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Cooking & Food Talk => Charcoal Grilling & BBQ => Topic started by: shellkamp on October 21, 2020, 02:30:23 PM

Title: "How much" charcoal to use
Post by: shellkamp on October 21, 2020, 02:30:23 PM
New member here, just threw my old gas grill away and bought a new 22" performer deluxe a week or so ago.

I've had a Weber before but this time around I'm looking to hone my grilling craft.

I am aware of the different techniques as far as dual zone/3 zone/snake/ ring of fire type stuff and understand there purpose.

What i would like to know is if there's a sort of "primer" available on the amount of charcoal to use to get to and maintain a certain temperature. I thought I saw someone here had an old Weber cookbook that listed the amount of coals needed for different types of meat/poultry but I can't seem to find anything too informative online.

If there's not, I'm happy to waste some coals and experiment.

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Title: Re: "How much" charcoal to use
Post by: michaelmilitello on October 21, 2020, 02:35:33 PM
Welcome!  If you own a chimney, I would say most of us measure our charcoal with it.   A full chimney of lit coals is probably 80 or so briquettes. 


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Title: "How much" charcoal to use
Post by: bbqking01 on October 21, 2020, 02:38:26 PM
The way I do it, is kinda hot and fast. I almost always do indirect, coals on each side, drip pan in the middle. Approx 20-25 coals on each side of the drip pan. I think if your looking for specific temp, I think playing with the vents can work. Iím sure there are many other methods and advice, thatís just what I do. I leave both vents open too.


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Title: Re: "How much" charcoal to use
Post by: sonofabutcher on October 21, 2020, 03:05:02 PM

For lower temp  cooks I set up the minion method and light 10 briquettes and add them to one end of the unlit with vents 1/4 open top and bottom.

For higher temp cooks like  smoking chicken where I want 300-325 Iíll light 12-15 briquettes and set vents at 1/2 top and bottom.

Grilling is a full lit chimney with vents open.



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Title: Re: "How much" charcoal to use
Post by: P0234 on October 21, 2020, 05:06:03 PM
How much doesnít really matter for temperature, it does matter for duration of the burn. At least with the lid on. Airflow is the limiting factor and itís almost impossible to get much over 450 across the grate. A full chimney will keep that temp for about an hour before dropping down.

For low and slow, snake method works really well for me. For high heat, load up with lots of charcoal, you can always snuff out the fire and reuse the leftovers.
Title: Re: "How much" charcoal to use
Post by: shellkamp on October 21, 2020, 06:46:58 PM
Thanks for all the replies. I do not have a chimney at the moment. I got rid of it when I got rid of my first charcoal grill. I will pick another one up soon but my first few cooks with this thing I just filled the charcoal baskets that came with it and propane-assisted them.

 I decided to start experimenting.

One charcoal basket filled with 20 briquettes was able to maintain a temperature of 250- 279 degrees for approximately 45 minutes before it started losing temperature. I  threw a couple of unlit briquettes in the basket as soon as I saw the temperature start to go down but the remaining charcoal was unable to light it in time to help bring the temperature back up and it continued to drift below 250.

So 20 briquettes, by themselves, will likely net me about an hour of 250+ degree temps, and in order to maintain that, I should be adding the additional charcoal further ahead of time.

Tomorrow night I'll try and see what 40 briquettes get me, then 60 and 80.

Then I'll experiment with snakes.

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Title: Re: "How much" charcoal to use
Post by: Dc_smoke309 on October 22, 2020, 03:08:10 AM

Thanks for all the replies. I do not have a chimney at the moment. I got rid of it when I got rid of my first charcoal grill. I will pick another one up soon but my first few cooks with this thing I just filled the charcoal baskets that came with it and propane-assisted them.

 I decided to start experimenting.

One charcoal basket filled with 20 briquettes was able to maintain a temperature of 250- 279 degrees for approximately 45 minutes before it started losing temperature. I  threw a couple of unlit briquettes in the basket as soon as I saw the temperature start to go down but the remaining charcoal was unable to light it in time to help bring the temperature back up and it continued to drift below 250.

So 20 briquettes, by themselves, will likely net me about an hour of 250+ degree temps, and in order to maintain that, I should be adding the additional charcoal further ahead of time.

Tomorrow night I'll try and see what 40 briquettes get me, then 60 and 80.

Then I'll experiment with snakes.

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Snake is a wonderful way to do low and slow for hours. This is my go to. And please ... get a charcoal chimney. U will sleep better at night ! Lol


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Title: Re: "How much" charcoal to use
Post by: Stoneage on October 22, 2020, 08:24:29 AM
I found this on p8 of the Master Touch's Users (NOT assembly) guide. Its on the Weber site as a .PDF
(https://i.imgur.com/kEkR9Xs.jpg)

F.Y.I a "cup" is not a normal cup, but a now discontinued accessory that used to come with these grills, but is now discontinued. Its basically the same size as the inside of the ash catcher.
Or so I'm told, if anyone has a better description I'm all ears.
Title: Re: "How much" charcoal to use
Post by: Kneab on October 22, 2020, 09:12:08 AM
I like that they have the quantity of the Weber briquettes and regular. The Weber are definitely bigger than most.
Here are a few pictures of the cup that comes with a Summit. I think it is the same as the discontinued one. Two cups fills a large Weber chimney and 1 cup will fill a charcoal basket. I feel 1 full chimney is sufficient for most direct cooks in the 1-1.5hr range.

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Title: Re: "How much" charcoal to use
Post by: Stoneage on October 22, 2020, 01:23:02 PM
Thanks, thats helpful.
I'm thinking a large(ish) pet food scoop might stand i well.
Title: Re: "How much" charcoal to use
Post by: MadGasser on October 23, 2020, 02:06:11 PM
If I were you I would but a charcoal chimney and grill a bunch using direct heat to get a feel for the way fire cooks food. I definitely wouldn't waste charcoal experimenting. I gotta eat?

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Title: Re: "How much" charcoal to use
Post by: HoosierKettle on October 23, 2020, 02:36:51 PM

If I were you I would but a charcoal chimney and grill a bunch using direct heat to get a feel for the way fire cooks food. I definitely wouldn't waste charcoal experimenting. I gotta eat?

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+1


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Title: Re: "How much" charcoal to use
Post by: shellkamp on October 24, 2020, 08:45:36 AM
I picked up a chimney and some hardwood lump charcoal. Tonight I'm going to do a beer-can chicken with the ring of fire technique. I also picked up some Ribeyes,  pork tenderloins and a small rack of lamb to experiment with.

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Title: Re: "How much" charcoal to use
Post by: Smoke5 on October 24, 2020, 10:40:40 AM
For my performer deluxe, I fill up the slow n sear and close all vents when done which saves unused charcoal.
Next time, top it off and repeat as necessary.
Title: Re: "How much" charcoal to use
Post by: shellkamp on October 24, 2020, 12:09:35 PM
For my performer deluxe, I fill up the slow n sear and close all vents when done which saves unused charcoal.
Next time, top it off and repeat as necessary.
So you're essentially just cooking at the same temperature any given cook? Or are you able to meaningfully adjust temps based on the vents position?

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Title: Re: "How much" charcoal to use
Post by: shellkamp on October 24, 2020, 12:45:10 PM
First beer can chicken (https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20201024/018b3d70eb4bff5e5d6c7c45d5000d98.jpg)

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Title: Re: "How much" charcoal to use
Post by: shellkamp on October 24, 2020, 02:22:14 PM
Thighs were 40 degrees higher than the breasts for most of the cook. Once thighs got to 165 I shut the bottom vents and let the breasts catch up but the skin never got crispy.

Pulled off the grill when thighs were at 173 and breasts were at 155 (it was already over 145 degrees for 20 minutes)and threw it in the oven under the broiler to crisp up the skin.

I guess next time I will use more charcoal and pile it up higher. I used a chimney full of hardwood lump.(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20201024/c0bcabbaa9222cc0b4b12e0421922a7f.jpg)(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20201024/5fd505040d7229983eeaf2f53ba716b5.jpg)

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Title: Re: "How much" charcoal to use
Post by: AZ2FL on October 24, 2020, 03:03:20 PM
..
Title: Re: "How much" charcoal to use
Post by: Smoke5 on October 24, 2020, 03:30:13 PM
For my performer deluxe, I fill up the slow n sear and close all vents when done which saves unused charcoal.
Next time, top it off and repeat as necessary.
So you're essentially just cooking at the same temperature any given cook? Or are you able to meaningfully adjust temps based on the vents position?

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I do not cook at the same temperature and use the vents along with other things.
- Burgers, dogs, steaks: Use two zone system
- Smoked food: Use fireboard controller & fan
- Wings: Vortex

I also use a spray bottle and water pan depending on what's needed.
Title: Re: "How much" charcoal to use
Post by: hansonb4 on October 25, 2020, 10:06:01 AM
This doesn't really answer your question, but something I've been doing is as soon as I am done cooking (and validating that I haven't inadvertently undercooked something), is I close the top and bottom vents to snuff out the coals. I have an old Kingsford bag and when I am certain the coals are out, I shake the recently used coals to get off the ash and dump the used charcoal into the old bag. When I have a short cook and for whatever I see that I need a little extra charcoal, I add some of the already used charcoal rather than adding fresh briquets. It's helping me get the most out of each bag of charcoal. Did that method last night, where I cooked a half a chimney of charcoal for my wok grilling, dumped the ready coals onto the rack, spread them out, then added a layer of used charcoal. Stir fry, a steak, a pork chop, flank steak.... great way to conserve charcoal.
Title: Re: "How much" charcoal to use
Post by: P0234 on October 25, 2020, 10:27:17 AM
This doesn't really answer your question, but something I've been doing is as soon as I am done cooking (and validating that I haven't inadvertently undercooked something), is I close the top and bottom vents to snuff out the coals. I have an old Kingsford bag and when I am certain the coals are out, I shake the recently used coals to get off the ash and dump the used charcoal into the old bag. When I have a short cook and for whatever I see that I need a little extra charcoal, I add some of the already used charcoal rather than adding fresh briquets. It's helping me get the most out of each bag of charcoal. Did that method last night, where I cooked a half a chimney of charcoal for my wok grilling, dumped the ready coals onto the rack, spread them out, then added a layer of used charcoal. Stir fry, a steak, a pork chop, flank steak.... great way to conserve charcoal.

I reuse charcoal all the time too but I just keep it in the grill. I eyeball how much there is and fill the chimney accordingly and then top it off using the leftovers.
Title: Re: "How much" charcoal to use
Post by: shellkamp on October 25, 2020, 10:57:42 AM
This doesn't really answer your question, but something I've been doing is as soon as I am done cooking (and validating that I haven't inadvertently undercooked something), is I close the top and bottom vents to snuff out the coals. I have an old Kingsford bag and when I am certain the coals are out, I shake the recently used coals to get off the ash and dump the used charcoal into the old bag. When I have a short cook and for whatever I see that I need a little extra charcoal, I add some of the already used charcoal rather than adding fresh briquets. It's helping me get the most out of each bag of charcoal. Did that method last night, where I cooked a half a chimney of charcoal for my wok grilling, dumped the ready coals onto the rack, spread them out, then added a layer of used charcoal. Stir fry, a steak, a pork chop, flank steak.... great way to conserve charcoal.
SOP for me.

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Title: Re: "How much" charcoal to use
Post by: SMOKE FREAK on October 25, 2020, 02:23:41 PM
This doesn't really answer your question, but something I've been doing is as soon as I am done cooking (and validating that I haven't inadvertently undercooked something), is I close the top and bottom vents to snuff out the coals. I have an old Kingsford bag and when I am certain the coals are out, I shake the recently used coals to get off the ash and dump the used charcoal into the old bag. When I have a short cook and for whatever I see that I need a little extra charcoal, I add some of the already used charcoal rather than adding fresh briquets. It's helping me get the most out of each bag of charcoal. Did that method last night, where I cooked a half a chimney of charcoal for my wok grilling, dumped the ready coals onto the rack, spread them out, then added a layer of used charcoal. Stir fry, a steak, a pork chop, flank steak.... great way to conserve charcoal.

I reuse charcoal all the time too but I just keep it in the grill. I eyeball how much there is and fill the chimney accordingly and then top it off using the leftovers.

This /\ /\
Title: Re: "How much" charcoal to use
Post by: hansonb4 on October 26, 2020, 05:26:02 AM
What does "This /\ /\" mean? I looked it up on urban dictionary and just a general search and couldn't find it
This doesn't really answer your question, but something I've been doing is as soon as I am done cooking (and validating that I haven't inadvertently undercooked something), is I close the top and bottom vents to snuff out the coals. I have an old Kingsford bag and when I am certain the coals are out, I shake the recently used coals to get off the ash and dump the used charcoal into the old bag. When I have a short cook and for whatever I see that I need a little extra charcoal, I add some of the already used charcoal rather than adding fresh briquets. It's helping me get the most out of each bag of charcoal. Did that method last night, where I cooked a half a chimney of charcoal for my wok grilling, dumped the ready coals onto the rack, spread them out, then added a layer of used charcoal. Stir fry, a steak, a pork chop, flank steak.... great way to conserve charcoal.

I reuse charcoal all the time too but I just keep it in the grill. I eyeball how much there is and fill the chimney accordingly and then top it off using the leftovers.

This /\ /\

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Title: Re: "How much" charcoal to use
Post by: bamakettles on October 26, 2020, 05:35:45 AM
I think it means agree with the above post, or in this case the quoted post.
Title: Re: "How much" charcoal to use
Post by: MadGasser on October 26, 2020, 01:26:07 PM
You would be correct.
I think it means agree with the above post, or in this case the quoted post.

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Title: Re: "How much" charcoal to use
Post by: Retired@55 on October 27, 2020, 10:23:29 AM
Iíd also suggest a good thermometer to measure temp at the grate instead of the hood temp. Get one with a couple of probes so you can measure both the cooking temp and food temp. The Grill Grate ET732 is around $50 on Amazon. I also have a Thermoworks Smoke, but itís 2x the price and the Grill Grate works just as well.
Title: Re: "How much" charcoal to use
Post by: shellkamp on October 27, 2020, 01:45:36 PM


Iíd also suggest a good thermometer to measure temp at the grate instead of the hood temp. Get one with a couple of probes so you can measure both the cooking temp and food temp. The Grill Grate ET732 is around $50 on Amazon. I also have a Thermoworks Smoke, but itís 2x the price and the Grill Grate works just as well.

I have the thermoworks smoke but since I wasn't using the grate due to the chicken being too tall I just monitored breast and thigh temperature. The thigh got to 165 relatively quick and the breasts trailed behind about 40 degrees. Once the thighs got to temp I shut the bottom vents and the breasts started to catch up while the thighs slowed way down and I was able to keep them at about 171 until the breasts got to temp.

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Title: Re: "How much" charcoal to use
Post by: TheFinkFarm on November 13, 2020, 06:34:37 AM
From looking at the photos, I would have used more charcoal if I had arranged it that way.  I cook on the grate and have not had clearance be an issue.  It may have touched, but I covered the whole coal grate and this always produces a nice beer can chicken for me.
Title: Re: "How much" charcoal to use
Post by: KettleThunder on December 16, 2020, 09:27:29 AM
I use a slow n sear and cook indirect for everything. Here are some guides to go by. Your mileage may vary so this is a starting place:

Target temperature 225-250: 12 lit briquettes in the corner and fill the rest of the slow n sear with unlit charcoal. Top vent 1/3 open, bottom vent 1/3 open.

Target temperature 300-325: 1/2 chimney unlit briquettes in slow n sear and 1/2 chimney of lit briquettes on top of the unlit briquettes. Top vent 1/3 open, bottom vent 1/3 open.

Target temperature 400-425: 3/4 chimney of lit briquettes in slow n sear. Top vent 1/3 open, bottom vent 1/3 open.

Target temperature 500+: 1 full chimney of lit briquettes in slow n sear. Top vent full open, bottom vent full open.

Title: Re: "How much" charcoal to use
Post by: vasilelung on December 17, 2020, 02:52:06 AM
Wealth of information on the forum ...I experimented with lump and briquettes and the cooking results payed off...also I constantly check meat internal temperature which make a huge difference on the amount of fuel used and managed to dial up the temperature near perfection.