Barbecue ( Discuss barbecue and grilling--southern style "low and slow" smoking of ribs, shoulders and briskets, as well as direct heat grilling of everything from burgers to salmon to vegetables.

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Old 04-09-2013, 12:20 PM posted to
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Default How to Make Charcoal

On 7/5/2013 11:30 PM, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

How to make Charcoal

Hello fellow smoker/bbq/grillers!

Here is the recipe, as requested, to make your own Lump Wood Charcoal
(thereby saving yourself tons of cash, and successfully robbing the
"Kingsford Mafia"..)
To make 30-40 lb of charcoal, you will need: ( yes, Jeff... more
equipment..) A clean 55 gallon metal drum with the lid cut off
roughly (you will be able to reuse this drum many, many times)

Enough seasoned wood to fill said drum, chopped into big fist-size
pieces (ok, say 5"x5", and the wood just needs to be a couple months
seasoned, although the dryer the wood, the faster the process..)

A bag of sand
3 or 4 bricks
A case of beer(optional)
Time and patience

Start by punching/cutting 5 holes in the bottom of the drum which are
each 2" square. Try to keep them towards the center. Put the drum down
on the bricks, placed so it is off the ground and fill it with the

Start a fire in the drum. When it is going well, put the top back on
to reflect back the heat. Since it was cut off roughly, there will be
slight gaps to allow the a draft. Now, turn the whole thing over,
placing it back onto the bricks. (This is where you might need the
case of beer to convince several men to help you lift the sucker. It
will be heavy. And mind the lid doesn't fall off!) Wait, consuming the
beer as necessary.

The smoke will start out white. This is the water vapor burning off.
Next the smoke will go blue/gray which is the alcohol and phenols
burning off. Then the smoke appears yellow, which is the tar burning

Finally the smoke will clear and you will just see waves of heat. When
this happens, Carefully remove the bricks out from underneath. Take
the sand and make a pile around the bottom lid, plugging up the bottom
draft. Also, cover the top with either a piece of turf or a large
piece of metal. Use the sand to seal around the turf/metal so no air
can get into the drum. We are trying for a closed system here. If
air/oxygen/fire-fuel DOES get into the drum, the charcoal will just
burn up. Not what we want. Also, try not to let the sand fall down
into the drum through the holes.

Allow the drum to cool (2-3 hours). Then turn back over, pry off the
top and remove your charcoal. If there is a spark, the charcoal may
"catch", but just douse it with some water. The charcoal will still be
hot enough to dry out. Repeat above process as necessary.

Thanks to my Bodger brother-in-law, Don Whiting, who taught me how to
do this.

(P.S. A "bodger" is a pole-lathe wood turner. He makes nifty besoms as
Best of luck to you all with the above process.

Hogs and quiches from Cheshire (by way of Palm Desert!)

That's on Eagle Quest,

There was a fellow that rigged up a metal pipe coming out of the top of
a bbl, bbl was off the ground, he burned wood under the sealed bbl and
the pipe brought the amazingly flammable fumes to under the bbl where a
jet flame added to the high temp until most of the off gas was used up,
the off gasses are extremely flammable, I tried it once and it works!
But mostly used the Eagle Quest / Belinda approach.

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Old 04-09-2013, 04:39 PM posted to
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Default How to Make Charcoal

AttaBoy wrote:
Scoop out a trench with a loader about 8
feet wide x 8 feet deep by 20 feet long reserving sandy dirt in a
pile. Fill the trench with

....martyb in kc...

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