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Cowboy lump - learning to cook all over again

I've had my LBGE a bit over a year. The only lump I have used since the bag of BGE that I talked my dealer into including with the purchase has been Royal Oak which is readily available at Wally World and Menards. A few weeks ago, my local ACE had Cowboy on sale so I picked a couple of bags up to try it out. I finally got a chance to try it last night for our weekly Fri evening pizza cook. Here are my impressions...

First thing I noticed was Cowboy has HUGE chunks compared to RO. It appears to be made from a lot of branches vs wood that is chipped into chunks like RO. 

It took longer to get going. I use bacon grease soaked paper towels to light my Egg. It lit just as easily as RO, but it took a bit longer to come up to temp.

It was more stable than RO. Since this was a pizza cook, I light the lump, apply the plate setter, grid, and stone and close the dome. RO, once it gets going good, will send huge flames up around the plate setter. The flames will come up and lick the temp probe and give "false" readings. Closing the bottom vent just a hair will limit the flaming allowing the thermometer to give a more accurate indication of the real temp in there. Cowboy flamed, but just about perfectly. It would flame just slightly above the plate setter with both vents wide open.

Once things really started to roll (I try to hit 550 deg - seems perfect for my pizza recipe), I had a hard time keeping Cowboy under control compared to what I'm used to with RO. This stuff seemed to want to go nuclear on me. With RO, closing the bottom vent just a bit to limit the flaming I mentioned above seems to keep the temp stable at 500-600 which is where I want it. I did three pizzas last night and had my bottom vent closed down 2/3 of the way and she still wanted to run at 600+. The color of the lump was almost white it was burning so hot. I would hate to see what this stuff would burn at if I were to leave vents open and just let'er go. I was cooking these pizzas in a couple of min each to prevent crust from burning. They turned out with a tough crust on bottom and not crisp like we like them (thin crust).

Just some observations in case anyone is curious. I tend to think the larger lump allows much better air flow which results in it burning hotter than RO. I now know that I need to start closing things down a bit sooner to keep my temp where I want it using this stuff. 


  • henapplehenapple Posts: 15,986
    Nice review...
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • TakTak Posts: 115
    I bought some Cowboy Lump from Lowes and it has been lights with one paper towel and canola oil....I did an 15hr cook with it and the butts came out fine....I bought it because it was on sale for 10.00 for a 20lb bag...bought 3 of them....I could use Royal Oak or Cowboy....not much of difference once you get going with the cook....the one think I don't like is all the ash...leaves a lot of ash at the end of the cook....just my experience with it so far...
  • Medic72072Medic72072 Posts: 23
    Try Wicked Good natural lump charcoal.  It's the best I've used so far.  I was not impressed with Cowboy at all.  The Royal Oaks isn't too bad, but nothing compared to Wicked Good!
  • Great info and analysis....
    Simi Valley, California
    LBGE, PBC, Annova, SMOBot
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