Lump Charcoal Soot/Dust

  • Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.
SMF is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

BigVinnie

Newbie
Original poster
Apr 23, 2024
6
9
Sorry if this is the wrong forum, wasn't sure where to put this. I finally have a charcoal grill of my own and have been trying to do things the "right" way. My grilling experience has always been with my dad who I know doesn't do a great job. Tons of lighter fluid, meat always over cooked, opening his lid every two seconds to constantly move everything around. Back story not really necessary but helps explain my motivation.

Anyways, first thing I did was buy true lump Charcoal and not the briquettes (Kingsford) my dad always uses. But the dust/soot is a problem. It leaves a coating on the grates, especially the upper warming rack, that I then have to try and clean off before putting any food on the grill. I did some research on lump Charcoal to try and find something well reviewed that wouldn't break the bank. I went with B&B and have been happy with everything except the dust/soot problem. And for the record I use a chimney and fat wood fire starting sticks to light the chimney.

Am I doing something wrong? Is it just the brand? Is it ok to just use briquettes? I have one of those steam cleaning brushes that I hit the main grates with once they are hot for a final cleaning, but the over all mess is annoying to deal with. For right now I'm just doing basic grilling. I won't be smoking anything just yet until I can afford to do it proper. Quality probes and cuts of meat aren't cheap.
 
Not a lump user but have a few questions.....What are you cooking on? Do you have your vents open? Clean smoke?
Welcome to the forum and please post up some pics.

Jim
 
Are you letting the lump fully light in the chimney before dumping in the grill? I only use lump and never had that issue as long as it is ashed over before I dump it in. Also as Jim said some pics would be good so people can get a visual.

Is the lump you're using nice chucks? I have had a couple bags that were just small scraps and I did not like that and I could see how that might create soot for you. Even with that though when I lit it and had it going good and ashed over it was not a problem.
 
Not a lump user but have a few questions.....What are you cooking on? Do you have your vents open? Clean smoke?
Welcome to the forum and please post up some pics.

Jim
I'll get some pics later as I am grilling tonight. I grill on a Char-Griller Legacy from Lowes. It's a retailer specific model. Vents are open but don't apply to this situation. This is from when I first add and light the charcoal before I get anything on the grill. So my lid is open at this point.

I add most the charcoal I need to the adjustable charcoal grate and set the chimney next to it on that same grate to light. Once everything in the chimney is lit I dump it on the rest of the charcoal and spread it around with my charcoal rake. During this whole process a layer of soot settles on everything, especially that upper warming rack.
 
  • Like
Reactions: JLeonard
Try it the other way around. Fire up the chimney until the red reaches the top, pour it in the griller then add any other charcoal you need on top.

I have a large pit that is a little different but I raise the grill to the top and do just that, adding more coals or wood on top then lowering the grate after they catch. I never have soot problems.
 
  • Like
Reactions: JLeonard
Sorry if this is the wrong forum, wasn't sure where to put this. I finally have a charcoal grill of my own and have been trying to do things the "right" way. My grilling experience has always been with my dad who I know doesn't do a great job. Tons of lighter fluid, meat always over cooked, opening his lid every two seconds to constantly move everything around. Back story not really necessary but helps explain my motivation.

Anyways, first thing I did was buy true lump Charcoal and not the briquettes (Kingsford) my dad always uses. But the dust/soot is a problem. It leaves a coating on the grates, especially the upper warming rack, that I then have to try and clean off before putting any food on the grill. I did some research on lump Charcoal to try and find something well reviewed that wouldn't break the bank. I went with B&B and have been happy with everything except the dust/soot problem. And for the record I use a chimney and fat wood fire starting sticks to light the chimney.

Am I doing something wrong? Is it just the brand? Is it ok to just use briquettes? I have one of those steam cleaning brushes that I hit the main grates with once they are hot for a final cleaning, but the over all mess is annoying to deal with. For right now I'm just doing basic grilling. I won't be smoking anything just yet until I can afford to do it proper. Quality probes and cuts of meat aren't cheap.
So after revaluating everything I determined it was my fire starting sticks causing the problem. Grill Expert fat wood sticks from Walmart. They give off a sooty black smoke from whatever oil they are soaked in that I incorrectly attributed to the charcoal. Will need to look at other options for lighting the coals as I really would like to avoid using lighter fluid for anything.
 
Are you pouring the charcoal straight from the bag into your chimney and grill? Lump sum generate a fair amount of lump due to handling during shipping and handling - if the bag is pretty beat up, it's a good indication the bag went thru some rough handling and will have more than the usual amount of dust.

I've found that pouring straight from the bag so also dump out a lot of this dust. It's probably ok for the chimney, but if you pour into your grill, the dust will go everywhere. I try to dump from the bag into a box, let the dust settle, and then move the lump from the box to the grill by hand. Yeah, you'll end up with a black hand but it helps keep the dust outta the grill.
 
  • Like
Reactions: JLeonard
So after revaluating everything I determined it was my fire starting sticks causing the problem. Grill Expert fat wood sticks from Walmart. They give off a sooty black smoke from whatever oil they are soaked in that I incorrectly attributed to the charcoal. Will need to look at other options for lighting the coals as I really would like to avoid using lighter fluid for anything.
Fatwood is no bueno for cooking fires. It's naturally saturated with pine tar as it's cut from pine stumps
 
So after revaluating everything I determined it was my fire starting sticks causing the problem. Grill Expert fat wood sticks from Walmart. They give off a sooty black smoke from whatever oil they are soaked in that I incorrectly attributed to the charcoal. Will need to look at other options for lighting the coals as I really would like to avoid using lighter fluid for anything.

Sounds like you solved your problem.

Most folks would recommend a couple different fire starting products: Weber Starter Cubes (which are made a paraffin) or those tumbleweeds already mentioned.

Another option: I have a weed burner torch that attaches to a propane tank. I've found it to be an excellent charcoal starter. Just pour however much unlit charcoal you want on the coal grate, and fire up the weed torch. Usually takes only 3 or 4 minutes to have a red-hot charcoal bed.

Something similar to this:

1717004273652.png


Red
 
Sounds like you solved your problem.

Most folks would recommend a couple different fire starting products: Weber Starter Cubes (which are made a paraffin) or those tumbleweeds already mentioned.

Another option: I have a weed burner torch that attaches to a propane tank. I've found it to be an excellent charcoal starter. Just pour however much unlit charcoal you want on the coal grate, and fire up the weed torch. Usually takes only 3 or 4 minutes to have a red-hot charcoal bed.

Something similar to this:

View attachment 697972

Red
I use one to light coal when starting up the Lang. Love it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: seenred
I just stick my MAP Torch (using propane) up through the bottom... move it around to different spots... About a minute and it's on it's way..

IMG_1786.JPG

Then they double as my beer poles (one at each end) when playing cornhole or horseshoes... I actually have another one for the chimney...

IMG_1790.JPG
 
I dump my meat fat on newspaper. Use the saturated newspaper as starter under the chimney. They smoke, but at least not pine tar.
 
SmokingMeatForums.com is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.
Clicky