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In Reply to: charcoal- help! posted by paulsbbqpit on March 15, 2013 at 23:36:54:
Sometimes, I use a few match light charcoal briquets on the bottom of my charcoal chimney and put lump on top. I'll also put a single layer of briquets on the bottom of my charcoal grate then put lump charcoal over them. That is just to keep the lump charcoal from falling through.
With that said, I will say that I'm lazy. If you use briquets, most of them use binders of different sorts. The binders create a lot of residue. In an old 18 inch WSM if you use a lot of briquets you will have a lot of ash crap on the bottom of the WSM. You'll have to dump that stuff out. If you don't, I've heard that the chemicals in the ash will eat through the bottom of the WSM or turn to a concrete type substance if it gets wet. It hasn't happen to me but that is what I've heard.
Lump charcoal doesn't leave much ash. I've gone through several cooks without dumping lump ash.
At a contest, ash buildup isn't a problem. By the time it builds up the contest is over. The cook uses whatever he feels comfortable with.
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