mguerra wrote: lump charcoal is not wood burned down in to coals. So using lump is not the same as burning wood down in to coals.
Well yes and no.. but sorta kinda..
Generally lump charcoal is wood that is heated in an oxygen free environment to remove most of the volatiles. The remaining material is charcoal.
If you burn wood (heat it) is off-gasses.. creating flame.. when that flame burns out, that's charcoal less the nasty tasting part.. but still full of the nice flavor. Put it out at this point and you have great charcoal.
If you have properly carbonized oak charcoal it's exactly same as the wood burned to this point..
Problem is to be safe and ensure no flames and acrid flavors, most charcoal makers over cook a bit.. result less flavor and harder to light.
When you add smoking wood, same thing. You want to let if off-gass and the flame burn out.. at this point the smoke is that nasty dark grey-ish color and acrid.. it even burns you eyes.. once it's gone the smoke will turn to a blue-ish color.. that's what you want your meat to bath in.. The cast iron pots with wood in them force the volatiles down thru the hot coals where they can be re-burned and be cleaned up a bit more.. sorta an afterburner.
When an organic material is heated the volatiles turn to gas and ignite.. With lump charcoal there is a fine line between under carbonized where the charcoal actually off gasses like wood and this gas burns in a flame.. Under carbonized charcoal like this will give off acrid flavors and nasty grey smoke.. If you over carbonize you burn off too much of the volatiles, you will get a flavorless burn that is very hard to light..
In most lump charcoal the smalls are usually over carbonized and the larges pieces less or a bit Under carbonized.. That's why the best charcoal is all the same size pieces..that way they can cook it uniformly..
That's also why Kingsford can consistently produce such a uniform product.. Like it or not, every bag will be exactly the same. With their new competition type (100% wood), I'm guessing it's a good thing although I've never tried it. Of course they don't have it here in Bali.
Done my home work for the Komodo Charcoal that's in the works..