Lump coal VS Charcoal

Discussion in 'Roll Call' started by wtxrenegade, Nov 7, 2015.

  1. Howdy Y'all  I got a big smoke coming up next weekend.  I am wondering which would be best to use , lump or charcoal.  i will be cooking 3 briskets totaling 38 pounds. I have an old hand - made grill ( 24x50 in.)that I put a 18x18x18in. smoke box on, also wondering about how long it might take to get the job done . Any feedback would be welcome . 
  2. one eyed jack

    one eyed jack Master of the Pit

    I would go with whichever type charcoal your smoker seems happier with,  (Assuming you have tried both lump and briquettes in it).

    I would figure 1.5 to 2 hours per pound of the largest of the three briskets to guesstimate cooking time.  (Even though you are cooking all three at the same time).
  3. thanks for the info Jack. I have never tried lump coal and didnt really know what the difference is
  4. bmudd14474

    bmudd14474 Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I like lump better. It burns better IMO
  5. one eyed jack

    one eyed jack Master of the Pit

    I have limited experience with lump but, as Bmudd say's "it does seem to burn better".  Generally produces less ash and so can be less prone to suffocate your coal bed.  (The better quality lump is from all wood and so doesn't have the additives that regular charcoal briquettes can have.  (You can get all natural briquettes also, which will produce less ash than even decent briquettes, like Kingsford blue).

    I general;  Because of the uniform shape of briquettes, they will pack a little tighter than lump which can equate to "more fuel / longer burn time.

    Before I committed to a three brisket cook with lump I would do a trial run.

    Hopefully some of the folks with more lump experience will add their thoughts.
  6. Lump will burn slightly hotter, quicker and with less ash than briquettes.
  7. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Do you use any wood to cook with? One eyed Jack gave you some great advice on your cook. I would definitely try a small home cook with lump before I trusted the outcome of 3 briskies to something that I have never used.

    I use a basket of Royal Oak lump for a good start of hot coals. I start the lump with about 1/2-2/3 chimney of RO briqs in a valley in the middle of the lump. When all of the lump is fully red, I begin adding splits and do my cook with all wood. That's just my method of getting my smoker off to a good start. Some of the old school stick burners will probably poo-poo my use of charcoal to make my coal bed, buts that's OK

    Good luck with your briskies and keep on smokin', Joe..
  8. barrelcooker

    barrelcooker Smoke Blower

    I use propane flame nossel on a camping canister to light wood and only wood. Propane so i can walk away while my fire lites can dial how big the flame is its wonderful.
  9. barrelcooker

    barrelcooker Smoke Blower

    If i had to choose lump or coal i would choose lump bc it burns hotter.ans also it burns faster being 100% wood and not compressed. I would change fuel out according to your cook. U can get conpressed 100% wood briquettes. If i had to ch oose either a food service lump charcoal would be better but usually crackles alot. Not a very big drawback. Compressed would burn slower and lower thus you might damper the air down and suffocate them as they smolder thats what they do.i like to build a little fire then add wood to that doesnt have to be big just has to have wood. And remember u r bbq from 190 -325 pic your spot you like. Apple oak misquite wood for packer. Im a cherry cooker. Soon to move on to hickory blend
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2015
  10. dougmays

    dougmays Limited Mod Group Lead

    You generally get a longer lasting and more consistent heat with Charcoal. IMO
  11. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    I like lump but the only downside for me is that the temp is harder to control. I use the minion method in my UDS and when I am burning lump the temp is harder to control than briquettes. 
  12. Thanks to all of you .  The big day is nearing and I thik that I'll go ahead and use the brickettes, since that is what I'm used to. Wish me luck . Oh, by the way , these are for my baby girl's wedding reception. I am nervous as all get out.
  13. one eyed jack

    one eyed jack Master of the Pit

    Best luck to you brother.  I would be nervous too.  That's a high pressure smoke for sure.
  14. dougmays

    dougmays Limited Mod Group Lead

    We'll be here if you have questions or need advice! Good Luck!
  15. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I'll see your three briskets and raise you four pork butts! LOL

    I have used both lump and briquets and still use both depending on what I'm cooking. For any cooks less than 8 hrs. I can use lump without having to reload and get great results, but if I know I need to go 12-17 hrs. then I switch to briquets. For the link above I used one 20 lb. bag of briquets and the entire cook took about 16 hrs. without reloading - your fuel consumption will probably be different from mine though.

    Another nice method for long smokes is to mix lump and briquets approx. 25% lump & 75% briquets. This gives you a fire that burns for a long time, but when the fire hits a chunk of lump it gives it a bit of a boost to help keep the temps up over a long period of time.
  16. Well the smoke went well.  There wasn't any of it left. plus I threw 7 lbs. of sausage on the next morning. 
  17. one eyed jack

    one eyed jack Master of the Pit

    Congratulations  [​IMG] , but; Where's the pictures?

    Did you wind up using briquettes?
  18. I didn't even think about pictures.  I did use briquettes, 45 pounds of them.  My fire box i 18"x18"x18"  .  The charcoal basket i had made held 30 lbs. 

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