used motor oil or gasoline on your food as to use that shit.

    Charcoal briquettes were a invention of Henry Ford's so he could get rid of the sawdust from his Model T auto production line by selling it. There were only two goals, to git rid of the saw dust and if at all possible to make money doing it, not to make a decent fuel for cooking food.

    I use briquettes only for preheating the pit when there is no food in it. Some of the stuff out there isn't even good enough for that. For actually cooking and smoking, I use lump only, along with the chosen wood for the smoke and flavor of course.   
  16. dadoman

    dadoman Newbie

  17. dick foster

    dick foster Smoking Fanatic

    Some of that is pretty interest but some is just plain strange. Who in their right mind would cook or smoke with pine or fir so why even make charcoal with it?
  18. flbobecu

    flbobecu Smoking Fanatic

    Maybe for those outdoor chimney/heaters, etc.? [​IMG]
  19. coyote-1

    coyote-1 Smoking Fanatic

    I have no quibble with Cowboy.

    For smoking it's not as good as RO, but for direct grilling it works better because it lights up quicker. When I'm doing my aged porterhouse steaks, they get grilled over Cowboy.

    I do notice the taste difference between lump hardwood and typical briquettes. And I'm not the only one. There have been folks for whom I've grilled that I don't tell about my methods, and more than once I've gotten an unsolicited "best I ever had" comment.
  20. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Same experience here, thought my hair was on fire a few times.\

    Might save a bag for the fourth of July celebration.

    Why is it that all the Brands of Lump that are deemed S**t are the only ones I see for sale?

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