Charcoal Question

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UpInSmoke
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Charcoal Question

Post by UpInSmoke » Wed Jul 08, 2009 9:25 am

I have a few Charcoal questions.. My last few cooks have had a soot-y taste, and I'm wondering if it has anything to do with my method for lighting, adding new charcoal... I'm using a Pro-Q smoker. At the moment, I use the Minion Method, simply add unlit lump to the base, and add a single lit chimney. I wait for the smoker to get to temperature, then throw my meat on. As time progresses, and my charcoal is wearing thin, I simply expose the cooker base, and dump more charcoal in. I usually leave the cooker base exposed to air for a few minutes to allow the unlit charcoal to get going...

I find as charcoal is lighting, it has an "off" smell - This is the smell that my food comes out tasting like.

Questions:

1) When starting a cook, do you light a single chimney, and dump it over unlit charcoal? Do you allow the unlit charcoal to ignite OR ash-over before throwing you're meat on?

2) When you need to add more charcoal, do you just dump it on the unlit coals? Or do you pre-light another chimney, and throw that on?

How do YOU do it? ;-)

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roastntoast
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Re: Charcoal Question

Post by roastntoast » Wed Jul 08, 2009 9:40 am

What kind of Charcoal are you using and what are you using to light it up

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UpInSmoke
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Re: Charcoal Question

Post by UpInSmoke » Wed Jul 08, 2009 9:41 am

I'm using Royal Oak Lump currently... I'm using a chimney starter, that I light by tossing on the side-burner of my grill.

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Peter
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Re: Charcoal Question

Post by Peter » Wed Jul 08, 2009 12:12 pm

Are the top vents in your cooker open wide all the time?
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UpInSmoke
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Re: Charcoal Question

Post by UpInSmoke » Wed Jul 08, 2009 12:13 pm

Yes, I leave everything wide-open all the time. I'm doing up a few racks today, going to pre-light everything and see if that makes a difference.

Does it make sence to prelight the wood-chunks too?

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Re: Charcoal Question

Post by Jasper » Thu Jul 09, 2009 7:52 am

As a test, why not try another brand of lump for your next cook and see how that turns out?

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Re: Charcoal Question

Post by drunken monkey » Sat Jul 18, 2009 5:44 pm

Questions:

1) When starting a cook, do you light a single chimney, and dump it over unlit charcoal? Do you allow the unlit charcoal to ignite OR ash-over before throwing you're meat on?

A: If you are using lump you should only use 1/4-1/3 of a lit chimney to start the minion method. Spread the coals out evenly on top of the unlit lump. Wait a few minutes before you attach the cooking chamber but do not walk away because the fire can get very hot very fast. All vents should be wide open until the temps get the 200 degrees and then start to close them.

2) When you need to add more charcoal, do you just dump it on the unlit coals? Or do you pre-light another chimney, and throw that on?

A: You should not need to add coals. Don't worry about adding too much in the beginning because what doesn't burn up will be there for the next cook. How much unlit lump are you starting out with now? Shake the charcoal basket or ring to ensure the coals are packed in there.

"I simply expose the cooker base, and dump more charcoal in" This could be what's causing the foul taste. When you add lump you are also adding dust that can settle on the meat. If you must add more charcoal place some foil over the meat to avoid this. Adding unlit coals in the middle of a cook isn't the best idea because it takes energy to light those coals and if it's a borderline fire to begin with then the unlit lump could smolder or drop the temps even more. If you do add the unlit lump open all the vents until the temps come back up this will help avoid any bad flavors. I would also mix the lit and unlit coals together and let them sit for a minute or two. This will not affect your meat.

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