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John Setzler

Charcoal Consumption Rate

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I have found that charcoal consumption is strongly correlated with the amount of water that is evaporated/boiled away during the cook.   Cooking 20lbs of pork will use up about 2x as much charcoal as 10lbs.  

 

 

I quoted this from another thread.  I am curious if any of you have had this result?  My personal results are that my kamado grills will run at x temperature for x hours no matter how much meat I have on the grill.

 

 

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4 hours ago, ckreef said:

I think the biggest variation is how hard the lump is. The better the lump the longer the burn time. 

 

I 100% agree with this.  This is why I use 1 brand for low and slow and another for hot and fast.  The low and slow brand costs significantly more and I don't feel that the time added makes up for the cost added, but I like the security of knowing that there is no way I will run out of lump on the cook for overnights.

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3 hours ago, Bgosnell151 said:

 This is why I use 1 brand for low and slow and another for hot and fast.

I'm not trying to start some new charcoal war but I am interested in the brands you are referring to.  PM or here.

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14 hours ago, ckreef said:

I think the biggest variation is how hard the lump is. The better the lump the longer the burn time. 

 

 

+1.  I will go through a bag of less dense wood of the same weight as a dense bag of wood much quicker.

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7 hours ago, daninpd said:

I'm not trying to start some new charcoal war but I am interested in the brands you are referring to.  PM or here.

 

I'll throw 2 examples up, out of personal experience. 

 

RO, burns hot and fast. Gets to really high Temps quickly. It is reasonably decent lump for low-n-slow but not the best for extended burn times. 

 

Fogo Super Premium or Black Blag (same lump different size pieces). Definitely harder than RO. Will go high heat but takes longer to get there compared to RO. Because it's harder it will give you significantly longer low-n-slow burn times for the same volume of lump (volume not weight). 

 

Here is a good visual of weight v. volume. 

 

RO 15.44 lbs - a fairly light hardwood lump. 

 

Fogo Black Bag 17.6 lbs - skinnier, smaller bag, 2 more lbs compared to the RO. Definitely a harder, longer burning lump. 

 

Fogo Marabu 37.48 lbs - super hard lump. Bag is just slightly bigger than the RO bag but over twice the weight. 

 

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I'll let you come to your own conclusions about burn time for a given volume (your firebox). 

 

Since I know price is a concern for some people here is basically what I paid for the above bags:

 

RO $10

Blag Bag $20

Marabu $45

 

I think the old adage stands - You get what you pay for. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, daninpd said:

I'm not trying to start some new charcoal war but I am interested in the brands you are referring to.  PM or here.

I use RO for hot and fast and KJ Big Block for overnight cooks.

 

I would never think you were starting a lump war.

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My biggest problem getting more use out of the Joe is a wife who no longer likes food cooked over charcoal.

 

That has me looking at different brands to see if she's tasting the fire wood (as opposed to smoking wood). Last night I tried KJ Big Block XL Lump for the first time. Beautiful charcoal, surprising result. Cooking a Stromboli in my pizza set up (deflector on star rack, pizza stone on extension rack), I figured I'd run it up near 600F and let it come down a bit to cook. 

 

I had a hard time getting to 500F using XL lump, and it seemed to burn out faster than expected... but neither of us noted any off flavors from this oak-based charcoal. 

 

Tomorrow I'll be doing pizzas for football. I need to exceed 600F to get the top browning I want. I plan to use Frontier Brand Lump, a mesquite-based charcoal I've been using all summer. Big chunks so it's easy to tell the species. It's been great at all temperatures, low-n-slow or screaming hot. Being mesquite, I love the flavor it imparts to food. SWMBO disagrees, but she'll eat the pizza. 

 

Then I need to go back to the Royal Oak I used almost exclusively before finding the Frontier Brand, to see if the flavor tracks the species of wood more than the brand... at least to our taste buds. 

 

HAve fun,

Frank

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On 9/28/2018 at 10:23 PM, Bgosnell151 said:

I 100% agree with this.  This is why I use 1 brand for low and slow and another for hot and fast.  The low and slow brand costs significantly more and I don't feel that the time added makes up for the cost added, but I like the security of knowing that there is no way I will run out of lump on the cook for overnights.

 

Agree, my KJ BB lasts for multiple cooks 

 

 

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Living somewhere where humidity always runs high (mostly because you can't drive any direction for more than 5 - 10 minutes without driving into a lake, river, or large swamp) I find lump consumption more driven by outdoor climate than Inside the kamado. That said, I have had a few cuts over the years rendering so much fat that I had to run my Kamado far more opened up than usual to maintain temp as the inside of the Kamado was condensing while cooking. These cooks were also often during cold damp weather as well, so I believe atmosphere played just as much of a role. In these cases charcoal consumption was higher, but only maybe 30 min to an hour less charcoal left after a 12-14 hour cook.

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