Bad Kingsford?


 

J. Winn

TVWBB Fan
I bought a double pack of kingsford from Lowes when it was on sale a while ago; actually the first time Ive used Kingsford. Anyways Im not sure if it was a bad batch or what but I have really been put off by it. This is the first time I have used my mini WSM back here in the states. I was over in Australia for a while and made the mini WSM there. In Australia I used a brand called Redheads I think it was. I would load up the basket and get through a whole pork butt smoke and still have briquettes left after with not a ton of ash left at the end. During this smoke Im in the middle of now I have had to refill 4 times already, there is a ton of ash build up, and I have had trouble even getting up to 250*. It has been around 230 average I would say and thats with the Heatermeter wide open most of the time. I though Kingsford was suppose to be a go to brand. I have also used Royal Oak int he past in an offset and remember having much a much better experience with it as well. Im probably goingto try and take back the other bag and whats left of the open one(if there is any after this smoke) and get my money back. Any suggestions on what to try? Should I go with royal oak?

Edit: I just wanted to add the method I use. I fill the basket with unlit charcoal with a crater in the middle. I pour a mini chimney of lit in the crater and thats it. I also noticed that the kingsford seems to produce a lot more smoke than I am use to.
 
Last edited:

Rusty James

TVWBB Emerald Member
J Winn, you just described the same experience I had with regular Kingsford in my 18.5" WSM in 2015. I believe ash buildup choked the fire down somewhat, so I switched to Royal Oak, and it seems to produce less ash from my viewpoint. My only gripe with Royal Oak is the tar-like smell it produces when firing off. Doesn't seem like much of an issue with pork, but poultry is a different experience.

I just purchased 60 pounds of Kingsford, so I'll get to play with it some now that I have more experience under my belt.

For such a small smoker, you may want to try a premium charcoal if Royal Oak becomes a problem.
 
Last edited:

J. Winn

TVWBB Fan
Yeah I think this was my first and last Kingsford experience. Went through nearly a whole bag for one pork butt, in a small smoker.
 

Timothy F. Lewis

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
Something sounds "off" with the problem, I'm no expert but, on my 18 it's maybe ten pounds for a pretty big butt. From what I've heard here that kind of fuel consumption is pretty high, somone will offer a more experienced opinion.
 

J. Winn

TVWBB Fan
Also, I forgot to add, somewhere towards the middle/end of the cook I had to take it apart and dumb the ash becasue it had built up so much. I have never had to do this before with this cooker. I havent had it very long but have probably done about 5 butts on it now as well as about 10 or so racks of ribs and it has never behaved this way before. The only change is the charcoal.
 
Last edited:

Rusty James

TVWBB Emerald Member
Something sounds "off" with the problem. I'm no expert but, on my 18, it's maybe ten pounds for a pretty big butt. From what I've heard here that kind of fuel consumption is pretty high, someone will offer a more experienced opinion.

An 18.5" smoker ring holds right at 10 pounds of briquettes from my previous experiences. You say that amount is considered high consumption for a single butt, or am I reading you wrong?
 

Timothy F. Lewis

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
No, sorry, wasn't clear.
The OP says he recharged using almost a whole bag (18+ I presume). I had maybe 1/4 of useable (unburned) afterdoing a large butt. Rough guess on actual consumption for my butt cook, 6-7 lb.(8.5 hour cook) actually burned. Consumption for a 14 pound packer brisket roughly 14 lb.(14 hour cook)
Is that more clear?
Probably a little more specific.
 

ChadVKealey

TVWBB Pro
Just throwing this out there: the amount of fuel consumed is a function of the temperature of the cooker and the amount of time. The quantity of food being cooked is relevant only in the sense that you may need additional airflow to support the desired cooking temp if there is a LOT of meat in there. Weather conditions (particularly wind speed) play a not insignificant role as well.

On my 18.5", doing 2 or 3 butts over the course of about 14 hours, I'd use about 3/4 of an 18.6# bag of KBB. I'd cram the ring full to start (about half the bag), remove a dozen or so from the center to start, and place the smoke wood on top. After about 10 hours, I usually had to knock the ash off and add a couple shovelfuls (another 1/4 of the bag) to make it to the end.

Back to the OP question, Kingsford is (IMO) better known for value and consistency. Does it produce more ash than some others? Yes, but consistently more, so you know to expect that and can plan for it. Lump charcoal is probably the cleanest burning with the least amount of ash, but most "natural" lump charcoal is all over the place size-wise. If you can find lump briquettes (I think Royal Oak makes them, and probably a few others), then that might be your best bet in a small cooker. Lump also often burns a bit hotter and faster, but if you can get some that's at least consistently sized, you should be able to track how it's burning and know when to add more if needed.
 

Rich Dahl

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
I've had my mini for a couple of years now and I've done a ton of pork butts in it with KBB exclusively. I do it the exact way as you described using less than half a bag and never had a problem and only once did I have to add more fuel, but that was a 12+pound butt. The mini runs the required time which is usually 8-10 hours I shut it down when I'm done and almost every time I harvest a fair amount of unburned coals to use in the JJ.
You are correct about the ash build up and the ever popular white smoke on start up.
Can't add to what others have said about what you experienced, just seems really odd that you went through that much fuel.
 

 

Top