Ever since Henry Ford and his brother-in-law fired up briquettes of sawdust, charcoal has been produced from industrial waste. Whether dust from the saw mills or scraps from furniture factories, we have relied on someone to turn this useless leftover wood into fuel for our grills and smokers. Now there comes a different kind of charcoal made from the husks and shells of coconuts. Technically referred to as extruded coconut charcoal, this material can be formed into virtually any shape to serve most any purpose from charcoal logs to briquettes for cooking. Coconut charcoal burns hot and clean, imparts a mild flavor, and produces a mild, sweet, but unique smoke. Coconut charcoal is huge in Asia where is is produced and is making its way into Europe and North America
An excellent example of this type of charcoal is Kingsgrill charcoal briquettes. These square briquettes are designed to burn evenly and efficiently and are self starting. Now I know that I have said that self starting charcoal is bad, but this “quik lite” doesn’t use petroleum chemicals to get is going. Instead each, dual layer briquette is infused with an all natural, organic lighting substance. You can literally place a match (wooden) on top of one of these briquettes and get it burning quickly. In fact these are ready to go in about two minutes. The lighting is actually pretty fun because these have almost a fireworks level of combustion when they first start out, cracking and popping (and producing a good amount of smoke) to get going. Once burning these briquettes glow orange and put out a substantial amount of heat. With a burn time around an hour and a half, these are not the sort of charcoal you would want to use for smoking, but these are excellent for grilling. If you see a box of this charcoal I encourage you to pick it up. Not readily available right now, but I predict you will be seeing a lot of coconut charcoal in the near future.
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