Tried a new brand of charcoal and it was a dud. Little bit of advice if you will please?

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Marlan

Newbie
Original poster
Apr 27, 2023
2
4
Greetings,

I'm brand new to this forum. Thanks for any helpful advice you can offer. Especially if you've tried and experienced the method I'm using. I have an Akorn Chargriller Kamado grill. It's been great. Obviously not as easy to regulate temp as a better quality all ceramic smoker but not too shabby for $200. I've had some great smokes with briskets and turkey parts over the last couple of years.

Typically, I've been using plain old Kingsford charcoal briquets. Nothing fancy. I also use medium sized chunks of Applewood and Hickory on top of the coals and below my ceramic heat guard. Once I mastered the airflow between the slide and the top chimney, I've been very happy. This morning I started my first smoke of the season and tried some new charcoal. Fogo natural lump in the black sack. Apple and Hickory on top as usual. Once I got it lit and the coals stabilized, it took quite a bit of time to get the temp down to acceptable levels but then after an hour or so, it petered out to nothing. Like 400 degrees to 100 degrees. I was present, tended to the grill and couldn't geter done. I'll do some reading but will most likely return to Kingsford. My main question:

I wrapped my brisket (flat only and about 6-8 lbs) in butcher paper and put it on a raised rack over a pan in my oven at 265 where its been for the last 2 hours. It got some high heat and smoke for the first two hours or so and formed a very nice starter bark. I know heat is heat, but I was wondering if any of you have done this and what I should look out for as I don't wan't to waste a beautiful piece of meat. Lastly, any experience with the Fogo lump charcoal in the black sack? Not denigrating the brand in any way. Probably user error as I was new to it. Many thanks.
 
First welcome aboard, glad to have ya join the fun. Plenty of folks here have had to use an oven to finish for one reason or another. Smokes go south every once in a while - its just the nature of the game. Things to look out for: if you still have your temp probes in the meat. Wait until it reaches about 195*. Then take it out and probe it for tenderness. When is probes tender your done. It may be at 200* or it may be closer to 210*. Flats are a harder meat to master than the point, but once you get it figured out it's amazing. Good luck and be sure to let us know how it turns out.

One note, I usually remove the brisket from the wrapping once I hit 195*. I think it helps reset the bark. That's just me others will do it differently.

Chris
 
It sounds like you may have lost air flow when your kamado went down to 100* and you couldn't increase it again. was it continuing to go out completely? A couple of things I do for long smokes. I only use fresh coals. I set any used coals aside for future direct grill cooks. I layer my coals with big chunks on the bottom, medium sized next, then smaller coals over that. I go a little crazy and make these thinner layers and go through this process twice. Then put your chunks on top as you are now. I know this is all a pain in the butt, but for a long cook, I think it is worth the work.

I believe thirdeye thirdeye has a great explanation on how he does this as well. I cannot find the thread and am hoping he can help.

Good luck!
 
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Lump also tends to burn hotter and faster than briquettes, I stick with briquettes and chunks or mini splits in my gravity feed.
 
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I've always had better results with briquettes. I gave up on lump a while back as I found lump to be to inconsistent...in my WSM anyways.
 
Greetings,

I'm brand new to this forum. Thanks for any helpful advice you can offer. Especially if you've tried and experienced the method I'm using. I have an Akorn Chargriller Kamado grill. It's been great. Obviously not as easy to regulate temp as a better quality all ceramic smoker but not too shabby for $200. I've had some great smokes with briskets and turkey parts over the last couple of years.

Typically, I've been using plain old Kingsford charcoal briquets. Nothing fancy. I also use medium sized chunks of Applewood and Hickory on top of the coals and below my ceramic heat guard. Once I mastered the airflow between the slide and the top chimney, I've been very happy. This morning I started my first smoke of the season and tried some new charcoal. Fogo natural lump in the black sack. Apple and Hickory on top as usual. Once I got it lit and the coals stabilized, it took quite a bit of time to get the temp down to acceptable levels but then after an hour or so, it petered out to nothing. Like 400 degrees to 100 degrees. I was present, tended to the grill and couldn't geter done. I'll do some reading but will most likely return to Kingsford. My main question:

I wrapped my brisket (flat only and about 6-8 lbs) in butcher paper and put it on a raised rack over a pan in my oven at 265 where its been for the last 2 hours. It got some high heat and smoke for the first two hours or so and formed a very nice starter bark. I know heat is heat, but I was wondering if any of you have done this and what I should look out for as I don't wan't to waste a beautiful piece of meat. Lastly, any experience with the Fogo lump charcoal in the black sack? Not denigrating the brand in any way. Probably user error as I was new to it. Many thanks.
 
I could be wrong, but here is what it sounds like to me - Your lump ran away with the temps as it can tend to do. If you hit 400 you might have throttled it down so far the temps you were watching basically allowed you to observe it going out.
 
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I would stick with briquettes as stated above for longer smokes. I personally use B&B. Keep the Fogo for quick dinners like steak or chicken.
 
Yep. Lump and briquettes are two different animals. Think of it this way. Grab a one inch thick pile of printer paper. Take half of it and set it aside, that's your briquette example. Take the other half and crumple about ten sheets at a time to make a separate pile. That's your lump example.

Now, take a torch and light both piles. The crumpled pile has more exposed surface area so it will burn hotter and faster. The uncrumpled pile burns cooler and slower because less of the fuel is exposed to air at the time.
 
I have a Kamado Joe and have tried lots of different charcoal. I’ve landed on Jealous Devil as my favorite. As someone mentioned above, lump burns hotter, but also longer. I don’t have any trouble maintaining a steady temp for 12+ hours and never worry about needing to refill the charcoal basket.

If you set your vents like you normally do with briquettes, that would explain how you got up to 400°. My guess is that you choked out the fire when it went down to 100°.

I keep briquettes around for my PBC and Kettle, but for long steady cooks, I’ll take JD all day.
 
Thank you all for your input. It's most appreciated. Yes, I definitely suspected that it was the lump charcoal that burned hot and then got away from me. You all were spot on. Either way, it's a great lesson and failure only makes us wiser, stronger and better! I was lucky as I watched it closely and got some very decent smoke for about three hours before it went south so wrapping it in butcher paper and finishing it in my oven at 265F for about 4 or 5 hours worked perfectly and the brisket was actually pretty damn fantastic. I'm going back to good old briquettes with hunks of wood on top. Be well everyone and thank you!
 
I've never tried the Fogo lump, but have seen a couple of videos and they mentioned it burns hotter, so it's good for grilling. I would agree with the others that you likely had a draft/draw problem, or maybe had some small pieces of lump toward the bottom of the charcoal basket. Here is a post where I mention some tips, and describe a wiggle rod which is a valuable tool to have around.

 
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Naked Whiz has reviews of about every charcoal available. They test burn times, temps, size of the pieces in lump, etc.
 
I was having trouble with temps on my akorn auto kamado until I tried jealous devil chunx. Now, once I get it to temp, it holds great.
 
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