While some purists would say wood is the only way to go, when it comes to wood chopping, many would say, "Ain't nobody got time for that!" After cooking exclusively with wood for many years, SIF owner Steve Schoettle has become a fan of the hybrid "wood + lump charcoal method."

Steve, after all these years, why did you start using lump charcoal?

Sandy & I met Scott Reid from Royal Oak and The BBQ Ninja Craig Verhage at the Royal Oak BBQ Championship in Alpharetta, GA last year and I saw how great the food was turning out. They sent me a few bags to try it out - and no, I'm not a paid sponsor! - but I really enjoyed cooking with it. 

So what are the pros of using lump charcoal?

  1. Speed! I can get a bed of coals ready for cooking in about 1/2 the time. 
  2. It conserves my firewood - a precious resource - and I have to do a lot less chopping!
  3. I don't need to tend the fire as much, which gives me time to prep food or greet guests. 

Sounds like a win-win. So why use wood at all for cooking?

I like the flavor profile that only wood can give. And choosing different types of wood imparts various flavors to your food. But lump charcoal and wood both add that smoky flavor that everyone loves off the open flame. 

Any tips to share?

  1. You can start your lump charcoal with a grill chimney, but I really like the Royal Oak Tumbleweeds - wood and wax-based bundles - for a fire starter. Lump charcoal burns clean, so I wouldn't add chemicals from lighter fluid.
  2. For the 30-Gallon Kettle, I use a 15 lb. bag. And for the 50-Gallon Kettle, I use a 30 lb. bag of lump charcoal.
  3. After you get that nice bed of coals, you can add smaller pieces of wood to tend the fire as you go. 

We think this sounds great, especially in the winter when you want that fire ready FAST! Happy Grilling!

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