They come in many shapes and sizes and are pressed with different patterns, but all charcoal briquettes start out in a similar fashion. All charcoal begins its life as wood which is heated in an oxygen-poor environment.

Without oxygen the wood is incapable of actually catching on fire – instead, everything inside the wood, except for the carbon, melts away into a liquid or a gas. This leaves us with a chunk of concentrated carbon that we call charcoal. From here that charcoal is processed into either hardwood lump charcoal or charcoal briquettes.

Charcoal Briquettes

Charcoal briquettes aren’t technically charcoal, but a combination of charcoal and other ingredients that have been moulded into an easy-to-burn shape. The briquettes can be combinations of charcoal, starch, coal, sawdust, and sodium nitrate, for example.

Although it may seem to some that having a combination of ingredients in a briquette may make them less appealing to buyers, charcoal briquettes are actually some of the best on the market. Briquettes are used by competition grillers who cook in national contests.

You can tell them apart from hardwood lump charcoal by their consistent size, distinct aromas and flavours that they give off if used for cooking, and most importantly, by the binders and additives which make for an ashier burn.

Because of the volume of ash they give off when burnt, briquettes give out less heat than hardwood lump, and can’t be effectively used in ceramic grills. This is because the ash suffocates and insulates the coals.

If you are using briquettes on your BBQ, then it is advised that you avoid using the types that come pre-coated with lighter fluid for easier ignition. Lighting briquettes isn’t complicated, and you will want to avoid those kinds of lighter fluids and fumes getting near your food.

If you are looking for a coal merchants to provide all your coal and firewood needs, visit Pearson Fuels today, or check them out online.