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Sep 3, 2007 05:24 AM


I cook a lot of barbecue and I have never seen this. I got up this morning after leaving the cooker going all night and the entire inside of the cooker -- although, perhaps fortunately, not the meat -- is coated with a fine white powder. I am using lump charcoal and I wonder if something untoward got in there. The powder looks like ash, but it is in a very fine, even layer all over the cooker including on the inside of the stack. That's what really freaks me out. If there had been a small explosion in the firebox (it is an offset cooker) I could see that blowing ashes all over the cooking chamber but UP THE STACK?

Anyway I can't tell if the meat is creosoted. I tasted a piece of the bark on my pork butt and it seemed a little bitter but it is hard to tell for sure without eating a whole portion. Any ideas?

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  1. My players on the KCBS forum hooked me up, apparently some kinds of charcoal just generate that white-ash deposit. Looks scary but no worries. My food came out just fine.

    And, I have dissed those guys before. The KCBS forum is full of inside baseball and some non-delicious sounding ideas. But if you need the lowdown on barbecue technique you could do far worse than to look there.

    5 Replies
    1. re: antepiedmont

      Which kinds of charcoal do this? Is it a particular brand, or type of wood?

      1. re: ricepad

        Coconut-wood charcoal for one. And maybe other tropical hardwoods. See link

        1. re: antepiedmont

          I've seen the powder coating a couple of times and I think that the overnight is the key. the only times I've seen it is when the cooker was undisturbed for 5-6 hours or more. I think it may have to do with air movement (or lack of it) in addition to the type of charcoal.

          1. re: antepiedmont

            Were you using Kamado extruded coconut lump?

        2. re: antepiedmont

          I assume you already do this but a baffle between the firebox opening and the smoking cavity eliminates a good bit of this on long cooks. Or at least it has for me.