lump charcoal vs briquettes - what the experts say - smoked bbq source
After that we are left with less harmful charcoal lump with lots of good qualities; it is little more than carbon, leaves very little ash after burning out, burns hotter and lights faster than briquettes.
Briquettes are made from sawdust and leftover woods that are burnt down the same way as lump charcoal. Unlike lump charcoal,additives are in the process of making briquettes, unlike lump charcoal which is pure wood.
Jeff Allen, executive director of theNational Barbecue Association, says I have seen a lot of experts who prefer the lump charcoal over briquettes, simply because charcoal can have a regional, cultural aspect.
I immediately noticed just how hot the hardwood stuff got and, before I knew it, how quickly it burned out. Things get especially tricky if youre aiming to use lump hardwood charcoal for the kind of grilling session that can stretch over a span of several hours.
Jeff Allen from the National Barbecue Association points out thatcharcoal generates more smoke than briquettes, which could be a problem with strict rules like apartments, retirement communities or even condos.
I use lump mixed with large chunks of wet and dry hickory for low and slow cooking. I used to struggle to get the lump coals to light until I discovered lighting from the top down. To do this, arrange your lump charcoal and wood chunks in your cooker, then fill a chimney halfway with either lump charcoal or briquettes and light itwhen the coals in the chimney are lit, dump them in on top of your lump charcoal and wood chunks in your cooker. The lit coals burn down through the unlit fuel in your cooker. It is easy to control the temperature since you start out with a cold cooker. I use a remote probe style thermometer to track the temp of my grill and my food while it slow cooks.
Later I fell in love with BBQ. I used many fuels. Oak was best, or any hardwood available. Once again it must be coals. A friend once loaded up his BBQ with oak logs to cook a ham. In three hours the ham was covered in thick creosote. A lost day. Oak must be burned down to coals first, else too much smoke.
On my horse ranch I always had an oak tree down from lightening or other causes. I sawed the logs into three inch rounds. Let them cure in off-center stacks. Then broke them up in chunks with a sledge hammer. Then burned them down into perfect BBQ coals. Then shoveled them into to the grill.
I grew up in Venezuela, and we grill pretty much every weekend huge chunks of beef. I never saw a briquette until I came to the United States. I went to the store to get some charcoal, got a bag and went grilling, then I was surprised how all pieces were the same size and shape. And also surprised on how terrible that charcoal was.
Allow 5 hours. A serious barbecue to die for:
1. Find a dead oak tree.
2. Prime chainsaw.
3. Cut oak tree into smallish pieces.
4. In an indentation in the ground start fire approximately 1:00 p. m. for dining at 6:00 p. m.
5. Have up to 3 building bricks in each corner for height control.
6. Place large metal grating on top of 2 or 3 bricks.
7. Prepare steak (or lamb loin chops, pork, stuffed rainbow trout, or.) with oil and herbs.
8. Barbecue to taste.
9. Finish off meal with barbecued bananas in their skin until skin is 100% black. Slit open lengthwise and add sugar and lemon, or maple syrup or even chocolate. Enjoy.
So Ive only ever had a problem with cheap briquettes or charcoal. But what Ill take from this is briquettes are good for low and slow and charcoal is good for searing my sou vide steaks. That hopefully will eliminate a lot of time lighting and give me a higher temp for a quick sear. Thanks for the write up.
Ps Im not into taking sides here. Just want to enjoy the positives of each side.
Weber kettles work best with briquettes, like Royal Oak. They are designed to deal with the excessive ash, and the burn can be regulated by counting the briquettes, which are around one ounce each (28 grams). Each one gives bout 20 degrees, F. Used to be 25 but the Accountants started running the charcoal briquette companies and downsized the coals.
Anyways, 40 briquettes with the vent setting on any kettle BBQ will cook most weekend meals.
Ceramic Kamodo style cookers need lump charcoal. Their design has one great virtue, excellent vent systems and one great flaw, no space below the firebox for ash to collect without impeding the bottom vent. The rapid burn is controlled and slowed by the vents. In fact, Kamodo cookers use less charcoal, although its 3 x as expensive, than kettles. You can smother the fire after cooking and save the leftovers. Difficult to do with kettles, they usually burn out.
So depending on your Barbecue pick one or the other. Briquettes in a Kamodo is a disaster and sometimes the reason people dont like ceramic cookers. Lump in a Weber style kettle gets fiercely hot and is uncontrollable in my experience. You will get a sear heat for about 40 minutes.
Im surprised that nobody has mentioned the all natural hardwood briquettes. Best of both worlds. I use the Cowboy brand as that is what is available in my area, but I think there are a few others as well. Trader Joes used to have their own brand for a few years, but I cant seem to find them any more.
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