So, what fuel for the fire? - BBQ Central

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Old 04-02-2009, 05:33 PM   #1
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So, what fuel for the fire?

Hey guys, ive got a few questions on what type of charcoal you guys are using, and whats the deal with addink wood chips and all the fancy stuff i keep hearing about.

So to start out let me say that right now all i use when i head out to the park to grill it up is matchlight. And from what i hear this is a sin. Does diffrent charcoal really effect tast that much? And whats with the wood chips stuff. I hear people addind apple flavor, or this flavor or that flavor.... is this flavor really aparent in the food? Does it come out just in pork products, or can a simple hamburger taste better cooked over some flavored whatever you guys are adding? And where do you buy this stuff?

As you can see (as i am currently a matchlighter) i know NOTHING about any of this, so if you guys could enlighten me a bit, maybe a simple little change in the fuel i use can add a little somthing to my sorry BBQ.

Thanks guys, love the site.

---Joe
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Old 04-02-2009, 06:55 PM   #2
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Matchlight is a sin and its vile stuff. The chemical fumes from it are horrid.

I would recommend you try using a lump charcoal. You will notice a HUGE difference to your foods overall taste. Even plain briquets used in a chimney starter would be a big improvement for you.

I use Basques all natural hardwood charcoal. I love it for the low moisture content.

I am not sure of the stores in your area and I am sure someone here can help you.

As for wood chips or chunks we use smokinlicious products to add additional flavours like cherry or hickory. They make the food taste better whether it be pork or beef.

Good luck to you but please stay away from matchlight.
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Old 04-02-2009, 07:18 PM   #3
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Lump! I get Royal Oak around here.
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Old 04-02-2009, 07:33 PM   #4
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I just bought a bag of Royal Oak and trying it before Tuesday at some point. I wouldn't mess with the match light...to much gassy taste..but I do remember when everything had that mix in it in the 70's
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Old 04-03-2009, 04:37 AM   #5
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Use anything except for match light. I started off on Kingsford briquettes, then moved on to lump charcoal (Cowboy). I began trying to cook at lower temperatures for longer durations so I went back to Kingsford briquettes. I have since switched to using Wicked Good lump briquettes, Wicked Good lump, and Kingsford Competition briquettes. Wicked Good is available online and Kingsford Competition is available at Home Depot. The great thing about the new Kingsford Competition briquettes is they do not have coal, borax, and other additives, which may be unsafe, and give chemical flavors to foods. Later this spring, Trader's Joe is supposed to be carrying Rancher Charcoal again. I'll probably start using that for a while. I hope this list helps. The easiest thing to do is get some Kingsford Competition briquettes and a chimney starter and start cooking. Throw away the lighter fluid.

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Old 04-03-2009, 06:50 AM   #6
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Yeah never use starter fluid or instant lighting coals. Get a chimney & use that to get the charcoal briquetts or lump started.

Lump is labled "100% hardwood" in many stores.

You can use LP gas torch or burner to start you chimney...
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Old 04-03-2009, 05:38 PM   #7
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Is there any other way to light lump or regular charcoal without using a chimney? I dont have a house, so i grill at the park, and they have those dinky grills on a pole... They do have adjustable grates, but the grate does not come off the top, so id have to dump the chimney in sideways... im afraid this may result in a forest fire.. LOL
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Old 04-03-2009, 06:26 PM   #8
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Even though I am a Weber man…if I was you I would think about getting one of these…it folds up so it won’t take up as much space as a Weber Kettle…and you wouldn’t have to use one of the grills at the park…http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?actio...30L&lpage=none
Along with a chimney you would be good to go.

Or you could just get a torch and torch the regular charcoal...
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Old 04-03-2009, 08:28 PM   #9
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Well, i just got back from checking some things out at Home depot, and they do carry the Kingsford Comp, and also a brand of Lump that i cant remember. They also had a few harwoods... hickory, and a mesqui.... something or other... what is that stuff?

So i guess the best thing for me is to cook a few times with just the King Comp, and then a few times with the Lump... that should give me a good base so i can better identify taste when adding hardwoods later?

More suggestions for combinations are welcome of course... there are some real BBQ rocket scientist on this site i know.


Now, matchlight gives off fumes and distprts taste, but why it it ok to takea propaine torch to your regular charcoal??? Does this not effect the taste and give off fumes, and why not?
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Old 04-03-2009, 09:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 92hatchattack
Well, i just got back from checking some things out at Home depot, and they do carry the Kingsford Comp, and also a brand of Lump that i cant remember. They also had a few harwoods... hickory, and a mesqui.... something or other... what is that stuff?

So i guess the best thing for me is to cook a few times with just the King Comp, and then a few times with the Lump... that should give me a good base so i can better identify taste when adding hardwoods later?

More suggestions for combinations are welcome of course... there are some real BBQ rocket scientist on this site i know.


Now, matchlight gives off fumes and distprts taste, but why it it ok to take a propaine torch to your regular charcoal??? Does this not effect the taste and give off fumes, and why not?
Those chunks of hardwood are just that...chunks. Guys who use WSM's and maybe smaller offsets will use these chunks, sometimes soaked in water to smoke more and not just catch fire, to accent the charcoal briquettes which, traditionally, do not have much real smoke flavor imparted into/onto the food.

You can experiment with the different types of wood chunks to find out what best fits you own tastes. I don't use mesquite because I think it's too harsh for me. I will start a cook with hickory for good strong initial penetration then switch to apple and cherry for variations in flavor throughout the cook...layering the flavors if you will.

I also strongly suggest you get and read "Smoke and Spice" from Bill and Cheryl Jamieson...great book. Use Rempe's link to Amazon.com so he gets a little something for it.


Propane is one of the cleanest burning fuels with 90% of the usable energy being used when burned. It leaves very little, if any residue after burning. I use propane all the time to start charcoal in a chimney either with a weed burner or on the burner on the front of my Klose pit.

You're on the road to learning a great deal about a very complex subject. Don't hesitate to ask questions here. We've all been there and have made the same mistakes you will. That's how you learn though. If you need anything...just ask.

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