FIRE was the love child of the very first elements of the universe – hydrogen and helium. These two preeminent elements gave birth to stars and the cosmos. Without them, there’d be no sun, no Earth, no TikTok dances…no BBQ. The realisation that we’re composed of the remnants of stars melts the mind. So you could say that we have fire in our hearts – spiritually and literally. Where are we going with this? Well fire is a natural segue way into the world of fuel and smokeless fuel specifically. Let’s do this.
Yes we are fire and fuel fanatics. But that’s not the reason why we’re penetrating our prongs of curiosity into in this verbal excursion. While fire is the undisputed star of the show, let’s shift our focus to one of fire’s discreet yet unmistakable progeny – smoke. This wonderful wonder of wispiness is actually composed of minute unburnt particles of carbon and chemical compounds. When these teeny microscopic unburned particles amalgamate, we see it as a wisp or plume of smoke. Before the industrial revolution, not much was known about smoke and its impact on our environment. For years we burned coal and fossil fuels to propel humanity into the new prosperity of industrial advancement. But the surreptitious influence of smoke was yet to be fully comprehended until an unusually cold December in London in 1952. Windless conditions and air pollutants formed a thick layer of smog over the city for 4 days, paralysing the capital and causing many deaths.
Today, we have learned from incidents like the Great Smog of London – and we have come a long way in understanding how to tackle air pollution. Luckily, science has given us many more environmentally viable fuel solutions – including smokeless fuel. We at Big K are experts in every way there is to light up a blazing hot fire, and smokeless fuel is straight up our eco alley. So can you have the fire without the smoke? The answer awaits.
What Is Smokeless Fuel
Smokeless fuels are usually solid fossil fuels such as anthracite, coke, and charcoal. Unlike bituminous coals, they contain minimal impurities, therefore producing little to almost no smoke when burned. The high carbon content in smokeless fuels makes it burn cleaner than conventional fuel sources making it ideal to use even in smoke control areas.
‘Smokeless fuel’ is a confusing term to many people, because all solid fuel emits some smoke when burned. However smokeless fuel is labeled as ‘smokeless’ because it emits a small amount of smoke within measurable emission parameters. Plus it doesn’t emit ‘black smoke’, which is high in toxins, including, cadmium, arsenic, mercury and PM2.5.
Characteristics of smokeless fuel at a glance
Let’s spare ourselves the smoke and mirrors of elaborate technical details and get straight into the gist of smokeless fuels. Here’s what you need to know about smokeless fuels in a nutshell.
Smokeless fuels have a high carbon base (anthracite) with over 80% – 98% carbon content.
They burn 40% longer than bituminous coals.
They have a low internal moisture level of anywhere between 6 -15%
Smokeless fuels are environmentally friendly because they emit 80% less smoke and 25% less carbon dioxide than regular charcoal or wood.
It burns hotter and more efficiently as it holds fewer impurities.
It’s slightly more expensive than bituminous coal.
Smokeless fuels can be harder to ignite due to the lack of volatile substances.
Smokeless fuel for your fire pit
There are many fuels that you can burn in your fire pit. However, you don’t need to be Hercule Poirot to know that we’re exploring smokeless fuel options at the moment. If you’re wondering where to buy smokeless coal or searching for ‘smokeless fuel near me’ in the trusty Google box – we have the solution. bigkproducts.co.uk is your one stop smokeless fuel shop. Let’s break it down.
Charcoal authorised for use in smoke control areas
It goes without saying that we have pro quality restaurant grade charcoal for use in smoke control areas. Our hardworking Dura charcoal and clean Au Natural briquettes deliver quality, performance and little to no smoke.
BIG K instant light fire log
Our individually wrapped instant light fire logs will make sitting around the fire a cosy and clean affair. Each log is made from recycled wax and sawdust with a super low internal moisture level. What’s more you don’t need any firelighters or kindling to get these bad boys blazing. Simply light the wrapper and enjoy a 2-hour long burn time. These fire logs can be used in your stove, open fire, fire pit or bonfire. They are completely safe to light, especially because they don’t give out sparks or embers when being fired up.
BIG K Instant light crackle log
A twist on the standard instant light fire log, BIG K’s crackle log burns and crackles just like real wood. They can burn hot and burn bright for two whole hours, but are as easy to light as snapping your fingers. A big plus about the instant light crackle log is that it’s certified safe to be lit in smoke controlled areas, but it’s also the perfect thing for any fire pit, open fire, or bonfire under the big blue sky.
BIG K Bags of smokeless coal
If you are looking for less smoke and more heat from your fire pit, you could throw in some BIG K smokeless coals If you think these coals are your regular characters of combustion, you couldn’t be farther away from the truth. Big K smokeless coals burns for an eye-watering 5 to 6 hours AND produces 80% less smoke than average coals. If there was a reason to keep the party going on for longer, here’s one – in a large, but easy to carry bag – for you. Searching for smokeless coal for your fire pit? We’re all over it.
Compressed heat logs
If you compress sawdust at extremely high pressures you obtain our Big K compressed Heat Logs The compression process removes a gargantuan amount of internal moisture, leading to internal levels of under 8%. This equals a 100% natural and totally heat-erific blazefest.
BBQ in a fire pit
Fire pits can have many purposes – the most obvious being a source of heating. But our favourite use for the fire pit is when it doubles as a cooking option. Most outdoor fire pits can be augmented with a matching grill on top of the fire and converted into a primo barbecue grill. If you could suspend a horizontal skewer, you could even have your own rotisserie right in your backyard. The possibilities are exciting, and will give you something to chew on to plan your own fire pit cookout. Let’s look at a few cooking possibilities that you can unlock with any outdoor fire pit.
Right after you get your wood or coals burning and piping hot, all you need is a grill grate that will sit on top of the outer walls of your fire pit and you are ready to grill! It’s time to dish out your sausages, meats, burger patties and anything you can think of on top of the grill in sheer unadulterated caveman form. What better way to beat the cold weather and fill your belly up, all at the same time?
Another innovative method to cook in your fire pit is the rotisserie or spit roasting method. For this, you need to skewer your desired cut of meat on a long metal rod known as the spit. This metal rod is mounted on top of the fire, suspended between 2 supporting pillars on either side of the fire pit. The best results are achieved if you could rotate this spit and the meat along with it for slow, even cooking. This makes the meat tender and succulent with a hint of smoky flavour as a bonus.
If you have a cast-iron pot or pan that has not gotten enough attention from you over the years, a fire pit BBQ grill will surely give it purpose. Use your iron pot to cook up stews, curries or even a one-pot pasta dish of your liking. This will be similar to cooking on your gas stove with the unmistakable charm of cooking outdoors on an open fire. Make sure you find a suitable place for your pot to rest over the fire to avoid spillovers.
S’mores for Dessert
If you think you can’t grill up something to satisfy your sweet tooth after a hearty meal, think again. All you will need is a bar of chocolate, a pack of crackers, marshmallows and a skewer or a thin stick. Stick a marshmallow on the end of your skewer and skillfully roast the outer part . Make sure you don’t burn it, we are looking for a gooey texture with bits of char on the outside. After a minute, take it away from the flame and sandwich the hot marshmallow with 2 crackers and use them to get your melted ‘mallow off the stick. Add chocolate and you have a perfect sweet treat – s’mores!
How to light an indoor fireplace
Moving from the great outdoors to the arguably comfier indoors – let’s look at indoor fires. Ah yes, it’s simple to light something on fire, especially if you have pyrotechnical inclinations. But you don’t want to compromise all your worldly possessions, so lighting a fire indoors should come with a clear note of caution – and responsible handling throughout the process.
Here’s what you need to safely light up an indoor fire:
8 pieces of Big K kiln dried kindling
A box of matches
Ensure that all air vents (if you have them) in the fireplace are open. If you have an open fireplace then you are good to go obvs!
Put the logs on the bottom of the fireplace. The wood must be cleft and dry. The logs may be as thick as a fist or thicker.
Add a layer of small logs of about 4 cm, and then one or two layers of kindling. Remember that air is important – approx. 1 cm between the pieces of wood is the perfect spacing.
Put a couple of firelighters on top of the layer of kindling wood and light them up.
The last step is easy: after ignition, simply close the door if you have one. Always remember the fire should burn at full force at the start. If the air vents are not providing enough oxygen, be mindful to open the door to let more air in at the start. Once the fire gets going you can close the door and adjust from the vents to your desired output.
That’s about all she wrote. We’re not actually sure whom ‘she’ is however we’re sure you get the point. If you want to know more about smokeless fuel, check out this recent blog or this one as well. We hope the clouds of confusion are clearing, leaving you with some topnotch smokeless fuel knowledge.