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Anyone Making Their Own Charcoal?

haikuhaiku Posts: 39
edited 9:46AM in EggHead Forum
We haven't tried to make charcoal yet but are planning to do so. It will be mostly my husbands project, my participation will be encouragement and tracking down supplies/equipment. My current assignment is to source a 35 gallon metal drum. 55 gallon metal drums are easy peazy ... but, nope, need 35 gallon drum :unsure:

If anyone active on the forum has experienced making their own charcoal it would be fun to share the experience.


  • At six bucks a bag for lump IMHO it would better be left to the people set up for that dirt time consuming task.
  • MickeyMickey Posts: 18,738
    Margie if God had intended us to make charcoal he would not have installed Walmarts and BBQ Outfitters :pinch:
    Salado TX Egg Family: 3 Large and a very well used Mini, added a Mini Max (I'm good for now). 

  • haikuhaiku Posts: 39
    come on guys ... people don't go fishing to save money or because it is more convenient B) I make soap, my husband makes beer, guitars and amplifiers --- we obviously enjoy doing things the hardest way possible!

    And we lost a couple of majestic live oak trees to oak wilt :( So we have the raw materials to use for the science experiment.

    (but I do appreciate your logic on the subject!)
  • eenie meenieeenie meenie Posts: 4,393
    Have fun Margie......I can't wait to see the pics from this adventure! :lol:
  • ChubbyChubby Posts: 2,956
    I think just about anyone who's tried it will say it's just waaaay more trouble than it's worth!

    Maybe you could sell the wood off as firewood instead?

    Fred (over at BBQ Guru) also was doing some experimenting with "home brew charcoal" as might try their Website to see if anything ever came of it.

    I spent most of my money on good bourbon, and bad women...the rest, I just wasted!!
  • dubahdubah Posts: 60
    I've done it a couple of time, using both the 35 an 55 gallon drums. The smaller, inside the larger, with the smaller elevated to have a ripping fire under it. After about 10 hrs, sealed up the smaller can and waited. The lump was pretty light-weight, but that was probably b/c the "hardwood" I used may not have been so "hard"?
    It was a fun project for both my 12 y.o. son and me. He loved tending the fire.
    I would do it again, just for the fun of it, but it wasn't a huge cost saving. Burned a lot of wood to keep the fire going.
    I found instructions on the web, not sure where though.
    Good luck, enjoy, Larry
  • Woody69Woody69 Posts: 360
    Fire Walker wrote:
    At six bucks a bag for lump IMHO it would better be left to the people set up for that dirt time consuming task.

    My thoughts exactly. :)
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 23,002
    no need for a drum, just dig a pit. its easypeasy, just takes 30 days or so ;) i read an old article once about it, a lump maker was called a raggy in newengland, you didnt want your daughter dating a raggy :laugh:
  • haikuhaiku Posts: 39
    Larry, my husband has me looking for a 35 gal barrel (we have 55 gal barrels) so I suspect he is planning to use method similar to yours. Finding a used 35 gal barrel looks like a challenge.
  • haikuhaiku Posts: 39
    DIG a pit, don't think so ... THAT sounds like WORK:)
  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 28,817

    Bubba Tim has made it in the egg. Get the hardwood burning really good and shut down the vents.



    Caledon, ON


  • eenie meenieeenie meenie Posts: 4,393
    Margie, you got the instructions all wrong. You shouldn't dig a pit. Your husband should dig the pit.
  • Little ChefLittle Chef Posts: 4,725
    Yep!! And the last time he did it, I think half the neighborhood came by because they thought the house was burning down!! :blink: :laugh:
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 23,002
    you can do it in an above ground mound too, you just risk falling in when fixing the earthen cover
  • Little ChefLittle Chef Posts: 4,725
    haiku: I will show your post to Bubba Tim when he gets home from the office. He has made lump several times, but honestly, I didn't pay attention to the exact method. And he does it right in the egg. I will have him post the method for you. (should be about 6pm ET or so) Little Steven is correct, I know he lets the wood burn, then shuts everything down, but I know there is more to it, as far as timing and smoke appearance, etc... :)
    Oh...and I DO know...if you want to tick a particular neighbor off, wait for a day when the wind is blowing in their direction! :blush: (It does put off a LOT of smoke!) :)
  • ranger rayranger ray Posts: 812
    those 35 gal drums are hard to acquire!..... i've been promised by local mechanics to save one for me but have yet to see one!.....rr
  • ranger rayranger ray Posts: 812
    if the president has his way..... we'll all be making charcoal....
  • snake701uksnake701uk Posts: 187
    Hi Margie, You have found a partner if you want one. I live in Italy and nobody here knows what a lump charcoal is (nor do I)! Let alone go and by 20Lbs down the road for a few dollars. I have already had some good help on this site (thanks again), but have also been told here to do it underground (earth). I have wood, hardwood, a field, a digger if needed, friends (they are paid by beer can chicken on my large BGE, they will work all day if included some good vino). I have no nextdoors to bother and the bottom line is that I need some decent fuel for my egg. Any other serious answers would be welcome.
    Possibly we cold start something a bit more serious here. Andy
  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 28,817

    He neglected to mention that :laugh:



    Caledon, ON


  • RipnemRipnem Posts: 5,511
    Lump makin Larry,

    I'll never forget when you approached Molly and I last year. "Wanna see my lump?" :ohmy: :laugh: and if you didn't know, it was what was burned, to christen, her new mini at the after party. Too bad you didn't hang with us that night, total riot with a great group.

    How's your first year with the egg been?
  • MaineggMainegg Posts: 7,787
    When it comes to Lump he is all knowing!!
  • Hungry JoeHungry Joe Posts: 1,540
    I also thought about making it at one point but after looking into it I did not see it as getting the same type of benefit as you get from making things like homemade beer and homemade soap. I would try to sell the firewood from the tree and buy some charcoal if you can't use the tree as fuel for a fireplace or wood stove.

    But since you like doing that type of thing here is a guide to making it :
  • Hungry JoeHungry Joe Posts: 1,540
    Opps, didn't see your post before I posted. Good link.
  • Gator Bait Gator Bait Posts: 5,244
    Hey fishlessman

    A collier can also be someone who makes charcoal.

    I never heard raggy, cool.


  • haikuhaiku Posts: 39
    Thank you, Ma'am! I made the Naked Whiz my BGE week end homework assignment (for all BGE in general) and did not see this link ... I did see his Lump Charcoal Database but not this How To. Thanks again!

    Hey, ANDY, let's try this method together ... wanna?
  • bubba timbubba tim Posts: 3,216
    The correct way to make lump is to have a heat source heat up your 55 gal drum (or other vessel) to cook off the your raw wood that is inside. However, our HOA would have my a$$ if I would rig up such a device. I have been meaning to post my method for making lump in the BGE with pics, but I have not had time. I will try and tell you how to do it. I know this is not the most efficient way but I sometimes want mesquite lump. I go to Home depot and get thier 3/4 cubic ft bag of chunk messquite. After a cook, with lit lump, I will throw all the raw chunks into the egg. Take off the DFMT and open the bottom vent wide open. You will need to have moved your egg away from your home/car because you with be putting off TONS of brownish smoke. The large egg that I use does not have a gasket. If you try this, I guarantee YOU WILL LOSE your gasket. After about an hour, you should get a swoosh sound and the smoke stops. Once there is no smoke, close the vent and put on the weather cap to starve the flames out. I wait until the next morning to harvest my lump. You may get some chunks that were not fully carbonized. I just separate them and use them for extra "flavor" in my next mesquite cook. Hopes this helps. :woohoo: :woohoo: :woohoo:

    ps. It does kill off all the skeeters in the hood!
    SEE YOU IN FLORIDA, March 14th and 15th 2014 You must master temp, smoke, and time to achive moisture, taste, and texture! Visit for BRISKET HELP
  • eenie meenieeenie meenie Posts: 4,393
    Brother Bubba, do we get to see a lump making demo at the mini fest? :whistle:

    We could set up an egg right outside of Pat's room. :evil:
  • FlaPoolmanFlaPoolman Posts: 11,675
    Hey now :angry: your gonna get tossed in the pool for sure :evil: maybe from the third floor :whistle:
  • eenie meenieeenie meenie Posts: 4,393
    OK Pat. If you insist, we'll set up near someone else's room. Any suggestions?
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