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The trick is to smoke the meat and not make the meat smoke

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New Charcoal on the Block

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I recently tried a new charcoal out to see if it could be a replacement for my old standby Kingsford. As most of you probably know Kingsford recently changed their venerable charcoal. This “new and improved” New Kingsford is about as popular as New Coke was. I will leave it you to look for reviews of this product. Bad reviews are easy to find.

I auditioned a new charcoal this weekend. Duraflame Real Hardwood Briquets. This charcoal was recommended by Jim Minion, of Minion Method fame, on the message boards at the Barbecue Bible Website. Jim Minion also qualified his comments by saying his competition team was now sponsored by Duraflame. He liked this product better than even “classic” Kingsford. I was intrigued to say the least.

The first problem was getting my hands on some. I have seen Duraflame products in many stores around here, but never the Hardwood Charcoal. An email to Duraflame pointed me towards a supermarket in the next town over. It deserves to be more popular and I hope as people try it, there will be more sources.

The bag was an 18 pound (8 Kg) size and the packaging was somewhat more impressive than Kingsford. Instead of the heavy paper used on the Kingsford, these sported full color printing on a heavier coated paper. The paper would seem to be better suited to keeping the contents dry. The only annoyance was gaining access to the contents required a knife. I couldn’t tear the top strip off. The string was just too heavy duty and too tightly trussed.

The bag also states that this product is 100 percent natural. No chemical or mineral additives used. This might explain my observations and results compared to Kingsford. The briquettes were around the same size as Kingsford but they were noticeably lighter . This may be the lack of any kind of binder, which Kingsford uses. The bag also mentioned these guys burn hotter and longer. I’m always skeptical of these type of claims. This time though the claim was true.

I lit about 30 coals in my charcoal chimney and in 15 minutes they were much farther along than Kingsford would be. They were more than lightly ashed over they were fully lit and glowing. I poured them into the Side Firebox of my smoker and noted with a bit of dismay they produced many more glowing embers. Be doubly sure the area around your grill is free of leaves, pine needles and other combustibles. Once inside the SFB these coals brought the smoker up to temperature about 7 or 8 minutes faster than with Kingsford.

I found these charcoals to be a little fussier than Kingsford when trying to set the vents to hold 225. I over and undershot several times. This may just be my needing to learn the nuances of this product. Once I got the smoker to 225 110 C), it was amazing stable. I opened the cover to the SFB several times and noted that the fire had spread to less coals than the same time using Kingsford. For the brisket I made I usually end up using 2 full loads of charcoal with Kingsford. For this cook with Duraflame I got almost ninety minutes more time than with Kingsford and I simply topped off the baskets to finish the cook. This top off used about 1/4 the amount of coals I would have used filling the baskets a second time like I do with Kingsford. Plus nearly 2 hours after I pulled the meat the smoker was still at 225 (110 C). I don’t know how much longer than that it lasted as I went out. I returned to find about 2/3 the ash I’d get with Kingsford.

So after one run with Duraflame Real Hardwood Briquettes I’m impressed. Here are my Likes and Dislikes::


LIKES:
• Better Quality Packaging
  • Lights Faster
  • Burns Hotter-Use less coals
  • Burns Longer
  • Seems to be very stable once you reach desired temperature
  • Much Less Ash
  • Use Less Coals


DISLIKES:
• Hard to Find at least here in Eastern Massachusetts
  • Bags Harder to Open with your bare hands
  • More embers produced
  • May be a little fussier to lock in temps*

* This may just be a matter of my learning a new product.

Try some Duraflame Real Hardwood Briquette out. I think you’ll like it!!!


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