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Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by dawgdrvr, Sep 16, 2010.

  1. Ok, so its an age old debate 'Lump or Briquettes'. Sense I am new to smoking,And very new to smoking on my 'Bandera' I am needing some input on what would be better for long and slow cooks. My options are Trader Joe's (Rancher) Briquettes. I can get an 18.lb for $6.50 or a 40.lb bag of Lazzari restaurant grade lump for $12.00 .At Cash & Carry.  

    The only lump that I have tried, was a generic bag of Mesquite ,Imported from Mexico. It had no other markings on the bag other than 'Hardwood Mesquite lump Charcoal'. When i used it, It popped and spit sparks for 3 hours.I have used 'Stubbs' briquettes but my local Lowes jacked up the price after labor day and i don't feel like paying $9.00 for a 10lb bag  

    any info or input would help.

    thanx guy'z  

  2. I think I tried that same generic Mexican hardwood mesquite, and although it does pop and spark, I really like it.  It's a huge improvement over briquttes, in my opinion, because you get consistent temperatures for much longer times than with briquettes.  I think you save money with the hardwood lump because it costs less and since it burns longer, you use less.

    On long smokes, I'd think you'd want to minimize the number of times you have to open the firebox to add fuel. 

    Smart and Final had a different brand of lump charcoal for about $9.99 last week, I haven't tried it yet, but it also comes in a big 40 pound bag.
  3. Alright Im still new but I have only used  lump, you get alot of good flavor out of lump and if you knew everything that they pack into those briquettes you wouldnt use them.

    Lump burns hotter then briquettes as well so keep these factors in mind when making your own decision and ultimately it is your decision so all we can do is give you information and preferences you need to use what you are comfortable with. Like II said I like lump and will never use briquettes
  4. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If you haven't seen it yet, this site does some great comparison on various lump charcoals - http://www.nakedwhiz.com/lump.htm  you will find that not all lump is created equal. That being said not all briquets are created equal eithers, some briquets have very little filler in them, others have lots, here is a nice littel post on briquets - http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/charcoal.html  .

    Every charcoal fired smoker behaves differantly, so you should take the time to try both briquets and lump and a mix of the two. I personally like to use the Royal Oak red bag briquets for most of my long low cooks, and Royal Oak red bag lump for things that require more heat like chicken or fatties. Somtimes I have mixed the two using the minion method so that as the minion burns down it occasionally gets a little kick of heat when it hits a piece of lump to help keep the temps up.

    I have used Lazzari and it is a great lump charcoal that works well. If you use it here are a couple of pointers: when you buy it dump the entire bag out in your driveway, you will see there are a lot of very large pieces that do not work well with a small to med. smoker fire box. Use a 5 lb. sledge or deadblow hammer to break those pieces up into something a bit smaller. When you light it make sure you have a spark screen for the top of your chimney lighter.... it sparks like mad! Be carefull when dumping the chimney light as well... once again, a lot of sparking and hot embers shooting off and landing on stuff. It burns very clean and very hot, but just be aware of the sparking issue - I usually kept my hose nearby and would hose down my deck before and after lighting and dumping my chimney start.
  5. smoke_chef

    smoke_chef Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    As for me and my smoker... we're lump all the way. I've tried both. I like lump way better. And.. I think I have about as small of a smoker as there is and I like the big chunks of lump. They burn the longest. I wish the bags I buy had more of them. To each his own of course but I would never bust my big pieces up.
  6. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    lol... the Lazzari big pieces in that 40 lb. bag are litterally 18-24" long and 4-8" in diameter.... basically small logs. The Lazzari is 100% mesquite wood, and they definately let you see that the pieces came from a real tree... lol.
  7. dick foster

    dick foster Smoking Fanatic

    It's all here. Everything you really need to know.  http://www.nakedwhiz.com/lump.htm

    What it all boils down to is simply to use lump charcoal and further to go to Wall Mart and get yourself some Royal Oak lump charcoal made in the USA.

    It's in a red bag and it says "Made In The U.S.A." right on the back of the bag located just below the instruction block in yellow. Not a green, blue or titty pink bag but a red bag and it must say Made In The USA on the back, not Mexico or Guatemala or even Bumfuk, Egypt but the made in the U.S.A. stuff. Period, done and that is all you really need to know about the subject of charcoal. The briquette stuff is fine for grilling maybe but for smoking you really want lump unless you like the idea of cooking with dirt, coal dust and god knows what else being added to your food.
  8. I started using lump when I sent my kid to the store for briquettes and she brought back a bag of Royal Oak Lump because she doesn't pay attention to labels.  It was too late to go to the store again, so i used it, not knowing what to expect.   I have never bought another briquette since then.  Lump is superior in just about every way, but the BEST thing about it is that it doesn't ash over and smother itself out.  I can smoke a brisket for 9 hours and all the ashes fit into a small flower pot.  That alone (to me) makes it worth using.
  9. dick foster

    dick foster Smoking Fanatic

    The reason there is so little ash is because briquettes are full of filler or clay, another name for dirt.

    The clay (dirt) to used to make the sawdust stick together in a lump. Dirt doesn't burn so that makes up the bulk of the ash left from burning briquettes. 

    Henry Ford invented the crap so he could sell the saw dust that was a by product of making Model T's as the the Model T body was largely made of wood. Some even add coal dust, a waste product from handling coal, to make it burn a little hotter.

    Lump charcoal is made of wood and nothing but wood so the only ash left over after it has burned is like that you'd find in your fireplace or a camp fire.  
  10. meateater

    meateater Legendary Pitmaster SMF Premier Member

    Positive! [​IMG]

  11. smoke_chef

    smoke_chef Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Wow... okay. That's big. I would have to bust that up too. Actually, I wouldn't buy that brand. The whole dumping it out process seems like a messy pain the arse. But, thanks for sharing the size. I was thinking big... but not that big.

    I have used Royal Oak from Wally World. It's okay. However, I prefer to buy a brand called Ozark Lump. It's really good stuff. Oh, and don't worry Dick Foster... it too is made in the USA. The place where it's made isn't to far away from my house and they sell it to you in bulk by weight if you bring your own container. Next spring I'm going up with some 50 gallon barrels and stocking up on the stuff.
  12. tom37

    tom37 Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Positive! [​IMG]

    Ut Oh!! I sense a debate. [​IMG]

    I started using lump this year when I found a good deal and ended up coming home with 400 lbs.

    I like the low ash fact, and end up with less then a 3lb can after a 24 hour burn.

    Give it a try, ya may like it and ya may not. The only way to know is give it a shot.
  13. dick foster

    dick foster Smoking Fanatic

    I'd love to find a local suppler that I could buy from inbulk like that. The less handling there is in the supply chain, the less breakage there will be, so the less dust and little bitty pieces. Plus you get to see what exactly goes into the making of it. Whether it's mostly scrap flooring like Cowboy brand or wood straight from a tree.

    I guess if I were fanatical enough about it, I'd get the wood and make my own. But then, just because I'm so bone lazy, I'd probably wind up just skipping a step and become a stick burner.