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Mesquite Charcoal at Standard Wood
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Fadunk Offline
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Post: #1
Mesquite Charcoal at Standard Wood
I got this wood this [Saturday] morning from Standard Wood; $15 for 40 lbs of mesquite lump charcoal. I thought the price was pretty amazing (considering the other lump charcoal I've used is around $7 for a 10 lb bag of Cowboy brand at Lowes, IIRC), and it turned out to be somewhat too good to be true.

First off, I can't tell who made this charcoal. There is no manufacturer name, though there are phone numbers on the front. I didn't bother to call, since it's a Saturday, but I think I'll try and call Monday so I might be able to find out more about their product.

Upon opening the bag, I pulled out 4 pieces that could only be called semi-burnt logs. All were at least 4" in diameter, at least 12" long, and still with the natural wood color evident in many places. Total weight was probably around 8 lbs, so 20% of total weight. There were some smaller unburnt pieces as well, but not many. There was what seemed to me a significant amount of (unusable) dust as well. Regardless, there turned out to be a good amount of usable charcoal.

I took the semi-burnt logs and broke them into smaller pieces with the hammer side of an axe, and started them along with the fully burnt pieces. Sparks occurred while they started igniting, but not too many.

The smoke created by this charcoal is pretty awful. I understand now why so many people say mesquite is a weed, and not to be used for charcoal. However, by making sure all coals were fully lit before adding them to my smoker I was able to minimize production of harsh mesquite smoke.

This charcoal required quite a bit more effort to make it work than I'd like. In my mind, the Minion method is out of the question, since I want to avoid too much mequite smoke. However, I think the price was decent, and I'll probably take my chances again in hopes that the semi-burnt logs were a fluke and not the norm.

To anyone considering using this in the future (and I may be among you if I can't find a better lump source in SLC or nearby!), I'd strongly caution that you be careful to get the charcoal well lit before subjecting your meat to it, and hopefully you can avoid adding too much harsh mesquite smoke.

Has anyone else tried this charcoal? Any similar or different experiences?

Fadunk
05-14-2006 12:36 AM
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SmokinJoe Offline
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Post: #2
 
I picked up a bag of the same, but haven't been able to try it yet...

-joe

Get your smoke on...
05-14-2006 08:27 AM
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Jeff Offline
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Post: #3
 
Thanks for the information. I think I'll give it a pass since I use the Minion Method for most of my cooks. They didn't carry any other brands of lump there?
05-14-2006 09:13 AM
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Fadunk Offline
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Post: #4
 
Jeff Wrote:They didn't carry any other brands of lump there?

Not to my knowledge.

They also carry smoking wood though (oak, hickory and fruit wood I'm pretty sure, and probably some others I'm forgetting). The fruit wood (mixed apple and cherry) was $10 for a bundle about 14" diameter and 18" long. I was concerned that it wasn't dry enough, but I preheated pieces on the lid of the firebox and then dropped it on the coals. No popping and it smelled wonderful.

As a side note, if you're doing a shorter cook and have the patience to start every load of charcoal individually before adding it to your smoker, I think this may be worthwhile. When I said I "minimized" the harsh mesquite smoke, I really mean I had very little smoke. It just required a bit more effort than normal.

Fadunk
05-14-2006 10:32 PM
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Post: #5
 
Fadunk Wrote:As a side note, if you're doing a shorter cook and have the patience to start every load of charcoal individually before adding it to your smoker, I think this may be worthwhile.
Fadunk

For those of you who are just getting into Que and smoke, this little "gem" Fadunk just tossed at you is a really good one IMHO...

After starting my lump in my "chimney", I will dump it into my firebox onto a bed of unlit lump... But I will try to save 2-3 coals in the chimney, and then add some fresh lump back into my chimney and on top of these 2-3 lit coals... And then I set it aside... When I am ready to add new lump to the fire box, it is ready to go - and this takes a load off of the fire in the firebox in terms of lighting new lump in there, and a temperature fluctuation that can occur... I have also learned that if I am needing to add lump directly into my firebox (when I don't have another chimney ready to go) to add a few (3-4) pieces at a time versus adding a "bunch" all at once... Same issue here - it places a "stress" on the fire in the box, and tempertaure fluctuation can occur...

Thanks, Fadunk!!... 8)
05-15-2006 08:42 AM
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Fadunk Offline
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Hoochie-Que Wrote:Thanks, Fadunk!!... 8)

No problem, but I think I only really touched on it and you expanded greatly--credit where credit's due.

Anyway, I started using your described method awhile ago as a way to avoid the sooty nastiness that can occur when using certain pre-formed briquettes. I did the very same thing--just leaving a single glowing briquette in the chimney and filling it with unlit. About 45 minutes to an hour later, the briquetes are all ready (starts slower than with newspaper or firestarter). It was actually very successful, and the only problem is if I try an overnight brisket that way, I won't get any sleep.

I think a good option would be to buy better lump, do the Minion method overnight (well, a couple times--my Chargriller can't keep hot longer than about 3-4 hours so far), and then use the cheaper lump during the day when I'm not so averse to being awake. I may attempt this next weekend.

Cheers,

Fadunk
05-15-2006 09:26 AM
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SmokinJoe Offline
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Post: #7
 
Fadunk,

You said that you got very little smoke...did you add wood chunks at all during your cook? Or did you just go with what the lump produced?

I bought a bag of the stuff, and when I saw the size of the chunks and realized I would only get about 4 in a chimney, I held off. But, this packer brisket is going to want to get cooked!

I'm thinking I might try a method I read about on the SmokeRing mailing list (great list, great people, and great information once in a while!). Remove the water pan from my WSM and cook at higher temps. Get that fat-in-the-fire flavor going on, as well.

-joe

Get your smoke on...
05-15-2006 09:40 AM
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Fadunk Offline
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Post: #8
 
SmokinJoe--

I noticed right away when I lit the charcoal that it was making lots of smoke. I wanted to make sure that I could rely on it to not destroy my ribs, so I didn't add meat or wood to the firebox until I could see that the lit lump didn't make too much smoke of its own. Only then did I add any wood.

Hope this helps make your decision--

Fadunk
05-15-2006 09:56 AM
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LT72884 Offline
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Post: #9
Re: Mesquite Charcoal at Standard Wood
Fadunk. i just bought some of this today. How do you know when it is fully lit? is the lump all covered in ash or just a lil bit. I went threw the entire bag and it was ALL chared pretty good. i want to try and get very little smoke since i will be using apple wood as my smoke agent

thanx
04-28-2009 11:27 PM
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sampson Offline
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Post: #10
 
SmokinJoe;p="613 Wrote:I picked up a bag of the same, but haven't been able to try it yet...

Hey Joe, does you picking up a bag at Standard mean that you're back in the SLC area???

Rockin' on two 22.5 WSM's, a GOSM gasser and missing them old drums...
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Biggest (pound for pound) BBQ Fan in Utah
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04-29-2009 08:14 AM
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Gene Offline
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Re: Mesquite Charcoal at Standard Wood
Fadunk, if it's sleep you treasure, get a Traeger. Big Grin I don't sleep the whole night thru any way let alone at a contest cook, but this makes it easier to catch a few ZZZZZZZZZ's in the mean time.
Gene

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Traeger Texas 075
04-29-2009 10:34 AM
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