Adding Charcoal while a smoke is in process.

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by jaked, Apr 22, 2013.

  1. Best to add lit or unlit charcoal to the smoker; That is the question...

    The Hijacked picture below was posted by Todd J on a thread about the MES; but I agree it is also one of my favorite pics explaining how you want your smoke to look. However the grill on the left is how my smoker looks when I add unlit charcoal to the grill and the one on the right is how it looks 5 - 10 minutes after I add the charcoal. Is adding the unlit charcoal to the hot coals putting creosote on my meats? I have never noticed a bad or sooty taste from anything coming off my smoker, but everything usually has a black bark on the outside.

    Thanks for the Pic Todd.


    TBS, not Billowing White Smoke!!!

    Here's one of my favorite pics.

    The smoker on the left is Billowing White Smoke and the Smoker on the right is Nice TBS

  2. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    All smoke has creosote in it which is what gives meat the majority of it's flavor but when the balance get's out of whack is when you get too much and bitter taste. 

    If i'm doing a hot cook i'll add lit coals and if i'm doing a low and slow i'll add unlit but just a little bit at a time to get it back up to the temp i want.  

    Look up the "Minion Method"   It's basically a few lit coals slowly lighting unlit coals.  Doing this will stretch out your cook time w/ out adding fuel...but no there is nothing wrong with adding some lump or what ever in a little at a time. 

    Also using charcoal/wood as fuel tends to give you the darker bark vs electric cookers etc....But that  dark bark is ALL GOOD!
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2013
  3. jrod62

    jrod62 Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    "Minion Method" is the way to go.
    This is how I do mine when I use my smoker with side fire box,
    As far as adding unlit coals . Fill with unlit coals, leave enough room on one side to add the hot coals. Now it will slowly burn from the hot side to the other side of the box. When the hot coals reach the other side of the box I will add unlit coals going back to the other side.
    So it burn left to right then right to left,, burning back and forth.
    Hope this helps
  4. Thanks for the input FWI.    I do tend to add probably too much at a time and I agree with the dark bark being ALL GOOD.

    I have tried the minion method and it works very well with my UDS but not so good with my horizontal offset, it just seems like it is a real fuel hog but when I do larger cooks I need the room.
  5. Hmmm jrod!!   That sounds like a variation of the method that I havent tried!!  Just keep going back and forth.
  6. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

  7. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If you have to add charcoal (sometimes happens - even with the minion method) the best thing to do is get if half lit. Fill a chimney with charcoal and light it - let the chimney get about half lit then dump it in. This will get you past the heavy start up smoke phaze so it doesn't get on your food - also it prevents a dip in the temperature as the smoker struggles to light a large pile of unlit charcoal.

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