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Charcoal and smoke ring

#1 User is offline   Matthew W. 

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 08:21 AM

I know the topic of smoke rings has been covered in a previous post, but just to make sure: is it okay to use a crumbled up charcoal briquet in your MES smoker? The previous post seemed to be mainly about propane smokers. The MES instructions say not to use charcoal but maybe it's okay for crumbled briquets?
Thanks, any help would be appreciated.
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#2 User is offline   shelly 

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 11:39 AM

View PostMatthew W., on Feb 24 2010, 05:21 AM, said:

I know the topic of smoke rings has been covered in a previous post, but just to make sure: is it okay to use a crumbled up charcoal briquet in your MES smoker? The previous post seemed to be mainly about propane smokers. The MES instructions say not to use charcoal but maybe it's okay for crumbled briquets?
Thanks, any help would be appreciated.


I'm not sure that a briquet would provide more smoke ring than some real wood.

Even with a long smoke in the MES, you will not get a significant smoke ring as you would using a wood fueled smoker.

But you will do no harm in using crumbled briquets as long as they fit within the wood tray smoke box.

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#3 User is offline   Tubby's Smokehouse 

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 12:41 PM

View PostMatthew W., on Feb 24 2010, 05:21 AM, said:

I know the topic of smoke rings has been covered in a previous post, but just to make sure: is it okay to use a crumbled up charcoal briquet in your MES smoker? The previous post seemed to be mainly about propane smokers. The MES instructions say not to use charcoal but maybe it's okay for crumbled briquets?
Thanks, any help would be appreciated.

Matt what I do too get a good pink ring out of my cook shack electric is put a pan of pre lite coals and some wood chunks in a pan and put those off to the side of my bottom rack it will provide a little more heat and the glowing coals will burn the wood nicely giving you more smoke, the problem I have with putting the coals in the tray is hot metal heating the chips doesn't provide smoke like wood sitting on burning coals. if your really slick you will put a metal grate half way into the bottom of the pan so as to let the ashes fall

The reason i found for not putting the coals in the wood tray is the coal turns to ash and extinguishes the wood.theres no where for the ashes to fall and the heating element is getting the metal hot covered with ash it doesn't work as well

My CS instructions say not to use coals either but doesn't say why not to...........

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#4 User is offline   Blacula 

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 07:35 AM

Using wood instead of coals is simply a matter of physics: charcoal is optimized (big fancy word for pre-burned) for less smoke and more longer lasting (and "cleaner") burning at the consumer level. If a good smoke ring is what you are after, it doesn't make sense to use something designed to produce less smoke. ;)
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#5 User is offline   Sink 

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 08:57 AM

I've used some lump charcoal in my MES... the last time I smoke actually. Didn't get a smoke ring that way either. What I read was the combustion gases created by the charcoal are needed for a smoke ring. Not sure I will do it again. It didn't hurt anyting by doing it but it didn't seem to really help anything either. Seems electric smokers and smoke ring aren't necessarily used in the same sentence.

Crumbled charcoal also seems to produce black sooty smoke. I just used small pieces of lump. I'm sure they don't want us to use it as it could create a fire inside the smoker or melt parts. I added my charcoal to the wood tube and let it start before I added the wood chips so the lump wouldn't get wet and not light. I always say, give it a try and see what you think!

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#6 User is offline   Blacula 

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 04:06 PM

Lump charcoal is pre-burned as well, so it has the same effect as briquettes but on a slightly less refined scale. I'm thinking regular wood coals such as mesquite or hickory, or even applewood would work best. Maybe even a hybrid of charcoal with chips or smaller logs kept at a constant temp for best results.

Then again, I haven't done much smoking in years either so I'm sure there's been great strides in progress since I was in the game ;)
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#7 User is offline   Sink 

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 05:41 PM

Here is a link to a pretty interesting discussion on the matter. What to believe?????
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#8 User is offline   Tubby's Smokehouse 

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 11:31 PM

View PostBlacula, on Jun 9 2010, 02:06 PM, said:

Then again, I haven't done much smoking in years either so I'm sure there's been great strides in progress since I was in the game ;)

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 10:49 AM

View PostSink, on Jun 9 2010, 06:41 PM, said:

Here is a link to a pretty interesting discussion on the matter. What to believe?????

Nice link. Though I started to get discombobulated. I'm not keen on arguments, and there was a bit too much "misinformation" accusations by those who would profess superior knowledge over the others. But still - lots of interesting facts. I agree/disagree with them.. :lol: And I also believe/disbelieve them also! ;) :lol:

Had fun reading it.. :P Thanks sinko! :P mikey
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#10 User is offline   go77377 

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 12:57 AM

I have always been puzzled as to not getting the smoke ring on a brisket in my Masterbuilt. Through internet research I discovered that by adding charcoal to the MES chip tray it would help. I used the cheaper brands, mainly because they were laying around at work vs Kingsford and I better luck with the cheap brands. I would put 2 in the tray and they was it, besides wood chips.

In the 2 pictures below, the picture with the vague smoke ring is by using the cheap charcoal. In the picture with the bigger smoke ring it was acquired by using Morton's Tender Quick, which produced the artificial smoke ring. I'm in Texas and so having a good smoke ring is like judging a book by it's cover.

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#11 User is offline   Tubby's Smokehouse 

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 02:01 AM

View Postgo77377, on Jul 11 2010, 10:57 PM, said:

I have always been puzzled as to not getting the smoke ring on a brisket in my Masterbuilt. Through internet research I discovered that by adding charcoal to the MES chip tray it would help. I used the cheaper brands, mainly because they were laying around at work vs Kingsford and I better luck with the cheap brands. I would put 2 in the tray and they was it, besides wood chips.

In the 2 pictures below, the picture with the vague smoke ring is by using the cheap charcoal. In the picture with the bigger smoke ring it was acquired by using Morton's Tender Quick, which produced the artificial smoke ring. I'm in Texas and so having a good smoke ring is like judging a book by it's cover.

Tender quick is cheating :lol: ;)
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#12 User is offline   go77377 

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Posted 13 July 2010 - 12:33 AM

View PostTubby's Smokehouse, on Jul 12 2010, 02:01 AM, said:

Tender quick is cheating :) ;)


The last time that I bought a brisket it didn't come with a rule book. I'm not a judge, I don't do BBQ cookoffs, I just enjoy good BBQ and it was a experiment on my part because I have heard of this tale tale method of achieving a smoke ring and I wanted to try it................... and to be honest with you, I probably couldn't buy a smoke ring if I cooked with 100% wood, lol
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#13 User is offline   Tubby's Smokehouse 

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Posted 13 July 2010 - 01:17 AM

View Postgo77377, on Jul 12 2010, 10:33 PM, said:

The last time that I bought a brisket it didn't come with a rule book. I'm not a judge, I don't do BBQ cookoffs, I just enjoy good BBQ and it was a experiment on my part because I have heard of this tale tale method of achieving a smoke ring and I wanted to try it................... and to be honest with you, I probably couldn't buy a smoke ring if I cooked with 100% wood, lol

You shure dont taste a smoke ring but the salt in the tender quick rings thorugh yer brisket :) ;) :P
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