Charcoal is the heart of cooking with a smoker or grill. It provides both the heat and the flavor that will create your final product. While many chefs prefer standard charcoal briquettes, lots of others prefer the lump style of charcoal. Plenty of those users are looking for a reputable source for good information on which lump charcoal is best.
If you are thinking about switching to lump charcoal for your smoker, the good folks at Smokey’s have got you covered. The market is full of different products, each of which has its own advantages, disadvantages, and price. Rather than burn off your whole summer burning off different types of charcoal, use Smokey’s reviews with these tips to make your decision so that you can like it instead of lumping it.
Lump Charcoal Lights Faster
Briquettes pack a lot of energy into a small package, but their dense nature makes it tough to get them hot enough to burn. The result is often a big dose of lighter fluid, followed by a lot of wasted matches and wasted time. It’s also tough to get briquettes to create even heat because it seems like you get a pocket of intense burning right in the pile surrounded by dozens of cool, unburned ones.
Lump charcoal bypasses those headaches. The lighter material is not made of condensed coals. Instead, it’s actual chunks of lightly-burned wood. That gives you much faster lighting that makes it easier to schedule your cooking. You’ll also bypass the flavor-ruining lighter fluid; many types of lump charcoal ignite directly from a match.
Charcoal briquettes are about half a step behind ashes. The wood is almost entirely gone by the time the briquettes are formed, so there is not as much energy left for you as the actual user. The result is a lower burning temperature that requires bigger quantities of charcoal with the constant addition of new charcoal.
Lump charcoal has basically been primed for burning. It’s lost the moisture and cool-burning nature of raw wood, but it will still have plenty of heat for your use. When you use lump charcoal for the first time, you will quickly see the difference in your thermometers and in your meats.
Temperatures Are Easier to Adjust
Once you’ve got the grill or smoker going, you know that it is essential to be able to adjust the temperature. Your experience guides you in deciding when ti’s time to get a few degrees up or down. Charcoal briquettes don’t generally cooperate in this area. You’re either at full temperature or you’re slowly roasting marshmallows.
Lump charcoal is much easier to manage. You can add fuel, change the damper, or even spread out the fire to get the temperature right where you want it to be. The simplicity and speed of adjustment make it simple to tweak it as necessary, without the mess and inaccuracy of briquettes.
Your Food Will Taste Better
Briquettes are not much more than hunks of carbon. Their bland flavor and the fluid needed to get them burning are a recipe for, well, a bad recipe. You will end up with meat that has no distinct taste or, worse yet, the distinct taste of lighter fluid.
Lump charcoal is basically scorched wood. That means that you will end up with the flavor of mesquite, cherry, apple, or whatever you have chosen for your meat. As the fire burns, you will maintain the delicious flavor coming from the wood into your meats, making it a great final product for the dinner table.
Cleanup Is Easier
We already mentioned that charcoal briquettes are half a step short of ashes. Once they make that half step and turn into ashes, they are a dusty bucketful of waste. You’ll struggle to clean out your grill or smoker without coating yourself in messy dust, and if there is any moisture around, you end up with ash mud.
Lump charcoal is less dense than briquettes, so it burns down into less waste material. You will see a big difference at the bottom of our grill or smoker afer a cooking session with lump charcoal. That means fewer rounds of cleanup with less dusty mess each time.
Your choice of fuel is where your grilling and smoking can quickly go very well or very poorly. Once you’ve ignited your chosen fuel, there is no going back for this batch of meat. That makes it very important to choose wisely.
If you’ve come down on the side of lump charcoal for the reasons we’ve noted here, you will be happier with the final product as well as with the management of our equipment and your working space. Briquettes are harder to manage and will never provide the great flavor that you can get from lump charcoal. Take a little time to research the different lump charcoal products on the market and choose one that will give you the best results.