Monday, July 20, 2009

The Charcoal Story

Henry Ford. The man. The Legend. Everyone knows about Mr. Fords little assembly line and how it changed the face of history. But we are not here to talk about the automobile, we are here to talk about Henry Ford's greatest invention. The charcoal briquette. First made from scraps of wood and sawdust from Mr. Ford's automotive factory a charcoal briquette is made by compressing charcoal from sawdust and other wood with a binder(usually starch and other additives. The additives will consist of mineral carbon as a heat source and borax,sodium nitrate,parrafin and petroleum solvents to aid in ignition. Americans buy nearly 1,000,000 tons of charcoal briquettes every year. For more information on the making of charcoal check out

Lump Charcoal

The difference between lump charcoal and the charcoal briquette is that lump charcoal is whole pieces of wood that are exposed to high heat which drives out all the volatile chemicals of the wood and leaving only the carbon. Lump charcoal burns cleaner and hotter than the charcoal briquette. When using lump charcoal for barbecuing it is very important that you have a way to control the heat since a pile of lump charcoal can reach a temperature near 1000 degrees. Do not use starter fluid to light lump charcoal as it will leave your meat with a solvent flavor. A charcoal lighting chimney is the preferred choice here.

Usually your choice of charcoal will be judged upon the type of meat you're cooking. For those meats that call for a longer cooking time the charcoal briquette is the best way to go. If you're going to be cooking a thick juicy steak then go with lump.


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