• 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.

Why no charcoal briquettes?

BerettaRacer

Newbie
18
6
Joined Apr 20, 2020
Hi,
I have a Masterbuilt 330G gas vertical and have been having the usual problems of keeping the wood chips going for a steady stream of smoke. Being an automatic temperature regulating unit, when demanding heat have nice flame and usually good smoke, but once at set temp and flame dies down so does the smoke output. So like others I've switched to a pan directly on the diffuser, which helps some.
So I thought I would accent the chip burn with a couple of charcoal briquettes in the pan to help stabilize the smoulder/smoke output. But reading the back of multiple bags of briquettes they all say "Do not use in water smoker" .
So what gives, why can't you use briquettes in a water smoker?
 

JCAP

Smoking Fanatic
SMF Premier Member
484
461
Joined Jun 12, 2019
I use briquettes in my WSM and other water smoker all the time. Where do you see this statement?

For your situation, you could try adding some chunks instead of chips to the smoker. I use chunks when I fire up the propane smoker here . You want the smoke to be “thin blue” smoke so it’s possible when you think the smoke output is low you actually have the good smoke churning out.

I’m sure someone knows a better answer than I do....

Edit to this statement: I don’t think I would use charcoal in the propane smoker unless it has that specific capability.
 
Last edited:

chef jimmyj

Epic Pitmaster
Staff member
Moderator
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Group Lead
19,206
3,588
Joined May 12, 2011
I have not seen a Warning nor have I ever heard not to use Briquettes in Water Smokers even briefly mentioned in any article, forum post or video. Below is a post from Aaron Franklin's Masterclass Video series...JJ

Borrowed from Aaron Franklin's Masterclass.com. ...

Aaron Franklin Teaches Texas-Style BBQ
What Is a Charcoal Smoker?
A charcoal smoker is a device that smokes food over a long period of time with low, indirect heat generated by burning charcoal. A charcoal smoker is not the same thing as a charcoal grill, although some grilling brands sell devices that feature both a traditional grill and a smoker component. Occasionally, you'll see a charcoal smoker referred to as a smoker grill or water smoker.

4 Components of a Charcoal Smoker
A standalone vertical charcoal smoker is an upright device that features four core sections:
  1. The firebox: This is where you generate heat. The firebox is filled with coal; a standard 15-pound bag of charcoal can burn for upwards of 15 hours—more than enough time to smoke brisket. You’ll add wood chips to the coal briquettes; these wood chunks provide a distinct flavor to each batch of meat.
  2. The water pan: Positioned above the firebox, the water pan (or water chamber) is filled roughly three-quarters full with cool liquid. This functions as a temperature control (you never want your charcoal smoker to get too hot), and it produces steam, which augments the cooking process.
  3. The cooking chamber: This is where your food sits, typically on cooking grates like you'd see in a standard-issue barbecue grill.
  4. The lid: At the top of the smoker is a lid to keep the smoke inside (and permeating the meat). The lid will have a vent to let smoke and steam escape as needed.
How to Use a Charcoal Smoker
A charcoal smoker operates on simple principles, but it can take some practice to get the cooking process right. The first time you try will be an experiment, but with a little luck, you can produce delicious tasting meat. Here's how to use a charcoal smoker:
  1. Prepare your fuel. Ordinary charcoal briquettes should be used because they burn at the proper temperature for smoking. There's no need to shell out for boutique lump charcoal; it typically burns too hot for smoking. The best charcoal is the standard-issue stuff. You'll also want to add some wood chips for a distinctive smoke flavor. Hickory, mesquite, cherry, apple, and alder wood are all popular choices. Prepare the wood chips by soaking them in water for 30 minutes prior to use.
 

daveomak.fs

Smoking Fanatic
SMF Premier Member
790
117
Joined Apr 11, 2018
Hi,
So I thought I would accent the chip burn with a couple of charcoal briquettes in the pan to help stabilize the smoulder/smoke output. But reading the back of multiple bags of briquettes they all say "Do not use in water smoker" .
So what gives, why can't you use briquettes in a water smoker?
Please take a picture of that warning and any related content...
AND the manufacturer of those briquettes......
 

JCAP

Smoking Fanatic
SMF Premier Member
484
461
Joined Jun 12, 2019
Ah okay. Match Light charcoal has lighter fluid already as a component of each briquette, if I remember correctly. If you use these to smoke, those compounds and unwanted flavors will make the meat taste not so great. Also, I think almost everyone uses some variation of the minion method for smoking in charcoal cookers and I would think that having these in there as the unlit portion could be problematic for temp reasons/flare ups etc.


It's much better to use the regular Kingsford charcoal and start the first with a chimney starter without lighter fluid. Even better is Royal Oak briquettes or any number of really good lump charcoal types out there.
 

chef jimmyj

Epic Pitmaster
Staff member
Moderator
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Group Lead
19,206
3,588
Joined May 12, 2011
Yep, Match Light is a whole different animal and has rules unto itself. Rule #1...Don't Smoke with it. ML is ok if you let it burn down until you don't smell lighter fluid. So its Ok in an Open Grill to cook Dogs and Burgers. But you can't add more unlit ML in your firebox, or have a water pan. Too may Petroleum Distillates in the smoke that, when combined with moisture, will give a bad flavor and can cause who knows what Health issues...JJ
 

daveomak.fs

Smoking Fanatic
SMF Premier Member
790
117
Joined Apr 11, 2018
I wouldn't use those briquettes on any food.... Nor do I use lighter fluid.... My briquettes go in a chimney to light, and then on the side burner of my propane grill... 3-4 minutes and they are ready to cook with.....
 

Inscrutable

Smoking Fanatic
406
246
Joined Apr 4, 2019
Also, even many non-ML briquettes have chemicals in the binders ... try to use those that only use organic binders ... I think RO Ridge is one such, I’m sure there are some others.
But that’s part of the reason many try to use lump hardwood charcoal.
 

Hot Threads

Top Bottom
  AdBlock Detected

We noticed that you're using an ad-blocker, which could block some critical website features. For the best possible site experience please take a moment to disable your AdBlocker.