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Ammonia smell from Wicked Good

aoaaoa Posts: 7
edited 5:14PM in EggHead Forum
I've gone through about 8 bags of WGC and it pretty consistantly gives off ammonia smell. I'm pretty sure i let it burn long enough before cooking:

I light the grill, bringing to 375*, wait 45 mins to an hour. Put baked potatos on for an hour, then finish steaks at sear temps (~550*).

I can detect this smell even after burning for 2 hours. I try to load enough lump to get me through all this w/o loading too much.

Never had the happen with the BGE lump coal


  • EggNeatoEggNeato Posts: 19
    I purchased my first two bags of Wicked Good recently and noticed the same thing. I'm curious to hear what others have to say as well. Just wondering if this is normal.
  • EggNeatoEggNeato Posts: 19
  • WWSisWWSis Posts: 1,448
    Yikes! :sick: I have used wicked almost exclusively for two years and never smelled it.
  • mikenmarmikenmar Posts: 32
    What kind of WGC you using, Weekend Warrior or Competition Blend?

    I'm using Weekend Warrior, haven't noticed an ammonia smell yet.
  • ShwiezzeeShwiezzee Posts: 304
    WG has always been good. l my last bag around New Years was horrible! :sick: So bad I talked to I think his name was LEE?? @ WG. (one of the owners) Once they get it figured out I'd buy more.

    I'm ashamed of what I did for a Klondike Bar.
  • EggNeatoEggNeato Posts: 19
    I'm using the Weekend Warrior blend.
  • aoaaoa Posts: 7
    I'm using weekend warrior
  • aoaaoa Posts: 7
    My first 2 bags that I tried, burned clean and left a very light white ash. The latest bags leave almost a greasy black ash inside the egg
  • 2Fategghead2Fategghead Posts: 9,623
    I bought 12 22 pound bags of WG WW this past winter and have no problems. I really like the long burning lump. I have never noticed a bad odor.
  • danshotspotdanshotspot Posts: 10
    I've been wanting to try wicked good but maybe I don't now! I have run into the same thing with royal oak and other brands that look like scrap cut lumber. You can tell by the squared uniform shapes. I think it may have been treated in the lumber process before cut to scrap and charred. Best I have found is True Que from Home Depot. It is real charred hard wood logs!
  • 2Fategghead2Fategghead Posts: 9,623
    Buy a bag of wicked good and see for yourself. ;)

    Let the bad smell burn off it don't take long.

    Just my thoughts and opinion. Tim :)
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    there's no treated lumber in that stuff. no nails, no ripped-out-of-an-old-house-flooring, no prefinished stuff being surreptitiously foisted on unsuspecting backyard gillers

    it's scrap S4S lumber, culled flooring. stuff with knots, or too short to be useable. mill scrap. instead of being tossed away in a landfill, it's used for charcoal.

    instead of an evil conspiracy, it's using wood that might otherwise go to waste
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    true, tim.

    ammonia is in all charcoal. more dense charcoal means it takes longer to burn off.

    no need to fill to the top of the fire box (or above) with the real dense stuff. that would shorten the time required for the VOCs to be driven off
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • aoaaoa Posts: 7
    Just to clarify, i get the smell even after all the lump has turned white and has been burning for hours. I f i let the smell *burn off* there won't be any left to cook with. I'll call the factory and see if i can get an explanation, as i don't want to disparage what has been a favorite among many.

    This has obviously happened to a few folks so perhaps a bad batch...
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    well. how much are you using? i fill with cowboy or royal oak pretty high, but with the real densestuff, i don't fill as much. light lump will lose the VOCspretty quickly, even the unburnt stuff (heat and the draft drive out and carry off the VOCs).

    but with real dense stuff, if you have unburnt lump in excess, it won't give up the VOCs as readily. so your lump might be burning white (and that's free of the smell), but the other stuff is giving it up sparingly.

    are you filling it very much?

    the ammonia smell isn't articifical (it didn't get ammonia spilled on it, for example). so it's not a 'bad batch' per se. Maybe some species produce more? no idea.

    contact WGC, they are great. this is a question they have heard before. but it's not just them, the smell is apparent in all charcoal, just not very much, or for long. i think it is a density issue, which might be alleviated by using less (using only what you need to cook on, rather than overfilling, which is what i do with other lump).
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • 2Fategghead2Fategghead Posts: 9,623

    I'm not trying to say aoa don't know what their talking about. I'm not there to see how he is lighting and...I am just telling you and showing you what I do and have experienced. Tim

    Yesterday I opened this 22 pound bag and took some of the big pieces off the top and returned the used burned lump on top to light and let the voc's burn off approx 30 min's. Then when I wave my hand over the dome it don't smell bad any more. ;)
    I pretty much do the same for any other lump I use. I light and wait for the bad smell to go away as well as get my egg temp stable.

    Here I cut open my partial bag of WG WW and poured out the contents. No dimensional looking chunks of wood in here. In fact I have pulled out a lot bigger chunks of trees in the past. :)

    I will say this stuff is hard to light but, what I do is open a bag of Royal Oak at the same time and put the bug chunks of WG in the bottom and pour some easier to light over the top. It works great for me. ;)


  • aoaaoa Posts: 7
    I finally bought a pallet of Royal Oak as they had it on sale at the local Walmart. I was going to extreme measures to get the WGC (paying someone to bring it 80 miles for me whenever they happened to go that way, that's how much i originally liked it). Just to clarify-smell would never burn off. I added no other product to light it (newspaper, etc), i adjusted the amount in the firebox to what i thought the cook session would need, and cleaned the ash box out often. I've used a bunch of different lump over the 6 years i've had my egg, without this issue. If they had a local dealer i would be tempted to try it again as long as i had a guarantee.
  • Rooster KRooster K Posts: 416
    I had one bad bag of WG. I had it give off an ammonia smell after it had been at 500 for an hour and that was the second cook on that load of lump. I could not get a good clean burn. I am using a bag now and have not had any problems .
  • jaydub58jaydub58 Posts: 2,130
    Per Stike, I just use Royal Oak from Wally World or Cowboy from Home Depot. Doesn't seem to take a long time to burn off the VOCs and sure works well. I don't plan to try anything else.

    John in the Willamette Valley of Oregon
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