Jump to content

KJ big block charcoal tastes bad?


Recommended Posts

FWIW, I’ve used a lot of KJ lump since starting the thread and have not had this issue with other bags. I don’t know what it was, but I have not done anything different before or after. Other than I have only had the bags since then (not boxes). I can only assume something weird happened to the lump in that box.

 

I also gave up pretty quickly on breaking up big pieces, doesn’t seem to matter, but now that I think about it, it does seem like there are far fewer giant pieces in the big 30lb bags. So maybe the huge log theory isn’t totally ruled out. My current bags were from costco (finally got a hold of them there) and were pretty well handled in their lifetime. All of them had rips in the bottom and had to be put in garbage bags to get them out of the store without leaving a black trail.

 

The other difference, as I think was pointed out, is the boxed version has some kind of feed bag inside holding the charcoal, vs the bag version only being the big paper bag. I don’t know if that would matter though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 4/26/2020 at 1:49 PM, John Setzler said:

 

Thanks but 'smokey' isn't the issue I'm interested in.  

 

PS- any time you are BAKING in the kamado, especially something like bread, cakes, or cobblers, you need a super clean burning fire.  Any kind of unwanted smoke form previous cook grease or wood chunks will make a mess of your food.

 


 

 

On 4/26/2020 at 2:20 PM, keeperovdeflame said:

If your going. to bake a loaf of bread, cakes, cobbler, ThanksGiving pies etc, I find it best to cook pizza the day or a couple of days before I bake. You could always just do a clean relaxed burn to 600 or 650 / With no food on the grate,  but actually cooking pizza is more fun. I also clean my fire box and put in a fresh load of lump before I bake. 

 

Thanks to both. I believe this may have been the issue, but also asking your experience with the following scenario: on this particular cook of the cobbler, the grill temp had gotten up to 500F, so I closed vents down to 1/2” bottom, 1/2 on top to cool it off. I realize that the fire getting choked off like this will cause undesirable smoke, but I didn’t put the cobbler on until grill had cooled off to 400F, at which point I reopened the vents to an appropriate amount to maintain at 400F. Would you guess that the choked down fire also contributed? If so, how would you approach that situation if the grill needed to be cooled down?

 

Thanks,

Kurt 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe I'm just weird this way, but I wash down my [Akorn, Jr., metal ...] kamado with soap and water after every session, having removed the bottom.  I wash the cast-iron grate exactly as I do my cast-iron cookware (no soap or minimal soap), and when I bought the grill I "seasoned" the grate just as I do with skillets.  So, to this day the grill looks very new.  The seasoning developed very nicely so nothing sticks to it.

 

As a rule, try very hard to let the fire get up to the desired cooking temperature but no higher:  it can be hard to get the temperature back down.  You don't need to put the food on right away:  be sure the temperature has stabilized.  Once it has, you shouldn't have to "fiddle" with the settings at all.

 

Despite what the manufacturers suggest, you shouldn't "taste" the charcoal at all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would agree that washing the inside of your grill with soap and water after every use is weird.

 

But I have to disagree with the last post. If you don’t taste charcoal at all, you have no tastebuds. Cooking over charcoal of any kind imparts an absolutely unmistakable flavor. It should not be strong, but the flavor is night and day compared to something like an oven or gas grill.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, kcstueber said:


 

 

 

Thanks to both. I believe this may have been the issue, but also asking your experience with the following scenario: on this particular cook of the cobbler, the grill temp had gotten up to 500F, so I closed vents down to 1/2” bottom, 1/2 on top to cool it off. I realize that the fire getting choked off like this will cause undesirable smoke, but I didn’t put the cobbler on until grill had cooled off to 400F, at which point I reopened the vents to an appropriate amount to maintain at 400F. Would you guess that the choked down fire also contributed? If so, how would you approach that situation if the grill needed to be cooled down?

 

Thanks,

Kurt 

 

I don't believe the temperature or airflow inside your grill would have this effect.  You either had smoking wood chunks somewhere in your charcoal or you were burning off grease from prior cooks.  

 

The third possibility is that you are hypersensitive to charcoal cooking.  I have met a few people who just can't stand it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

I have also just recently received 4 bags of the Big Block XL Lump Charcoal from Costco and I am experiencing the same issue of the bad smell. Lightning up the charcoal, it is definitively a much stronger smell vs the Royal Oak I was using before. When I first got the grill, it came with the 30 lbs Big Joe Charcoal and it did not smell anything like this one. 

 

The food tastes funky as well and after grilling with this charcoal my clothes definitely stink. Furthermore, I grilled about 4 hours ago with it, and I still sort of have the smell kind of "stuck" in my nose, or it bothers me somehow.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
On 8/11/2020 at 4:26 PM, dijuremo said:

I have also just recently received 4 bags of the Big Block XL Lump Charcoal from Costco and I am experiencing the same issue of the bad smell. Lightning up the charcoal, it is definitively a much stronger smell vs the Royal Oak I was using before. When I first got the grill, it came with the 30 lbs Big Joe Charcoal and it did not smell anything like this one. 

 

The food tastes funky as well and after grilling with this charcoal my clothes definitely stink. Furthermore, I grilled about 4 hours ago with it, and I still sort of have the smell kind of "stuck" in my nose, or it bothers me somehow.

 

 

 

I'm on this boat: Received my bags from costco, and the food has a strong flavor.

Even when the flavor is not that bad (for me, but my wife disagrees, saying that the flavor is too much), the after taste keeps in your mouth for a long time which is not pleasant.

 

I'll try to do the Burn of my KJ, and then try to keep my fire going longer before putting the food to see if that works.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've probably been through 10 bags of KJ and the last bag I used popped and sparked a ton.  So much so that all my food was covered in ash.  I don't recall noticing a difference in smell.

 

This bag that sparked was clearly different than the others.  I've posted before about some KJ orders coming in logo'd bags while others come in inside out repurposed sunflower bags from another company.  I left all my vents open and burned it all off. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

My $0.02 worth 

Horseshoes posted last year:

Indeed, I'm a relatively new grill owner, and using the same logic, I've been puzzling over it going back and forth between both explanations. Didn't really make sense to me that it would be bad lump, and it doesn't happen with RO.

 

But now I have a very interesting update to this!

 

I made a couple of steaks last night. There were some very large chunks (much bigger than fist sized), and although I tried to break them a little bit, I didn't have a hatchet handy. I made a point of trying to ensure that the fire really got going, and for longer than usual. Instead of using the electric heating element starter, I lit 3 lighter cubes, gave it plenty of oxygen, burning with the dome open for about 20 minutes, then with the dome closed but the vents wide open for a while, and then started to close them a bit to bring it down to temperature. Total burn time before I put any food on was over an hour and a half. When it got to about 320 degrees, I decided to throw the steaks on, cooked them indirect to medium well/well done (accidentally overshot).

 

They tasted pretty bad. Still edible, since steaks are a bit more tolerant than something like fish or chicken to smoke, but it was like a delicious steak flavor wrapped in a dirty aroma and flavor of smoke that was unmistakeable.

 

Since I overcooked them, and the wife wasn't home yet, and I am too much of a perfectionist to serve a well done steak, I threw 2 more on. Still had plenty of charcoal and I just let it keep going. Easily burning for a couple of hours by this point. By this time, the temp had cooled to about 260-275, so I cooked them again and they went quite a bit longer, in theory, absorbing more smoke.

 

They tasted amazing. Nothing like the first 2. Wife got home just as they hit medium rare and she loved it.

 

Part of the problem could be the charcoal ( there is always a chance of a bad bag or 2 ) another part could be when you had the dome open for 20 minutes the with the vents wide open you had a pretty hot fire lit then when you closed the vents to bring the temp down you were is a sense choking the fire out, by decreasing the oxygen to the coals. This will cause some of the coals to start smoldering as they go out hence an off flavor. Your second steaks were on a fire that had stabilized more than when you first set due to lowering the temp. So i would assume the problem wasn't the charcoal. I'm also assuming that the temps you state are metric?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...