What's happened to charcoal?

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What's happened to charcoal?

Postby TimC » Sun May 02, 2021 9:07 am

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I've been using a Dutch oven for about four years and have noticed a definite change in charcoal quality and size. I bought a 16# bag of Royal Oak charcoal last week for a trip. The briquettes light easy but by the time they are about half grey and ready to put in use the grey part disintegrates into dust. The briquettes are also maybe 2/3 the size of what I could buy several years ago. I've recently bought Kingsford charcoal and they stay intact when ready to use but the briquettes are also about 2/3 the size of previous bags I have bought.

Has anyone noticed this trend? What do you use? These smaller briquettes burn up faster. Are the Dutch oven chacoal temperature charts accurate? I have to add new charcoal three times to maintain a temperature for a 60+ minute bake. Used to just add a small number of briquettes once about halfway into the bake (depending on ambient temp and wind).

Tim
Last edited by TimC on Wed Jun 23, 2021 7:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What's happened to chacoal?

Postby bobhenry » Mon May 03, 2021 7:14 am

I have not strayed from Kingsford and have not noticed any change in their product. I do know that some of the producers add sand to the mix to get their weights up. So if there is a small but heavy bag. It has probably been doctored with this trick. I hope Kingsford get their 2 for one sale out soon I need to stock up and the twin packs at their holiday prices are a good deal.Gotta stock up. :D
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Re: What's happened to chacoal?

Postby TimC » Mon May 03, 2021 9:39 am

Thanks Bob. I only bought the Royal Oak as it was cheaper. I'll use it up (won't take long) and stick with Kingsford. Wally world used to carry a house brand that had large briquettes and lasted a good while. As is Wally's habit they went cheaper on the house brand and it doesn't perform very well now. Can't remember the actual name on the bag.

Kingsford charcoal started its business locally and though it no longer has ties to the area or Ford Mo Co I still think that I'll go back to their product.

Tim
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Re: What's happened to chacoal?

Postby Tom&Shelly » Mon May 03, 2021 5:41 pm

Evidently, Kingsford changed their product at some time in the recent past. (Didn't seem to reduce the briquette size in this change.) Interesting, but undated, tests:

http://www.nakedwhiz.com/productreviews ... ordnew.htm

The testers' claim is that the briquettes now burn hotter.

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Re: What's happened to chacoal?

Postby TimC » Mon May 03, 2021 6:29 pm

That is interesting Tom.

I am probably comparing the Kingsford to the Wally World house brand of a couple years ago. Those were definitely larger and I would only have to start six or eight additional briquettes and add them to the Dutch oven at about 30 minutes into an hour bake. With the Royal Oak the first batch was almost completely dust at twenty minutes into the bake so I filled the charcoal chimney full and started another batch. A third batch was needed before 50 minutes into the bake. Dutch oven cooking is fun but having to start and use that much fuel every time will get old.

In addition I was unsure of the number of RO briquettes to use to maintain a 350 degree temperature. I used to double the size of the oven (10" = 20 Briquettes) and put six or seven under and the rest on the lid. That will never cut it with the Royal Oak brand. After realizing the first batch of charcoal was burning up quick and not quite hot enough I used around 30 briquettes the second and third round.

The pumpkin pie was delicious regardless. Of course everything tastes better at camp.

Tim
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Re: What's happened to chacoal?

Postby bobhenry » Wed May 05, 2021 4:25 am

TimC wrote:Thanks Bob. I only bought the Royal Oak as it was cheaper.
Tim



Reminds me of Grandpa.....

He often said that good fresh, clean oats demanded a fair price.... If you waited until they came out of the horse they were cheaper...... :rofl2:
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Re: What's happened to chacoal?

Postby TimC » Wed May 05, 2021 6:23 am

bobhenry wrote:Reminds me of Grandpa.....

He often said that good fresh, clean oats demanded a fair price.... If you waited until they came out of the horse they were cheaper...... :rofl2:


:lol:
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Re: What's happened to chacoal?

Postby dbhosttexas » Tue Jun 22, 2021 5:46 pm

So it's not my imagination? I was thinking my head was malfunctioning an I was hallucenating that..

Seriously though. The Wally World house brand is called "Expert Grill" and they seem to be simply rebranded Royal Oak. The briquettes are the same size, shape, burn characteristics, and followed suit this year with the garbage quality on them. Yes by the time they ash over and are burning coals, they are done. Frustrating...

Kingsford isn't much better this year.

I don't remember the brand offhand, but there is some in a red bag that advertises something like XL Briquettes, typically find them tucked in the back corner at wally world and my local grocery store BBQ aisle. The briquettes are typically the size of a tennis ball and have good burn time, and don't burn out too hot.

If anyone knows what I am talking about PLEASE post the name of the stuff...

I want to practice using actual coals from the campfire but getting temps right is trickier...
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Re: What's happened to chacoal?

Postby Squigie » Wed Jun 23, 2021 12:18 pm

I have been quite disappointed in 'plain Jane' Kingsford for the last two years. Terrible burn quality, short burn time, and an incredible amount of ash.
It is good to see that I am not alone.

I have another 20-24 lb bag here. Once it is gone, I'll be going to something else for controlled heat and lump for general heat and grilling.
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Re: What's happened to chacoal?

Postby working on it » Wed Jun 23, 2021 2:56 pm

TimC wrote:...Kingsford charcoal started its business locally and though it no longer has ties to the area or Ford Mo Co I still think that I'll go back to their product. Tim


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As long as it's USA-made, I will continue to use Kingsford, despite their Ford origins (I've always been a mostly GM-fan with 15, and only had one Ford (my mistake)...and 3 Mopars, 4 VW's,a Nissan,a Volvo, and a BMW).
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Re: What's happened to chacoal?

Postby Tom&Shelly » Wed Jun 23, 2021 3:50 pm

working on it wrote:As long as it's USA-made, I will continue to use Kingsford, despite their Ford origins (I've always been a mostly GM-fan with 15, and only had one Ford (my mistake)...and 3 Mopars, 4 VW's,a Nissan,a Volvo, and a BMW).


My first car was a hand-me-down Ford Pinto. It had an engine fire one day and became charcoal.

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Re: What's happened to charcoal?

Postby TimC » Wed Jun 23, 2021 7:49 pm

Haha...

I've been a Ford fan most of my adult life. I became more fond of them when GM and Chrysler (or whatever they are called now) had their hand out for bailout funds in 2008 and Ford said Thanks but no thanks. We've run our business responsibly so no need for a government bailout.

I've had GM lemons and Mopar lemons but have had few problems with Ford vehicles I've owned.

I don't know all the history of Kingsford but do know that during the war years Ford was producing charcoal at the Kingsford, MI woodie plant which produced the panels for the Flivver. During the war effort Ford converted their plant to producing gliders which took many of the greatest generation into the fight in Europe. Eventually Ford phased out panel production for woodies and the Kingsford company began using their old facility to produce briquettes. Like Ford they out sourced production to other areas after a few years.
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My First Benroy Teardrop Build Thread - A 5x8 Woodie - http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=63575
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#3 My son's Benroy Foamie team build - Started July '20 - http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=72877

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Re: What's happened to charcoal?

Postby bictonboys » Mon Jan 03, 2022 12:25 pm

Makes a lot of difference what timber you start off with-sounds like they may be using a soft wood. River alder is a good one to start with here in the UK-seen some great charcoal made with this.
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Re: What's happened to charcoal?

Postby gudmund » Mon Jan 03, 2022 10:07 pm

Kingsford was a brother-in-law to Henry Ford who set him up in business utilizing the wood waste leftover.
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Re: What's happened to charcoal?

Postby The Teardrop Nanny » Thu Apr 21, 2022 9:51 am

You bet we've noticed a change in charcoal!

:thumbsup: Kingsford has been the brand we've used for decades, and still do, as it is the most reliably calibrated per briquettte that we have found. Dean does NOT like to use their "Competition" ones as they do tend to burn up too quickly especially when going for multiple coal changes for longer cook times.

This last Sunday (Easter),we had a BBQ with friends who asked us to do the cooking due to their inexperience with charcoal cooking. Our host had purchased some Winco (large supermarket) ones to use and they were terrible. We already knew this and told him so. Luckily we had brought our own Kingsford so we did a side by side chimney test. The Winco ones got grey but did not have the heat that they should have while they slowly turned to grey ash. Ours were ready as anticipated so we used them to do rib eye steaks and ribs -- yes, it was a non-traditional Easter meal for us. Our friend said he had always wondered why he could never seem to get his coals right to BBQ, and we assured him he would do better if he used another brand like ours. Also, be sure to store them in a dry place. We are in a high humidity area (Fog) and the dampness can seep into bags when stored outside in a garage or patio, effecting the burn.

Over the years we have tried different brands but always gravitate back to the Kingsford. You'll see the bag in our webisode background occasionally ( no, they are not sponsors ) and we try to use products we know will consistently work for our viewers. The commercial coal counts are easiest for newbies to go by, and I rely on the baking temperature chart for Dutch Oven Cooking by Lodge Cast Iron. Because we live in such a rural area, we use what works for us. Burning your own wood and using those "briquettes" is a great and less expensive way to go if you can do this, but those lumps that come in a bag are really the easiest for most folks.....IMHO.

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