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Old 05-19-2009, 08:42 PM   #21
Boerderij_Kabouter's Avatar
Dec 2007
Oconomowoc, Wisconsin
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I always use a hardwood lump charcoal. I comes in huge bags, that cost about 1/3 of a way smaller Kingsford bag. I think the stuff I get is a local brand...

It lasts longer, and I feel I get better temp control.

All you need for great temperature control is to pretty much fully cover the bottom in lumps, not piled, just covered. Then when the heat is roaring (these get WAY hotter than regular Kingsford stuff), pop the lid on and use the dampers to get your desired temp.

It works perfect. You get more for your money. There are no binders. The coals are easier to save. I see no down side. I understand the consistency thing, but for how I grill (and I am no master at all) the lump is better and easier.

I also think it tastes better, but that could be mental.

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Old 05-20-2009, 04:41 AM   #22
Yuri_Rage's Avatar
Jul 2006
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I completely agree with BK. I don't think the uniform size and consistency of briquettes actually makes any difference in my ability to control the fire.
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Old 05-20-2009, 05:37 AM   #23
Nov 2008
Draper, UT
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Originally Posted by Yuri_Rage View Post
I love natural lump charcoal, but be sure to close the dampers a bit when you burn it, or it will burn really fast. You don't need any lighter fluid, just use the chimney starter per the instructions.

You can buy it at any good grocery store or a grill/bbq specialty store. Avoid Kingsford and Cowboy lump charcoal. Big Green Egg brand is expensive but usually very good. Here's a link that includes some pretty thorough reviews.
Thanks for the link, Yuri. After using all the brands that have had bad reviews (I think Kingsford lump was the worst...it was all tiny chips) I sent my wife to WalMart last night to get a bag of Royal Oak. It was cheaper than Kroger, Cowboy, some mesquite crap from Mexico, and Kingsford. It got hotter than HELL! I am going to stock up on this stuff as it gets hard to find in fall and winter in Utah. I don't think I'll need to try another brand again. Royal Oak kicks ass!

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Old 05-22-2009, 09:43 PM   #24
NJTomatoguy's Avatar
Jun 2008
Maple Shade NJ
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Home depot this week has a double pack of kingsford for under $8,

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Old 05-22-2009, 09:55 PM   #25
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beerthirty's Avatar
May 2008
Podunk, VA. Not far from the NC line.
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+1 on lump. I avoid the small peices and dust by going to the bagging facility here in town. Since every Mexican market here has a grill out front of the store it is easy to purchase it by bulk. The side benefit I have found from lump is that it can be left out in the weather(next to the grill) and it still lights easy and burns well. Briquettes seem to smolder and die unless kept completely dry.
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Old 05-23-2009, 11:25 AM   #26
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May 2009
Madison, WI
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I usually grill out on this little Weber charcoal. Some Kingsford coals, some bourbon barrel wood chips, perhaps some green onions on the grill (under the meat), and of course some New York Strip steaks marinated in olive oil, Montreal Steak seasoning, and soy sauce.

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Old 05-23-2009, 01:19 PM   #27
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Apr 2008
Auburn, GA
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I also am in the lump camp. My usual choice is my supermarket's store brand ~ never get any trim pieces like with Cowboy and it is less expensive.

I light mine in a chimney but I have recently put a twist on it: propane! Several years ago, I saw a program about the Weber restaurant where they cook over gigantic kettle grills. Off to the side there is a gas burner that the chimney sits on to fire the charcoal. That got me thinking about doing that myself. I have been planning on building an outdoor kitchen centered around a custom built-in Charcoal grill. We intend to build a new house on a 3 acre lot my folks have out in the country which is where the outdoor man-kitchen will be... I plan to include a gas chimney lighter.

While I was cleaning out the garage, I came across a propane dual burner cooktop from Harbor Freight that I bought for camping but never really used. So I hooked it up to my propane tank(that up until now I only owned for brewing...) and put the chimney on it. I ran the burner for about a minute and then shut it off and a couple minutes later, the charcoal was ready to dump. No newspaper!
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Old 05-23-2009, 01:40 PM   #28
Dec 2007
north Georgia
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there was a grill for sale in the grocery store here that was charcoal on one side, gas on the other, with a side burner that was designed to light the chimney starter. just fit right over it. i thought it was brilliant for a generic grill...

i thought it was a great idea... easy enough if the components are shielded from the heat. plumb one of these with metal?
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Old 05-25-2009, 03:22 AM   #29
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Jul 2008
Dürty Soüth, GA
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Originally Posted by Skins_Brew View Post
Whats wrong with Cowboy?
There have been issues with "stuff" other than charcoal being found in bags...

Read here...

I have personally pulled out a rock or two and a few odd pieces of "wood"... I stopped using it a while ago...

The Royal Oak from Wally World is good... I found some Wicked Good Charcoal here locally a while back and it was nice as well...

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Old 05-25-2009, 08:04 AM   #30
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May 2007
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I like Royal Oak for steak, because it burns hotter, but Kingsford for chicken or pork, because it burns longer. Forget the Kingsford with Mesquite. The original blue bag is best. I like to use soaked wood chips instead. I use oak for beef and cherry and apple wood for pork and chicken.
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