Red and Black: The Wedding of Charcoal and Fire

BarbecueHaving a barbecue is a special way to cook food, and serves as a great way for friends and family to get together. There are a hundred ways to conduct a proper barbecue, and charcoal grilling sits near the top of the list. When it comes to efficiency and convenience, electric and gas grills are the best. But many people prefer the natural feel that a charcoal fire provides.

After a few tries with charcoal grilling, some enthusiasts may take the next step and ask if different charcoals have different effects. The answer is yes. Not all charcoals go through the same process and that alters their chemical composition.

Lump and Briq

There are two main types of charcoal: lump coals and briquettes. Lump coal is the more natural and traditional of the two. It’s carbonised hard wood, and is what most people imagine charcoal to be like. Briquettes, on the other hand, are compressed wood by-products such as sawdust, held together by a binder. It’s a much cheaper option with some bags costing half the price of lump charcoal.

Most grillers wouldn’t even notice the difference between the two. Some would even call people who consider barbecue accessories so seriously absurd. But there are differences. When it comes to quality, there’s little doubt that lump charcoal is superior. There’s just no getting around the quality of the raw material in lump charcoal. It burns with more heat, lasts longer and is as clean a flame as anyone can get.

Feeling Fire

Unfortunately, not everyone can afford lump charcoal for every barbecue they throw. Briquettes came into existence because of that. People need a cheap fuel that still burned clean and hot. Sure, the quality of the flame isn’t the same, but at least it’s still safer to handle than gas or electric powered grills. Not to say there’s anything wrong with those grills. It’s just that, it doesn’t feel the same when there isn’t an actual fire going.

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