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Gloverfoodlover

Best briquettes?

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Afternoon guys,

I wanted to see what briquettes you all use and what you have found works best for you.

I've started with Weber Briquettes as that is what I started off with for my 1st cook so I'm still getting used to times/temps and so on but an 8KG bag was £14.99 at my local garden center and most places online are £12.99+ delivery so most likely works out the same.

Lots of other cheap alt options out there e.g. B&M but I'm wary of going cheaper non branded briquettes as hey may be crap...

Cheers,

Neil

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Hi Neil. Is this to go in the WSM?

The Weber briquettes are good however I usually use Heat Beads - especially for long slow smokes. There are a number of coconut shell briquettes that are on the market too, some of which are very good.

Here are a couple of good sources for Heat Beads

https://www.bbqworld.co.uk/browse/charcoal.asp

https://www.wowbbq.co.uk/categories/fuel/briquettes-and-lumpwood/product/aussie-heat-beads-10kg/HB10KG~HB10KG

BBQ World (Dawsons) are usually the cheapest by a slim margin but they are currently showing out of stock on their web site. I know that they had a delivery arrive today so expect them to show back in stock in a few hours.

The price from both BBQ World and Wow BBQ is currently  £1.46 per Kg for Weber Briquettes (8 Kg bag). BBQ World give free shipping over £50 (5 bags)

Heat Beads, when bought in 10 Kg bags are about £1.495 per Kg and BBQ World will do free shipping on those too for orders over £50

Avoid buying "cheap" own brand briquettes and many often have unpleasant smells when they first light and, of course, avoid anything that even hints at being instant lighting.

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Hi Wade,

Hope you had a great weekend, and yes its for my WSM and I'm using/buying Weber at around £13 for 8kg.

I'll check our your suggestions though as it might be that, that works out better for me.

I fired up the WSM again this weekend and did another good 9 hours on it which worked fantastically :)

Cheers,

Neil

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If you can find Black Pearl brand coconut briquette then they're excellent. They make them for Weber Sweden as the Weber standard version didn't cut it in Scandinavia. My rule is to see how much dust and aggregate is left in the grill or appliance afterward. You do find quite a bit of filler in some of these products, often it's not only ash.

 

Mark

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I have contacted Black Pearl through their web site to see who retails them in the UK

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1 minute ago, Wade said:

I have contacted Black Pearl through their web site to see who retails them in the UK

It's a product that I would consider distributing in the U.K. next year possibly. I've never been a 'briquette' man but when I used those I had a change of heart.

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Morning guys,

Ok awesome that's great thanks for all the advice :) I've not smoked for a while as my flipping house suffered a burst pipe so I've been living in a hotel for the past month!

However, the moment I am in our rental place I'm back on the game ASAP it's been killing me not being able to use it....

What are my other alternatives to briquetes that would or could be tried in a WSM?

Cheers,

Neil

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Been looking to try some cocoshell briquettes for a while now. Thinking about the ProQ ones and although a reasonably big outlay £50 for 30kg delivered still not to bad a price at just over £1.60 a kg. Just not sure it is any better than the Big K restaurant Grade charcoal I currently use. Anyone any experience of the ProQ or cocoshell in general over  lumpwood charcoal

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28 minutes ago, Gloverfoodlover said:

Morning guys,

Ok awesome that's great thanks for all the advice :) I've not smoked for a while as my flipping house suffered a burst pipe so I've been living in a hotel for the past month!

However, the moment I am in our rental place I'm back on the game ASAP it's been killing me not being able to use it....

What are my other alternatives to briquetes that would or could be tried in a WSM?

Cheers,

Neil

There are alternatives to use and I've seen the likes of Luca from Miss P's BBq in London who used WSM on a commercial basis for his street food stall.

It's a charcoal based on the Japanese ogatan (sawdust /woodchip) style. It's long and hexagon shape. Method-wise you stack it really neatly into a Weber chimney starter and fire it from underneath with a few natural (nonparrafin) firelighters. I've used it a lot and a helpful #BBQhack is to sprinkle some lumpwood in the bottom end then load it, then a little on top of the 'engineered' charcoal. Once lit let it get a full glow on, much like the ar*e end of the Space Shuttle.  

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11 minutes ago, sotv said:

Been looking to try some cocoshell briquettes for a while now. Thinking about the ProQ ones and although a reasonably big outlay £50 for 30kg delivered still not to bad a price at just over £1.60 a kg. Just not sure it is any better than the Big K restaurant Grade charcoal I currently use. Anyone any experience of the ProQ or cocoshell in general over  lumpwood charcoal

Briquette vs Lump-wood is a 'being better' challenge in some ways. In that lump is often more flavorsome but generally burns a bit faster, but briquettes are often more calorie driven, so lots of stable heat which is great when you add a chunk of wood on top or want you to create a burn chain or snake method. Lump wood for direct or indirect grilling seems to be preferable, tho in Kamado's I still prefer good lump + wood for a long low & slow. 

But, I'm also conscious as to what's 'in' the briquette or engineered charcoals as much like sausages; they're all the same shape, but it's what's inside that counts. So do look for the pure coconut ones and you'll be good. And lastly, the per kilo £ value should really be measured by what you get out of them, it's about burn-hours really.

 

Mark

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Any preferred lump woods you've used or are using as I'd like to mess around with all types of fuels really to then see what works best for x and y!

At the moment I'm just getting used to temperatures and wood flavors along with my timings.

I'll have a look into the pure coco one's just out of interest and might be worth grabbing a bag just to play around with. 

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Wood is where most of the flavour will come from, so apple, oak, and such likes. My advice is to find maybe 3 wood types and explore those first, then build up your 'aromatic library' in your mind and see where you want to take it. I tend to have a few dishes as my benchmarkers for flavour testing, a pork shoulder chop, lamb neck and a chicken thigh boned out to a lollypop style (bone exposed like a handle).

The chicken I give a natural full-fat yoghurt marinade too, as it's a great way to trap flavour notes and often it helps the meat stay succulent and it protects it from burning (think tandoori chicken), then if left to cool overnight the flavour develops onwards. And often you'll know if the seasoning is correct when the food has been chilled and tasted cold from the fridge the next day.

For rec's on products, there are guys like Dan 'Smokin Elk' Whitaker and Kung Fu BBQ that are worth a follow Instagram, these people cook outdoors way more than me these days.

http://picbear.online/thesmokinelk

 

 

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That's incredible thank you, literally some really great tips which I hugely appreciate and I'll totally take on board for my next sesh!

I've been practicing mostly with pork shoulders but I keep meaning to get some pork belly on the go as well as try out thighs as you say as I figured their fat content would be perfect to smoke!

I actually already follow 'Smokin Elk' funnily enough which is where I'd also discovered yourself so it kind of comes full circle ;)

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3 hours ago, Lord Logs said:

Briquette vs Lump-wood is a 'being better' challenge in some ways. In that lump is often more flavorsome but generally burns a bit faster, but briquettes are often more calorie driven, so lots of stable heat which is great when you add a chunk of wood on top or want you to create a burn chain or snake method. Lump wood for direct or indirect grilling seems to be preferable, tho in Kamado's I still prefer good lump + wood for a long low & slow. 

But, I'm also conscious as to what's 'in' the briquette or engineered charcoals as much like sausages; they're all the same shape, but it's what's inside that counts. So do look for the pure coconut ones and you'll be good. And lastly, the per kilo £ value should really be measured by what you get out of them, it's about burn-hours really.

 

Mark

I understand what you are saying about burn hours. But I always read with envy with people, that get 7-8 hour burns from 1 basket of charcoal. The most I have ever got is 4 hours and usually 3-3.5 hours, before it starts dropping off. I have tried heat beads, Weber briquettes.Restaurant  Lumpwood Charcoal mainly The CPL brand seems about the best I have tried so far and can give me a 4 hour burn @ a regular constant 225F but no more than that, before dropping off. It is not an ash problem with the vents as they are always clear even after a 18 hour cook. Tried Minion methods, white hot coals in the middle of unlit, white hot coals dropped on a full basket of unlit coals. No method or type of charcoal has gone beyond 4 hours for me. Maybe Coocshell will do that for me. Maybe the equipment, more likely me though.  I have a maverick et732, that helps me keep an eye on the temps, but of course doesn't prolong anything...

Nothing wrong with the finished food as a hobby smoker, food always turns out edible and friends and family enjoy it. just wish I could do a little less work, for the finished product...

 

 

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I'd try and have an extra weber chimney so you can burn up two to start the process, and then have one loaded to fire at the 3 hr mark,  that way you get to add hot coals at the heat drop off time, it's an easy and manageable way.  Also, remember there's a huge amount of heat lost in a hobby/home smoker/BBQ as there's little to no insulation.

Whereas the ceramic type Kamado, Egg's have a greater heat retention, so the coals last longer as greater efficiency is gained by the thermal mass and heat exchange within. But they are costly.

I generally don't add raw fuel once I'm up and running as it has to go through the stage-one discharge process before ignition where it turns to coals/embers, and that early stage is where the powerful and often unwanted flavours are. Adding fuel that's been discharged/fired by way of a WCS gets you up there faster.

One chimney is doable, but two makes life better.

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6 hours ago, Lord Logs said:

I'd try and have an extra weber chimney so you can burn up two to start the process, and then have one loaded to fire at the 3 hr mark,  that way you get to add hot coals at the heat drop off time, it's an easy and manageable way.  Also, remember there's a huge amount of heat lost in a hobby/home smoker/BBQ as there's little to no insulation.

Whereas the ceramic type Kamado, Egg's have a greater heat retention, so the coals last longer as greater efficiency is gained by the thermal mass and heat exchange within. But they are costly.

I generally don't add raw fuel once I'm up and running as it has to go through the stage-one discharge process before ignition where it turns to coals/embers, and that early stage is where the powerful and often unwanted flavours are. Adding fuel that's been discharged/fired by way of a WCS gets you up there faster.

One chimney is doable, but two makes life better.

I will give it ago over thew weekend

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20 hours ago, sotv said:

Been looking to try some cocoshell briquettes for a while now. Thinking about the ProQ ones and although a reasonably big outlay £50 for 30kg delivered still not to bad a price at just over £1.60 a kg. Just not sure it is any better than the Big K restaurant Grade charcoal I currently use. Anyone any experience of the ProQ or cocoshell in general over  lumpwood charcoal

Like other briquettes, the cocoshell briquettes are not all are the same and different brands vary greatly in quality. 

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On 5/25/2018 at 1:44 PM, Wade said:

avoid anything that even hints at being instant lighting. 

Ye gods I used that type years back, makes me shudder just thinking about it.   ?

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Hi, new to the forum, so hello all!!

I have a WSM and I have been experimenting with briquettes and lump. Generally for long cooks (mostly overnight) I use briquettes. I am yet to try heat beads or anything decent, sticking mainly to Tesco briquettes. I find that I can get 10 hours with a half chimney starter and full basket of coals on the 18" WSM using minion method at 102 - 107C. Holds eat amazingly, and I have the vents hardly open on the bottom with the current weather we have had. I would be keen to see what effect on flavor using a better briquette brings. I always use large wood chunks, or one whole log, and have had excellent results. I  find that when I use lump its harder to get the long burn times, and therefore tend to use when I am cooking ribs or when I am around to adjust the vents (it burns real hot) and add more fuel as required.

What do people really think of the difference in flavor of different briquettes?

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welcome aboard, and good post. 

I use Weber briguettes and on WSM I can get 16 hours plus if need be, full bed load minion method.  Flavour I am not sure it matters as long as using decent briguettes and not the sawdust and stones varitey, I never use lumpwood anymore unless I am doing a hot  burn for a short time.

I shoud say too that I am a firm weber enthusiast. Flavour comes fromt he wood smoke, options are wood blocks or pellets, both work great I find, Either staight onto the coals. "One whole log" that is intersting, where did you get that from?

You find a lot of good advice and having gone to smokefest 18 and met lots of people they are great people.  Have yuo seen the next event the 1st Northern Tailgate, can you go to that, you will not be disappinted if you do.

Edited by Justin
typo

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Hi WSM88

As I only have the phone at the moment, I'll just say hi and welcome.

There's a thread on here about this if you haven't found it yet.

I hate typing on a smegging phone keyboard. ?

Edited by Icefever

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Also once thing I learnt form Wade is to have a little camping gas  stove under a chinment with spare briquettes going  is helpful in case fuel runs low on a long smoke which is what I found when temperature dipped alarmingly in the last two hour of the Pacfic Pork Shoudler recipe I did at Smokefest 18.  Wade saved me.  Also Smokefest 19 is already booking up;  look at the thread, Hope you can make that

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So with one whole log, you can either do minion method and place a log over the top of the coals which reaches to either end of the charcoal basket. This provides a nice slow smolder and doesn't burn as quick as chunks. you have to be careful with space if its a super long cook and basket is maxed out, but I seem to fit it in 

Another method I have tried is to place the chimney coals at one edge of the basket so the fire effectively burns across the basket. With a log on top of this, the log  smolders with it. Works really well, especially for woods that burn quick like cherry or apple. To be honest, having tried all sorts of woods, I personally now prefer oak and beech, I like the stronger wood taste.

Sounds like I need to invest in some decent briquettes, my Tesco ones are likely letting my food down. Thanks for the pointer. As for the event, I will check it out.

Cheers!

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