Grilling with Natural Lump Charcoal
Lump vs. Briquette Charcoal
No cooking technique can bring out the natural flavors of food like grilling. The charring and the smoke from grilling over an open flame adds layers of flavors beyond the reach of any other cooking method.
Natural Lump charcoal has many qualities that differentiate it from briquettes. However, Better Wood Products uses 100% all natural wood for BOTH its lump and briquette charcoal. No fillers, no additives, no chemicals, ever!
1. It’s 100% Natural. No coals, fillers or chemicals unlike most briquettes which are formed from manufactured wood by-products compressed with additives to help them light and burn consistently.
2. Food tastes better and is healthier. Many briquettes contain additives which release odors that can change the flavors of your food.
3. Easy Lighting. starts in half the time of briquettes (it’s what the professionals use).
4. Burns Hotter . Home grilling temperatures are generally in the 450- to 600-degree range. Most “grill meisters” prefer natural charcoal because it generally burns hotter than a gas grill or briquettes, and hotter fires impart better flavors. Lump charcoal can get near to or equal the 1,000 degree temperatures found in top steak houses.
5. Sears in flavor better. Its easier to add flavor enhancers like hardwoods and herbs to a charcoal fire.
6. Start cooking sooner. In only 15 minutes, a charcoal fire is ready to cook. How many briquettes can claim to do this?
7. Temperature control is better. Burns at whatever rate and temperature that you allow, allowing you to control cooking time. Lump charcoal is more responsive to oxygen, making it easier to control the fire’s temperature if your grill has adjustable air vents.
8. Quicker cleanup. Lump charcoal generates less ash than briquettes.
9. Six FREE Fatwood Sticks. Start your fire the all-natural way with All-Natural Fatwood Firestarter sticks, included in every bag.
Lighting the perfect fire
Natural Lump Charcoal should be lit about 15-20 minutes prior to grilling. DON’T use lighter fluid or newspaper to start your charcoal. Once again, it’s all about the flavor. Keep it natural, invest in a chimney starter or an electric starter. A chimney starter is a large, vented steel cylinder that is filled with charcoal and makes cooking with charcoal much simpler. Place a couple of lit fatwood sticks in the bottom area of the chimney starter, below the charcoal. After about 20 minutes the charcoal is ready to be dumped into the grill.
Chimney starters are great for long grilling sessions as you can have more charcoal hot and ready in advance, to add to a diminishing fire. Just refill the chimney with charcoal and light with Fatwood about 20 minutes before adding to the fire. If you add unlit charcoal to a burning fire, you are in for a lot of smoke and and a lower temperature.
Once the charcoal begins to ash over, brush the grate clean with a wire brush and oil the grate. Use canned spray oil — be careful of flare-ups — a clean, wadded-up cloth dipped in oil, or, if you really want to show off, grab a chunk of bacon or beef fat in tongs and liberally wipe the grate.
Starting Lump Charcoal
Unlike other chemical and composite firestarters which can add undesirable flavors to your cooking, our FATWOOD Firestarter Sticks are a safe, 100% all natural, chemical-free way to start any fire. When cooking with high-quality 100% hardwood lump charcoal we recommend using Fatwood.
1. Open air vents on grill. Arrange charcoal to form a pyramid. As you build the pyramid, insert 2 to 3 pieces of Fatwood Firestarter throughout the pyramid so that the ends of the wood stick out leaving 1-2 inches of space between Firestarter Sticks and charcoal for air circulation. If a liquid firestarter is used, let it soak approximately 15 minutes before lighting.
2. Ignite ends of Fatwood and leave fire uncovered. If a liquid firestarter is used, light at several places.
3. When coals are ashed over and Fatwood sticks have completely burned, it is safe to begin cooking (10-15 minutes).
Grilling Tips with Lump Charcoal
Don’t poke it. Every time you stab or poke a piece of meat on the grill you provide an exit for the flavor-rich juices to leak out. Invest in some tongs to turn meat.
Be smart about basting. Oil & vinegar, citrus and yogurt-based marinades can be brushed on the food throughout cooking. If you are using a marinade to baste that was used for raw meat or seafood, do not apply it during the last few minutes of cooking. If you are using a molasses- or sugar-based sauce, apply it towards the end of the cooking time. The sugar in sauces can burn easily over the intense heat of the charcoal.
Let it be. After grilling meat to the desired temperature it is always a good idea to allow the meat to rest. The intense heat of grilling with All Natural Charcoal forces the meat to contract, driving the flavorful juices to the center. Allowing the meat a few minutes to rest will result in a juicy and delicious finished piece of food.
A proven technique to create a more versatile grilling area is to mound most of the charcoal to one side, spread a little less in the middle, and leave one area with no charcoal. You can use a garden hoe or small shovel for this. By dividing the charcoal you create three distinct heat “zones” to cook your food. This gives you an area on the grill where you can move the food in case of flare-ups or if the food starts to cook too quickly.