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Charcoal spark observation.

Hey all,

I am sure everyone has had the occasional lump charcoal that seemed extra sparky?  I assumed it was because I was using a lower price brand, Best of the West, at the time, but today (and yesterday) I noticed it with Wicked Good Weekend Warrior.  I have observed one thing about most of the times this has happened - the specific piece of lump was shiny instead of dull. 

Yesterday, I was cooking a few chicken breasts, I waited until the exhaust was clear smoke, and put the chicken on.  After I had the chicken on for a bit, I started to notice a lot of sparkage, and the smoke went white again.  When I went to check the temperature on the chicken I noticed a layer of soot was now on the chicken.  I thought maybe it was my platesetter being particularly dirty; I cleaned the platesetter at 600 for about 30 minutes. 

Today I was cooking a tri tip and the fire was still especially sparking, and popping, I figured it would burn out a bit.  I then removed the piece of shiny lump that I noticed yesterday, the sparking stopped instantly.  I am writing this to let people know if you see an shiny piece of lump and then once you start the fire it is popping and cracking - consider removing the shiny piece of lump.
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Comments

  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 14,055
    I have a working theory that it's related to moisture in the lump - because when I relight burnt lump (usually dry), it doesn't spark as much.  The virgin (unburned) lump seems to spark more.  Maybe there's sparking in all lump, but it only happens once.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr., smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

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  • SkiddymarkerSkiddymarker Posts: 6,863
    edited December 2012
    You might be on to something Nola, I think is is actually the type of wood, which may contain more moisture. Lump companies like WG, BGE, RO etc... try and limit the amount of non-acceptable wood and other crap, but making lump is not rocket science and some junk ends up in the bag. I think the shiny wood @BYS1981 refers to is wood that has not been carbonized like the non-shiny stuff, some hemlock (when dry so hard you can't drive a nail into it and still full of pitch) or even some pressure treated stuff. It might have more resin or God knows what in it, hence the sparking and "soot". 

    I've never noticed any very "shiny" stuff, I use mostly RO. Great observation, and obviously if the shiny stuff adversely affects food taste, it is easy to remove it. 
    Delta B.C. - Vee-Gan: old Indian word for poor hunter. 
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  • BYS1981BYS1981 Posts: 1,878
    Skiddy, I haven't seen any shiny pieces in RO, but if you do see some now - you know my hypothesis.  haha!

    Nola, my theory with the lump doesn't involve moisture, but that very well can be a contributor.  The piece of lump I used this time was about the size of my fist and it didn't burn all the way out.  I think the reason the fire sparked each time is because this particular piece of lump was still in the firebox, and I think if the piece had been burned completely it would have stopped. 

    I have seen sparking, but never this bad, I mean the sparks were coming out the top of the egg when the egg was shut.  I wish I would have took a picture of the lump it was covered in ash, lol.
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  • @BYS1981 - what we have here is a flammable "moon rock". 
    Delta B.C. - Vee-Gan: old Indian word for poor hunter. 
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  • I doan notice the sparks (maybe I have them) cause I just rake up a bunch of leeves, then trhow my brickets on top, and I set em on fire with some paint thiner an then stick the leef blower in the hole on top.  You shouda seen my dog boudreaux trip out cause he as sleepin rite in front the other hole!
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  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 14,055

    I doan notice the sparks (maybe I have them) cause I just rake up a bunch of leeves, then trhow my brickets on top, and I set em on fire with some paint thiner an then stick the leef blower in the hole on top.  You shouda seen my dog boudreaux trip out cause he as sleepin rite in front the other hole!
    You should use gasoline and put the leaf blower on the bottom hole.  Keep Boudreaux safe.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr., smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

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  • Nah. Gas goes up too quick. Diesel

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

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  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 14,055
    Nah. Gas goes up too quick. Diesel
    Cost a little more per gallon, but I stand corrected.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr., smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

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  • It's hard to get going. I use a mapp torch

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

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  • MickeyMickey Posts: 16,277

    How is this?

     

    image
    Salado TX Egg Family: 2 Large and a very well used Mini, just added a Mini Max (I'm good for now). 

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  • BigWaderBigWader Posts: 587
    Mickey said:

    How is this?

     

    image
    Beautiful - brings a tear to my eye
    :-O

     

    Large BGE

     

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  • Mickey - you are a dangerous man (or a Bessemer operator who lost his way).......

    Gloves goggles and fire suit, check!
    Delta B.C. - Vee-Gan: old Indian word for poor hunter. 
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  • BYS1981BYS1981 Posts: 1,878
    lol my sparks weren't quite as high as that picture, but it was to the point my wife was extra concerned.
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  • I only get sparks when I light with a heat gun.
    Mark Annville, PA
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