GFS Hardwood Briquettes. Impressed, so far!

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by fpmich, Jun 25, 2015.

  1. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    I usually use Royal Oak Lump with wood added.  Works great and very little ash. 

    But I've also used Kings-Ford Blue.  Much more ash and a funny taste,  KF also doesn't keep temps much higher than 225* in my smoker.  Also I have to start a new chimney almost as soon as I dump lit chimney into basket.

    Lump & wood chunks/splits, is my favorite, but lump is expensive. 

    So I decided to try some Gordon Food Store Hardwood Briquettes.

    I'm very impressed with them!

    No chemical smell or taste from them.

    Takes a little longer to light, than KF or lump.  But it burns cleaner and hotter than KF for much longer time, and hold temp range rock steady.

    I've used it 3 times now, and I ended up using just as much as I do other charcoal. 

    Why?  Because I always start a  new chimney WAY too early!  LOL    I ended up burning half my briquettes in the chimney waiting for temp drop signal, to add them. 

    The temp drop is much longer than KF.   I have to learn not to jump the gun with these as I would have to with KF.

    Only downside is ASH!  I mean a TON of it!  Even more than KF.  So now I know I have to dump ashes often for air supply. 

    Sheesh!  I can cook all day, and not get but a cup or two of ash from RO lump.  But I also spend a lot more time added and tending.  It's a trade off.

    But over all, I'm very happy with GFS hardwood briquettes, and the extra heat and longer burning.  Just have to get used to it.

    Do you get similar results?
  2. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member


    Can you post a pic of the bag or a few briquettes? From what I have been able to find you may be using Royal Oak briquettes rebranded as GFS.[​IMG]
  3. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    Yeah Cliff,
    It's my understanding that Royal Oak brands both lump and briquettes for Gordon Foods Store.  I've used GFS Lump and it is the same as Royal Oak.  However I quit buying GFS Lump because about 1/2 the bags or more contain anywhere from 2 to 3 lb. of rock in them.  I got tired of paying for rocks.  So far I've never found any in RO Branded bags.

  4. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    You will sooner or later, but probably not 2-3 pounds.
  5. buttburner

    buttburner Meat Mopper

    GFS briqs are made my Royal Oak

    I use it on occasion but prefer a natural briq like Trader Joe's made by Rancher
  6. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    I'd like to try Trader Joe's.  Hear a lot about them.  Supposed to have less ash.  Is that true in your opinion? 

    I've never seen any in the Tri-City area (MBS) of Michigan.  Closest one are about a 100 miles from me.  Now a 200 mile round trip will raise the cost considerably.  LOL
  7. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Got some Trader Joe's a couple of years ago(they are rebranded Rancher Briquettes) and they were terrible.
    In Rancher's defense, they may have been old, but they fell apart completely when I poured a chimney full of fully lit briqs into the grill. I am not the only one that has had this problem with the Trader Joe's charcoal.
    Just for the record Stubbs is my first choice for briquettes.
  8. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I think because they only use cornstarch as a binder, if they were older and in a fairly humid environment, this might have been the cause. I've had great results from TJ's briquettes, as well as Stubb's. The Stubb's definitely seem more dense and have a more "finished" appearance, but I've had very similar performance between the two. For me, it comes down to price and availability. Trader Joe's wins on both counts by a wide margin.
  9. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    I found out I can order Stubbs shipped to Walmart.  But.... instead of just letting me pay,...  I'm forced to create an account,  No Thanks!

    Guess I'll just have to keep on dumping ash and give my stick burning more practice.  Boy does that need more practice!  LOL

    My biggest problem with sticks is seasoning.  Even store bought seems to have too much moisture and excess smoke.

    I've had better success using lump and preheated small wood chunks. Rather than straight wood burning.

    I've got 4 or 5 Maple branches, 3-4 inch limbs about 5 feet long off the ground for about a year & 1/2 now.  A couple of them are showing signs of shedding the bark now.  A good sign.  They've been uncovered, so are taking a long time to dry.  Especially not being cut into shorter lengths, but they are showing promise.  Next year I will be using them.

    Got to build me a little wood drying shelter.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2015
  10. humdinger

    humdinger Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Interesting points Frank. I use GFS in my grill, but haven;t noticed any rocks. Will definitely keep an eye out. thanks.
  11. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    I've gotten some rocks big enough that I used them to hold tarps down from wind.  Not kidding at all.  The largest one I found was 4 lb.

    They weren't just regular rocks though.  They looked like cinder blocks with small stones mixed in that never burnt.  Clinkers, I think my folks called them when we still used coal heat furnace.  I think I've got one or two left around.   I'll take a picture and post it.

    The lump charcoal did burn great though.  Same as Royal Oak branded.  No ash and hot.

    Now with GFS hardwood briquettes, I don't have to worry about paying for rocks , but I do have the ash buildup to deal with.

    It's a trade off.  Seems like everything to do with smoking, has trade offs.  LOL   GFS briquettes do perform very well for me though.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2015
  12. bbq jedi

    bbq jedi Fire Starter

    I have recently used Stubb's All Natural Charcoal Briquets. I like them so far. They don't have a weird smell or anything.
  13. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    Here's a photo of a couple of the rocks.  The largest one I found got tossed away before I thought of using them as hold downs.

  14. humdinger

    humdinger Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks for posting frank. That is too funny!

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