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Grill'n with lump charcoal

Taylor

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So after struggling for several years with a rather nice (~$1000) Weber Genesis II left behind by the previous homeowners - I finally gave up and bought a Big Green Egg. Don't know if I'm doing something wrong but I never really hit my stride with the gas grill, preferring a small $25 Weber kettle I got on clearance for everything but convenience.

I'm very new to the ceramic grill/smoker scene - but so far I've been impressed by the results. Mostly All chicken thus far while I break it in and set the seals.

Anyone have some experience with this sort of grill? I have a couple of questions. The first is regarding the lump charcoal. I've tried a couple of brands and found all sorts of crap in the bag - plastic ties in one, and what appears to be a ball of melted aluminum in the Big Green Egg lump that came with the grill. Is this typical? Last thing I want to do is permeate the ceramic with burnt plastic.

Do you typically have to examine everything that goes in, or is there a better brand of lump charcoal? Preferably one that doens't have a bunch of tiny pieces that clog the air vents. Some of the stuff in the bag looks like burned lumber. Makes me nervous.

Second question is in regard to wood for smoking. It seems that chips in this thing are fairly worthless unless you're doing some sort of quick, direct heat grilling. They seem to burn too quickly to be of much use whether soaked or not. Just bought some chunks of cherry wood that I hope will be better for the spatchcock chicken I've been making.

Screenshot_20210718-165846_Gallery.jpg
 
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trixare4kids

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So after struggling for several years with a rather nice (~$1000) Weber Genesis II left behind by the previous homeowners - I finally gave up and bought a Big Green Egg. Don't know if I'm doing something wrong but I never really hit my stride with the gas grill, preferring a small $25 Weber kettle I got on clearance for everything but convenience.

I'm very new to the ceramic grill/smoker scene - but so far I've been impressed by the results. Mostly All chicken thus far while I break it in and set the seals.

Anyone have some experience with this sort of grill? I have a couple of questions. The first is regarding the lump charcoal. I've tried a couple of brands and found all sorts of crap in the bag - plastic ties in one, and what appears to be a ball of melted aluminum in the Big Green Egg lump that came with the grill. Is this typical? Last thing I want to do is permeate the ceramic with burnt plastic.

Do you typically have to examine everything that goes in, or is there a better brand of lump charcoal? Preferably one that doens't have a bunch of tiny pieces that clog the air vents. Some of the stuff in the bag looks like burned lumber. Makes me nervous.

Second question is in regard to wood for smoking. It seems that chips in this thing are fairly worthless unless you're doing some sort of quick, direct heat grilling. They seem to burn too quickly to be of much use whether soaked or not. Just bought some chunks of cherry wood that I hope will be better for the spatchcock chicken I've been making.

View attachment 67343652

Sorry, I can't help. I know nothing about lump charcoal.
We have a propane powered Blackstone flat top griddle.
 

bongsaway

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Maybe it's a meteorite? No that's not normal to get in a bag of lump charcoal. I have no idea about your egg never used one but I do have an opinion on wood. I do not use mesquite, I find it can be bitter tasting, I prefer woods like cherry and hickory and of course oak is always welcome. I've been experimenting with wood pellets in a smoker tube using apple and pecan. I just invested in an upright propane smoker and so far am well pleased. I've done ribs, a brisket, sausage and two beer can chickens so far. Not bad for just beginning but I need more experience. Have fun and enjoy. Grilling is high heat, smoking is low and slow heat.
 

trixare4kids

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Maybe it's a meteorite? No that's not normal to get in a bag of lump charcoal. I have no idea about your egg never used one but I do have an opinion on wood. I do not use mesquite, I find it can be bitter tasting, I prefer woods like cherry and hickory and of course oak is always welcome. I've been experimenting with wood pellets in a smoker tube using apple and pecan. I just invested in an upright propane smoker and so far am well pleased. I've done ribs, a brisket, sausage and two beer can chickens so far. Not bad for just beginning but I need more experience. Have fun and enjoy. Grilling is high heat, smoking is low and slow heat.

Do you fish? I see that you live in FL. I was wondering if you've smoked fish? We don't fish in CA. Those days are over for us, but we used to go on fishing trips, some over-nighters, and caught our fair share of Albacore and yellow tail. Albacore is good any way, but smoking them is absolutely to die for.
 

gone fishin'

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So after struggling for several years with a rather nice (~$1000) Weber Genesis II left behind by the previous homeowners - I finally gave up and bought a Big Green Egg. Don't know if I'm doing something wrong but I never really hit my stride with the gas grill, preferring a small $25 Weber kettle I got on clearance for everything but convenience.

I'm very new to the ceramic grill/smoker scene - but so far I've been impressed by the results. Mostly All chicken thus far while I break it in and set the seals.

Anyone have some experience with this sort of grill? I have a couple of questions. The first is regarding the lump charcoal. I've tried a couple of brands and found all sorts of crap in the bag - plastic ties in one, and what appears to be a ball of melted aluminum in the Big Green Egg lump that came with the grill. Is this typical? Last thing I want to do is permeate the ceramic with burnt plastic.

Do you typically have to examine everything that goes in, or is there a better brand of lump charcoal? Preferably one that doens't have a bunch of tiny pieces that clog the air vents. Some of the stuff in the bag looks like burned lumber. Makes me nervous.

Second question is in regard to wood for smoking. It seems that chips in this thing are fairly worthless unless you're doing some sort of quick, direct heat grilling. They seem to burn too quickly to be of much use whether soaked or not. Just bought some chunks of cherry wood that I hope will be better for the spatchcock chicken I've been making.

View attachment 67343652
I bought a Kamado Joe grill about a year ago; it's ceramic, same price range as the Egg. I love it!

I've been buying lump coal and wood from a local grilling store; but am sure you can pick the stuff up online. I have never found any strange items in the bag.

The lump coal brand that I'm using is Rockwood. The wood that i use for smoking is Grillin' Smoke Chunks. The pieces of wood are easily the size of my fist, maybe more; they smoke well.

Hope this helps!coal.jpgwood.jpg
 
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BlueTex

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Here is the lump charcoal I’ve been using… huge difference when using the right link charcoal..

B&B Charcoal Oak Lump Charcoal, 4540 GR https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0056I2C0...abc_8TYCCSJMKMB8FGZM6W8H?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

Buy an electric starter, avoid fluid..

HomeRight Electro-Torch C900085 Fire Starter, Charcoal Starter and Lighter, BBQ Smoker, Grill Starter, Chemical Free Heated Air with Built-In Blower https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MRQWLM...abc_V227DHT9X4NF2ZHDB41J?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

Get a smoker basket for smoking…

EasiBBQ Charcoal Ash Basket for Large Big Green Egg Grill, Kamado Classic, Pit Boss, Louisiana Grills, Primo Kamado Grill and Large Grill Dome, Heavy Duty Porcelain Steel https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08PBPBVP...abc_8YRW921CDNJMDFWS8820?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
 

justabubba

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enjoying my kamado. substantial learning curve to be able to dial in the desired temperature, the interplay between the lower vent input and the upper vent output
for smoking pork shoulders at 225 degrees just a sliver of an opening in each grate gets me there and yields a heavy smoke. that will take 10-12 hours and a full load of fuel to complete the cook without ever having to open the top. after the "stall" has passed, i now cheat with a texas crutch (wrapping the shoulders in aluminum) to get to the 203-206 degree target. [then place the still wrapped shoulders in a cooler for at least an hour so they can 'rest']
when firing pizza at 600+ degrees, use a lot of fuel and open both vents to the max. it will take a while to get there. but the pizza steel is in place to absorb the heat, so it is not a waste of time/fuel. i put my steel on four metal stilts to elevate the steel to a higher/hotter place in the kamado. avoid opening during the cook to maintain temperature; it's another instance where you have to get a feel, but we are talking only a few total minutes of cook time per pizza
chunk wood is often needed to get that smoke. i am fond of peach (which is abundant locally), apple, cherry for a 'sweeter' flavor, and hickory for pork BBQ and baby back ribs
as far as lump coal vendors, just keep sampling the various offerings. cowboy brand has worked well for me, despite being a lower cost brand. no-name bags i bought and presently use from the cooks/restaurant warehouse is as good as any thus far and one of the least expensive. from your description, the bag you got was likely from a plant with weak sorting ability; one that uses recycled material. avoid that green egg brand
 

bongsaway

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Do you fish? I see that you live in FL. I was wondering if you've smoked fish? We don't fish in CA. Those days are over for us, but we used to go on fishing trips, some over-nighters, and caught our fair share of Albacore and yellow tail. Albacore is good any way, but smoking them is absolutely to die for.
I have not yet tried to smoke fish, I can't fit it into my bong. No trix I don't fish any longer, those days are over for me but I've been watching some videos on smoking fish, seems rather time consuming with all the prep to smoke salmon. I might try some type of whitefish first because I do like smoked fish. Any tips you can pass along?
 

trixare4kids

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I have not yet tried to smoke fish, I can't fit it into my bong. No trix I don't fish any longer, those days are over for me but I've been watching some videos on smoking fish, seems rather time consuming with all the prep to smoke salmon. I might try some type of whitefish first because I do like smoked fish. Any tips you can pass along?

If I am remembering correctly, we used a brine of sugar, salt and water. Add fish, and refrigerate a few hours.
We used a charcoal grill, indirect method. Add soaked wood for flavor.
We used an oiled grill basket once the smoke started. Medium filets about 15 minutes.

Your bong might work... use tiny pieces of charcoal and wood. Don't inhale. ;)
 

bongsaway

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If I am remembering correctly, we used a brine of sugar, salt and water. Add fish, and refrigerate a few hours.
We used a charcoal grill, indirect method. Add soaked wood for flavor.
We used an oiled grill basket once the smoke started. Medium filets about 15 minutes.

Your bong might work... use tiny pieces of charcoal and wood. Don't inhale. ;)
Thanks but actually I've given up on trying to bong it so that leaves the smoker. I'll give it a try and get back to you on the results. Thanks.
 

vesper

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Gosh when it comes to charcoal, I am not a fan. Nor am I fond of any grill with ceramic coated parts. I have had a lot of grills over the years. I do not like charcoal because it takes a lot of time before you can even start to grill. Also using charcoal I find impossible to control the heat. When it comes to grills with ceramic coated grates after just a couple of years the grates started cracking and rust unfit to cook on. Replacing them with stainless steel is so expensive you might as well put that money toward a stainless steel grill. So the last grill I purchased was completely stainless steel gas grill. It is easy to clean after each use. I can use a rotisserie on the grill. I have even learned how to smoke on the grill. All it takes is a couple of aluminum disposable pans with one with wood chips of your choice and another with some water. It will smoke your ribs, chicken and fish slow and low. Lox for your bagels? you got it. I absolutely love fish done on the grill especially haddock. I have learned to use parchment paper to make packets for the fillets filled with all the seasoning goodness throwing them directly on the grates and doing grilled veggies on the other side in a basket. Top it off with a mango salsa and that is a piece of heaven. One stainless steal grill that can be a rotisserie, a smoker and a grill that is ready in minutes for someone to prepare a meal.
 

Taylor

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I do not use mesquite, I find it can be bitter tasting, I prefer woods like cherry and hickory and of course oak is always welcome.
Doing a beer can chicken tonight. The chunks of apple I bought smell wonderful and still going strong after an hour. Can't wait to try the bird!!
 

Taylor

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I've been buying lump coal and wood from a local grilling store; but am sure you can pick the stuff up online. I have never found any strange items in the bag.

The lump coal brand that I'm using is Rockwood.
Thanks! I get my stuff at a local Ace hardware - they have a pretty good selection; I'll see if they have the Rockwood.
 

Taylor

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Here is the lump charcoal I’ve been using… huge difference when using the right link charcoal..

B&B Charcoal Oak Lump Charcoal, 4540 GR https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0056I2C0...abc_8TYCCSJMKMB8FGZM6W8H?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

Buy an electric starter, avoid fluid..

HomeRight Electro-Torch C900085 Fire Starter, Charcoal Starter and Lighter, BBQ Smoker, Grill Starter, Chemical Free Heated Air with Built-In Blower https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MRQWLM...abc_V227DHT9X4NF2ZHDB41J?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

Get a smoker basket for smoking…

EasiBBQ Charcoal Ash Basket for Large Big Green Egg Grill, Kamado Classic, Pit Boss, Louisiana Grills, Primo Kamado Grill and Large Grill Dome, Heavy Duty Porcelain Steel https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08PBPBVP...abc_8YRW921CDNJMDFWS8820?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
Good recommendations. I think the ash basket is my next accessory. I have a lot of wax fire starters that came with the grill - one those are gone, I think I'll go for the starter. Might try a propane torch first? Cordless and can also be used for a lot of other stuff.
 

Taylor

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enjoying my kamado. substantial learning curve to be able to dial in the desired temperature, the interplay between the lower vent input and the upper vent output
for smoking pork shoulders at 225 degrees just a sliver of an opening in each grate gets me there and yields a heavy smoke. that will take 10-12 hours and a full load of fuel to complete the cook without ever having to open the top. after the "stall" has passed, i now cheat with a texas crutch (wrapping the shoulders in aluminum) to get to the 203-206 degree target. [then place the still wrapped shoulders in a cooler for at least an hour so they can 'rest']
when firing pizza at 600+ degrees, use a lot of fuel and open both vents to the max. it will take a while to get there. but the pizza steel is in place to absorb the heat, so it is not a waste of time/fuel. i put my steel on four metal stilts to elevate the steel to a higher/hotter place in the kamado. avoid opening during the cook to maintain temperature; it's another instance where you have to get a feel, but we are talking only a few total minutes of cook time per pizza
chunk wood is often needed to get that smoke. i am fond of peach (which is abundant locally), apple, cherry for a 'sweeter' flavor, and hickory for pork BBQ and baby back ribs
as far as lump coal vendors, just keep sampling the various offerings. cowboy brand has worked well for me, despite being a lower cost brand. no-name bags i bought and presently use from the cooks/restaurant warehouse is as good as any thus far and one of the least expensive. from your description, the bag you got was likely from a plant with weak sorting ability; one that uses recycled material. avoid that green egg brand
Can't wait to get to pizza! I read somewhere that the adhesive for felt seal will come off on mine if you don't cook below 350 for about 10 hours or so. I'm almost there.

Pulled pork is what disappointed me the most on the gas grill. I had to take the meat off and remove the grates to throw foil packets onto the burners every so often, then put everything back. The end result was always good, but never magical. That's what I'm going for!

I'm trying the wood chunks tonight for the first time and they're working MUCH better.
 

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Gosh when it comes to charcoal, I am not a fan. Nor am I fond of any grill with ceramic coated parts. I have had a lot of grills over the years. I do not like charcoal because it takes a lot of time before you can even start to grill. Also using charcoal I find impossible to control the heat.
I was surprised, it's actually much easier to control the temp on a Kamado-style grill than I thought. I can dial in to 5-10 degrees, but it does take a while to adjust.

The problem I had with my gas grill was that it never got hot enough to sear (max about 450 degrees) and didn't excel at low and slow, either. I've decided to keep it because I do like being able to throw a chicken breast on there for lunch, and it's actually great with a large, rectangular griddle because it heats evenly.

I never would have been able to achieve this on my gas grill!
Screenshot_20210718-203134_Gallery.jpg
 

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I was surprised, it's actually much easier to control the temp on a Kamado-style grill than I thought. I can dial in to 5-10 degrees, but it does take a while to adjust.

The problem I had with my gas grill was that it never got hot enough to sear (max about 450 degrees) and didn't excel at low and slow, either. I've decided to keep it because I do like being able to throw a chicken breast on there for lunch, and it's actually great with a large, rectangular griddle because it heats evenly.

I never would have been able to achieve this on my gas grill!
View attachment 67343674
Taylor glad you found a grill that meets your needs. The chicken looks great! My gas grill can burn a lot hotter than yours did. When you find something you like that produces the results you want then that is all that matters.
 

Taylor

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Taylor glad you found a grill that meets your needs. The chicken looks great! My gas grill can burn a lot hotter than yours did. When you find something you like that produces the results you want then that is all that matters.
Yes, our neighborhood has commercial gas grills down at the pool that get much hotter than the Weber I have. Makes a big difference on burgers!
 

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Good recommendations. I think the ash basket is my next accessory. I have a lot of wax fire starters that came with the grill - one those are gone, I think I'll go for the starter. Might try a propane torch first? Cordless and can also be used for a lot of other stuff.
I tried propane... not good... the electric starter really is the best... it's taken two seasons but the biggest thing i have learned.. patience...
 

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Yes, our neighborhood has commercial gas grills down at the pool that get much hotter than the Weber I have. Makes a big difference on burgers!
I love my grill because it can get it hot enough to sear a piece of meat when needed. You can make a perfectly cooked thick ribeye in a cast iron skillet to sear it and finish it off in the oven to perfection. I can do the same thing on my grill without the smoke detectors going off.
 

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Doing a beer can chicken tonight. The chunks of apple I bought smell wonderful and still going strong after an hour. Can't wait to try the bird!!
I thought it was the best chicken I've ever had, outside of fried chicken. Be sure to plug the neck hole so the steam stays inside the chicken. I made a plug from a piece of potato.
 

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So after struggling for several years with a rather nice (~$1000) Weber Genesis II left behind by the previous homeowners - I finally gave up and bought a Big Green Egg. Don't know if I'm doing something wrong but I never really hit my stride with the gas grill, preferring a small $25 Weber kettle I got on clearance for everything but convenience.

I'm very new to the ceramic grill/smoker scene - but so far I've been impressed by the results. Mostly All chicken thus far while I break it in and set the seals.

Anyone have some experience with this sort of grill? I have a couple of questions. The first is regarding the lump charcoal. I've tried a couple of brands and found all sorts of crap in the bag - plastic ties in one, and what appears to be a ball of melted aluminum in the Big Green Egg lump that came with the grill. Is this typical? Last thing I want to do is permeate the ceramic with burnt plastic.
Then you won't want to be using any lighter fluid in your ceramic egg, either. It will give all your food an orange-ish flavor.
Do you typically have to examine everything that goes in, or is there a better brand of lump charcoal? Preferably one that doens't have a bunch of tiny pieces that clog the air vents. Some of the stuff in the bag looks like burned lumber. Makes me nervous.

Second question is in regard to wood for smoking. It seems that chips in this thing are fairly worthless unless you're doing some sort of quick, direct heat grilling. They seem to burn too quickly to be of much use whether soaked or not. Just bought some chunks of cherry wood that I hope will be better for the spatchcock chicken I've been making.
I took a class at the home of Myron Mixon who is a four-time world BBQ champ. He uses peach wood (three months old or less to guarantee the sugar content of the wood) for his cooks.

My girls had given me a Big Green Egg for Christmas on year and I hated it. It was difficult to manage the heat and no one was ever able to tell me how to do so either. If you ever needed to add more wood, etc. you had to remove the meats from the smoker to be able to do so. As such, I finally got rid of it and got a Traeger. I love it. The thing simply manages itself and our food comes off just perfect.

And unlike the problems your having finding a good source of fuel, I've never had an issue with the wood pellets.

Hope this helps,
 

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I thought it was the best chicken I've ever had, outside of fried chicken. Be sure to plug the neck hole so the steam stays inside the chicken. I made a plug from a piece of potato.
Turned out great! Super moist even though I cooked it a little over temperature. Carved a leg/thigh first and tasted it and couldn't stop. Hadn't planned to eat just the dark meat but that's what happened. Will be using one of the breasts on a salad for lunch.

If I had a gripe, it'd be that the skin wasn't crispy. Next time I'll apply the salt/rub on the outside the day before and let it sit uncovered in the fridge to try to dry it out a bit.
 

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Turned out great! Super moist even though I cooked it a little over temperature. Carved a leg/thigh first and tasted it and couldn't stop. Hadn't planned to eat just the dark meat but that's what happened. Will be using one of the breasts on a salad for lunch.

If I had a gripe, it'd be that the skin wasn't crispy. Next time I'll apply the salt/rub on the outside the day before and let it sit uncovered in the fridge to try to dry it out a bit.
Yeah, it's tough to get a good crispy skin on a smoked chicken. I guess you could try to get your grill or smoker up to four hundred and let it sit in that heat for about fifteen minutes?
 

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I like brining any chicken, whole or pieces, before barbecuing or even frying. I do not use any sugar in my brine. A basic brine is salt and water. To that I add different herbs, garlic, and other flavorings depending on what I want. The reason for the brine is to add flavor to the meat of the chicken before barbecuing. When you are dealing with a chicken covered in skin, no matter what you baste it in, it is not going to permeate past the skin. That is why it is important to infuse flavor into the meat before grilling. I know a lot of people love crispy skin. Personally I look at the skin as this wonderful covering while cooking renders its fat to add goodness to the meat below. I never eat the skin. I want the meat underneath.
 
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