At Big K, we’re constantly striving to make the perfect BBQ charcoal. Recently, we’ve been working hard on our new range of briquettes, creating innovative new products that are driving the BBQ experience forwards.
Our new Au Natural and Au Natural Applewood briquettes are a direct result of these efforts. In this blog post, we’ll explain what makes these new kinds of briquettes different, and why we’re so proud of the results that they deliver.
How briquettes are made
Not all briquettes are created equal. There are different shapes of briquettes and different manufacturing styles that produce them.
Two main styles of briquettes dominate the industry: traditional oval or pillow shaped briquettes; and a new style, like our Au Natural products. This new style comes in different shapes and sizes, like hexagonal or square. But the unifying feature of this new style is that it’s made in a completely different way to traditional briquettes.
Traditional BBQ briquettes: the basics
Traditional oval or pillow briquettes are manufactured from charcoal fines. These fines are very small pieces of charcoal which are crushed and mixed with vegetable starch or water. This mix gets passed through a press to form the traditional oval shape. It’s then dried to create each individual briquette.
These briquettes are very popular in the home market, as they are uniform in shape and size. They work especially well in closed lid or smoke style barbecues. These briquettes maintain a consistent heat, and often last longer than natural lumpwood charcoal.
However, the disadvantage of these kinds of briquettes is that the starch contained within, which is needed as a binder, can often produce a smell when it is lit. Plus, these briquettes will not reach as high a temperature as natural lumpwoods, potentially leading to longer cook times.
The new kid on the block: compressed briquettes
Compressed briquettes, like our Au Natural range, use a totally different manufacturing technique. The process starts with collecting waste wood sawdust. This base material is then used to create sustainable and environmentally friendly charcoal briquettes.
To manufacture these briquettes, the sawdust is compressed under high pressure and heat. This releases natural resin from the wood, binding the sawdust together to create the shaped briquette. The formed briquette logs are then carbonised into charcoal.
No starch is used in this process whatsoever, creating a totally odourless and natural briquette. The density of the briquettes gives longer cooking times than conventional charcoal and traditional briquettes. Plus, the central hole makes these briquettes easier to light and gives an even burn across the entire barbecue.
Big K’s Au Natural range
In the production process of these new compressed briquettes there are no additives, chemicals or binders required at all… That’s why we’ve called the Big K range Au Natural, and why we believe it’s the way forward for BBQ briquettes.
The original blend Au Natural briquettes are our longest lasting charcoal product. They’re perfect if you’re cooking for a party and need to keep your BBQ going, or if you’re cooking low and slow in a closed barbecue. They are also ideal for restaurants, festivals and events. These briquettes do need a high heat to light, and they take longer to get going than lumpwood charcoal, but they provide seriously long cook times.
Our Au Natural briquettes are also now available in an Applewood blend. This blend uses coppiced and end of life applewood waste, and is easier to light, reaching cooking temperature even quicker. It doesn’t last quite as long as the original Au Natural briquettes, but still packs tons of mouth-watering cooking performance. To find out more about Au Natural Applewood, check out our recent video with celebrity chef Theo Michaels.
That’s the low down on how our new BBQ briquettes are made, and what makes them so unique. We’d love to hear what you think about our new Au Natural briquettes. You can review them on their product pages on our site, or let us know on social media.