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A fresh look at the amazing briquette

Are you more of a classic lumpwood or  briquette kind of person? To be fair, the answer doesn’t really matter. Both choices are awesome in their own way. You know us: we’re deep into all things charcoal, so we could wax lyrical about lumpwood and briquettes all day long. However, focus leads to insight, so today we will be jumping into the charcoal briquette vortex. After we do, you should have a whole new appreciation for this ingenious fuel.

What are briquettes?

Keeping things topline, a briquette is a more ‘manufactured’ form of charcoal. Essentially, we take biomass and green waste material – such as rice husk, bagasse, ground nut shells, municipal solid waste, and agricultural waste – and compress the raw materials in a mould, producing uniformly shaped briquettes with a consistent density. If you’re still struggling to picture what we’re talking about, imagine a group of bricks. Each one is the same shape with the same density – charcoal briquettes are pretty similar in that regard.

A pile of Big K’s Au Natural Charcoal Briquette product

What are the different types of charcoal briquettes?

Varity is the spice of life. And the same concept applies to the mighty briquette. There are many briquettes out there, but here’s the greatest hits. 

Sawdust briquettes

Shredded straw briquettes

Coconut shell charcoal briquettes

Cardboard briquettes 

Pine briquettes

What are the main briquettes for BBQ?

Always good to stay on topic. Basically, there are two principal briquette types – traditional BBQ charcoal briquettes and compressed BBQ briquettes. Let’s break down each one.

The traditional charcoal BBQ briquette

Most people have encountered the traditional pillow-shaped briquette  on their BBQ journey.  After all, these nifty guys have been around for decades now. To produce these briquettes, we start off with some charcoal fines. Next, we crush and mix the fines with vegetable starch or water. Once this is done, we add the mixture into a press mould. The mould gives each briquette the same shape and density. Finally, the mixture is dried, creating the classic oval or pillow-shaped briquette that we all know and love.

These conventional briquettes are popular with the average griller, as they are easy to use and deliver consistent heat perfect for closed lid or smoke style barbecues. While classic briquettes have their admirers, there is heated discussion around the binding agents used in the production process. When we burn the briquettes, the binders burn too – creating a specific odour that affects the flavour infusion into the food. 

we see a burning briquette close up with other burning briquettes glowing red hot.

Compressed charcoal briquettes

As with so many products, improvement comes over time. We learn, tweak and create something better. We’d say that compressed charcoal briquettes are a step up from normal briquettes. The key to their improvement? The addition of compression into the manufacturing and production process. 

Again, we start out with a mixture of fines – usually waste wood sawdust fines or other biomass fines. We add the mixture to a special mould, compressing everything at super-duper high pressure. The compression is vital, as it eliminates most of the internal moisture and releases natural resin from the fines. After the compression is complete, the briquette is carbonised, forming a compressed charcoal briquette. Thanks to compression, we no longer need

 

any binding agents. Feast your eyes on a 100% natural charcoal briquette with no odour. And no odour means no effect on flavour. 

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any better, compression also delivers higher density briquettes, bringing you longer cooking times and hotter burns. Oh and we should mention that (thanks to the moulds) each briquette has a central air hole running through the middle. This produces a more even heat distribution from each briquette.

 

Main advantages of charcoal briquettes

Enjoy a higher combustion value (more than 80% of mass)

Get stuck into longer and hotter burning times as well as a more stable burn

Compressed briquettes are usually smokeless and tasteless

Most briquettes are made from renewable resources that meaning no resource depletion over time. 

A product shot of the Big K Au Natural Charcoal Briquette box with some briquettes outside the box.

The one briquette to rule them all

We’ve spent many years refining our range of briquettes. The result? A dynamic selection of fuels with different properties and characteristics. We will share our creations with you in another blog. For today we’re focusing on the briquette that has changed the game. Meet Au Natural FSC®

 

Au Natural FSC® Charcoal Briquettes £24.99

100% natural compressed restaurant grade charcoal briquettes

Made from wood waste with no binders

Ready to cook within 35 minutes with up to 3 hours cooking time

Central hole to aid air flow for even burning

Best used in combination with Big K’s Chilla-Grilla charcoal

Easier to light than regular RCB10

Long lasting

High heat

Wrap your mind around our Au Natural FSC® ® briquettes and be amazed. These 100% natural compressed charcoal briquettes contain no binders or nasty chemicals – so you can enjoy a more natural taste experience.

 

Every Au Natural FSC® briquette is derived from compressed waste saw dust and wood chips put under high pressures. As we mentioned before, the process creates uniform hexagonal tubes. These tubes are consistently shaped and sized, so they’re easy to handle and burn cleanly. Au Natural FSC® also has a central hole to help with air flow. Sit back and marvel at a consistent and even burn across your barbecue, with no annoying hot or cold spots.

Au Natural FSC® delivers an extraordinarily long-lasting three hour plus burn time. And we’d suggest, for the best results, to light these briquettes using our Chilla-Grilla lumpwood charcoal   – just to help move things along. 

We also have our standard Au Natural charcoal briquettes. They are pretty much the same as their FSC counterparts, just without the certification. Looking to go large and buy in bulk? We’ve got you covered.