Primo Grill Forum FAQ

Here you can find answers to questions about how the board works. Use the links or search box below to find your way around.

Should you use Lump Charcoal or Briquettes?

If you are going to use our Primo Grill and Smoker, the answer is Lump Charcoal. The low ash production of lump charcoal is very important. Primo Grills and Smokers have a fire bowl holding the charcoal. As the charcoal burns, the ash falls down into the bottom of the bowl. There isn't room for a whole lot of ash. Lump charcoal tends to burns hotter and faster than briquettes. Lump charcoal will also burn at whatever rate and temperature that you allow it to. Using briquettes in your Primo Grill and Smoker can cause frustration when needing to regulate the temperature. Briquettes tend to burn slower as they were designed to be used in an uncontrolled environment. Briquettes weren't designed for professional use.

What is Natural Lump Charcoal?

Natural Lump Charcoal comes from partially burning wood. It is also created by heating wood without oxygen. In doing so, this charred wood becomes carbon. During the process of making charcoal, volatile compounds in the wood (water, hydrogen, methane and tars) pass off as vapors into the air, and the carbon is converted into charcoal.

How long can Lump Charcoal last? (Shelf Life)

Lump Charcoal is perhaps good for life. Unless it has been exposed to moisture and variable temperature, natural lump charcoal will last.

Where can I purchase Lump Charcoal?

You may be able to purchase lump charcoal locally. Your local hardware, BBQ store, mass merchant, grocery store and other related retail outlet may carry lump charcoal. You may also purchase your charcoal from Primo® Direct.

Walmart - Royal Oak can usually be found at Walmart. Seasonal in most areas.
Lowes -Cowboy in stock at most stores.
Home Depot - People have reported finding Cowboy in their local Home Depot. Seasonal.
Publix - Greenwise Lump Charcoal is available in most Publix grocery stores.
Food Lion - Reports of Kingsford Charwood in some Food Lion stores. Seasonal.

Are there different types of Lump Charcoal?

There are 2 types of charcoals: the first type comes from natural wood which has been cut and made into charcoal. This is as natural as you can get. The wood comes from trees, branches and scrap pieces from saw mills. The second type comes from using processed scrap wood and tuning it into charcoal. Processed scrap wood tend to burn faster since its density is lesser than natural. This is mainly because there is less moisture into the wood at the time it is transformed into charcoals. This wood comes from wood flooring scraps, building material scrap and furniture scraps and others.

How do I light Lump Charcoal?

Never use any starter fluid. It will give a undesirable flavor to your food and impregnate into the ceramic of your Primo Grill and Smoker. There are many other ways to light up lump charcoal. You can use paraffin fireplace starter blocks (Primo recommended), electric starters, propane sticks, weed burners, propane torches, MAPP gas torches and Chimney starters. The Chimney starter is the most economical since it uses paper (usually newspaper) to light the charcoal.

What kind of woods are good for smoking?

The following woods can be used for smoking:

Acacia - flavor similar to mesquite but not quite as heavy.
Alder - Good with fish, pork, poultry, and light-meat game birds.
Almond - A sweet smoke flavor. Good with all meats.
Apple - Mild. Good with poultry (turns skin dark brown) and pork. Cheese too.
Apricot - Good on white or pink meats, including chicken, turkey, pork and fish. Milder and sweeter than hickory.
Ash - Good with fish and red meats. Flavor similar to maple.
Beech - Flavor similar to Maple.
Birch - Flavor similar to maple (remove the resinous bark). Good with pork and poultry.
Cherry - Mild and fruity. Good with poultry, pork and beef. Cheese too.
Cottonwood - Subtle flavor. Mix with chunks of other woods (hickory, oak, pecan) for more flavor.
Crabapple - Similar to apple.
Grapefruit - Mild. Good with beef, pork, fish and poultry.
Grapevines - Tart, rich and fruity. Good with poultry, red meats, game and lamb.
Hickory - Commonly used wood for smoking. Sweet to strong, heavy flavor. Good with pork, ham and beef.
Lemon - Mild. Good with beef, pork, fish and poultry.
Lilac - Good with seafood and lamb.
Maple - Good with pork, poultry, cheese, and small game birds. Cheese too.
Mesquite - Strong flavor. Good with beef, fish, chicken, and game.
Mulberry - Like apple.
Nectarine - Good on white or pink meats, including chicken, turkey, pork and fish. Milder and sweeter than hickory.
Oak - Heavy smoke flavor. Good with red meat, pork, fish and game.
Orange - Mild. Good with beef, pork, fish and poultry.
Peach - Good on white or pink meats, including chicken, turkey, pork and fish. Milder and sweeter than hickory.
Pear - Like apple. Excellent with chicken and pork.
Pecan - Similar to hickory. Good with poultry, beef, pork and cheese.
Plum - Good on white or pink meats, including chicken, turkey, pork and fish. Milder and sweeter than hickory.
Walnut - ENGLISH and BLACK - Very heavy smoke flavor can be bitter if used alone. Good with red meats and game.

Other wooods - Bay, Carrotwood, Kiawe, Madrone, Manzanita, Guava, Olive, Ornamental Pear, Ornamental Cherry, Butternut, Fig, Gum, Chestnut, hackberry, Pimiento, Persimmon, and Willow. The following woods are not suitable for smoking: Softwoods or evergreen woods (Pine, Fir, Spruce, Redwood, Cedar, Cypress, etc.), Elm, Eucalyptus, Sassafras, Sycamore, Liquid Amber (Sweetgum), Chokecherry, green Cottonwood., Railroad ties, and power poles. (Nobody has ever commented on the last 2 so far.) :-)


How do you use wood?

Using the smoking wood:

First, don't use chips, they're just a flash in the pan (an old muzzleloading term) then gone and virtually no flavor has been put onto the meat. Use chunked wood. I buy the wood that I can't cut locally, like hickory and mesquite so I'm at the mercy of what's in the bag. But when I cut my own I either cut rounds up to 5" round and not more than 2" thick. Smaller diameter wood gets cut into sticks maybe 6" long. I lay mine on top of the fire and get roughly 1+ hour of smoke. Other folks cut their wood differently and put the wood throughout the lump to get continuous random smoke. It all works. Do what you think is best. Now, should you soak the wood? I don't. Is it wrong to? No. Both ways work. I want the most smoke when the meat is most receptive to it and that's when it's first put on and for a short time thereafter, so I do nothing to slow down smoke production during that critical time period. Again, others do it differently and it works. Try different things and use what works best for you.

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