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Lump Charcoal

January 4, 2010 2 comments

First, let me say that one can cook up some mighty tasty grub on a gas grill.  But it really isn’t BBQ.  Think about where you’re getting your flavor from… propane?  Yum-O!  Sure, you can season/sauce up the meat and give it a char on your outdoor broiler, but you’re missing out on the rugged beauty–not to mention flavor–of a real hardwood fire.  It is definitely more work, but let us not compromise what’s best for what’s convenient.  Hey, that’ll preach!

Now, if I can get a few converts out there (from propane to charcoal), the temptation would be to get yourself a bag of charcoal briquettes (which is better than that gaseous flame).  But you need to understand what briquettes are all about.  They’re like hot dogs.  Sure, there’s meat in those weiners, but there’s also… okay, let’s not go there today.  Briquettes are made mostly of wood.  But then you’ve got binders and fillers added to the mix.  You don’t quite get that true woodsy flavor from briquettes, but they are definitely a step in the right direction.  Which brings me to LUMP CHARCOAL, which is nothing more than wood!  You know what briquettes look like, those perfectly formed… thingies.  Here’s the real thing:

lumpcharcoal-small

 **The Fun Foodie swoons at the sight**  Not quite as easy to use as briquettes (some of the additives help with ignition and stability), but much hotter and a ton tastier.  It’ll take you some time to get used to this stuff, but, trust me, it will be worth it all.  A must for the lump charcoal user is a “chimney starter” (which I’ll tell you about in a future post).  Here are my favorite brands to use:

1.  Royal Oak (I get mine at Wal-Mart, this has the best balance of flavor, ease of lighting and price.  $5.37 for a 10 pound bag.)

2.  Barbeques Galore (Their house lump charcoal is not the cheapest stuff, but it is excellent all around.  Easy to light, great flavor.  $14.99 for 20 pounds.)

3.  Hot Wood (It’s more than just a name, this stuff gets crazy hot–plus, you get an exciting fireworks show when you light it!  It’s pure Mesquite, which is known for it’s intense heat and strong flavor.  Great for steaks because you want that high heat for searing.  I think it’s too strong for chicken or even pork.  I’ve seen this at most grocery stores.  It’s usually $5.something for, I think, a 7 pound bag.)

Brands I don’t like: Cowboy (Trader Joe’s), Lazzari (OSH), Kingsford Charwood (everywhere).  If you insist on briquettes, look for 100% hardwood briquettes.  Long lasting, but not quite as hot or flavorful as lump.

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Categories: BBQ Tags: ,