Getting The Best Results With Lump Charcoal
Fall is in the air, and family gatherings abound. Grilling is a favorite past time for family gatherings and one product that any griller is sure to need for their next grilling will be lump charcoal. Shown to be far better than traditional charcoal, this fuel is sure to improve and impress your next stab at the grill! Outdoor cooking has advanced over the years due to the improvement of cooking equipment, accessories and techniques. However, the ideal fuel for this type of grilling or barbecuing has remained the same: charcoal.
Charcoal is preferred because it helps the meat achieve and retain an authentic barbecue flavor. Moreover, the fuel source provides a controlled source of heat which limits the risk of burning the food. On the other hand, charcoal comes in different forms which perform differently. The most idyllic type that you should consider for your barbecue is lump charcoal. Lump Charcoal is made from the trimmings of dense hardwood trees with no other additives put into them. These pieces are then charred to perfection to make them ready to use. Nowadays many seasoned grillers have elected to use hardwood lump charcoal over traditional briquettes in many traditional grilling situations. And with the heavy competition among kamado grills, lump charcoal is definitely top of mind for many grillers. Here are critical details that you should understand with regard to lump charcoal.
What is Lump Charcoal?
In general, charcoal is a substance of primarily pure carbon which is made by burning wood while excluding oxygen. The high carbon quantity emits more heat energy compared to the same quantity of pure wood. The charcoal comes in two primary forms: lump and briquette charcoal. Lump charcoal is the pure product of the burning process and therefore, a more advantageous source of grilling heat. In simple terms, the chunks of wood which are burnt are the units of lump charcoal. The briquette alternative is essentially charcoal which is ground and compressed into even briquettes. The ground wood char is mixed with an ignition aid like sodium nitrate, binder like starch and limestone for visual ashing.
While it is costlier than ordinary briquettes or standard charcoal, lump charcoal catches light almost as quickly as a gas stove does, it stays hotter for longer than any standard fire and it offers the food you’re cooking with it a unique and delicious aroma that speaks of forests and nature rather than commercially made chemicals and smoky pollution. Think of slow cooking a fresh piece of trout or salmon, or even baking a batch of hard vegetables, like potatoes and butternuts. No problem! The lump charcoal makes the skill of slow cooking a true delight. But further, that big extra bonus of being kind to the environment means that your fire burns cleaner, so you can enjoy that camping trip or that garden party with less eco-guilt.
And after the meal? Clean up is a no hassle business with a lot less ash than a standard fire produces. The whole exercise of doing the barbecue will become one about food, friends and family, rather than the fag of bringing out the equipment and worrying about cleaning it all up afterwards. With lump charcoal, it’s a no mess, no fuss deal, and the food tastes magnificent.
Preparation and use
Lump charcoal is generally sold in large bags that will have a mix of larger and smaller pieces. The key to beginning right is to determine first what you are going to grill. For searing meats and shorter cooking, you will want to focus more on the smaller pieces, and break up some of the larger pieces. If a longer cooking time will be needed, use the smaller pieces to get the fire and temperature up, then add in the larger pieces to give a long sustaining burn. A charcoal chimney can be used to aid in getting the pieces burning up to temperature quicker.
You should prepare and light the lump charcoal about twenty minutes before starting the actual grilling to ensure the consistency of the heat. When starting the fire, never use lighter fluid or newspapers because they have distinctive scents. Instead, invest in an electric or a chimney starter for the task. Once you purchase your lump charcoal, you can use it almost indefinitely. However, ensure that the fuel is stored in a dry place to prevent deterioration.
Advantages of Lump Charcoal
It burns hotter
One of the most obvious benefits to using lump charcoal is its ability to heat up quickly and burn at a much higher temperature than traditional charcoal briquettes will. In a usual situation you can get a cooking temperatures up as high as 800 to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit with traditional briquettes, while temperatures as high as 1400 degrees can be achieved with lump charcoal. For the seasoned pro this can be a big benefit for several different cooking scenarios. Lump charcoal burns significantly hotter than briquettes in the barbecue grill because of the purity of the carbon. This is a useful aspect when you are searing your meat on the cooking equipment. The process will also be faster when air is flowing efficiently, so you can prepare more food within a shorter period of time. If you have a small grill with limited space for residue ash, it is more prudent to choose the lump type. The consumption of the material is more thorough and leaves little ash.
For those times that you are cooking steaks or other meats where you want to get a very nice searing effect while still maintain more of a juicy center, these higher temperatures are the best scenario. The higher temperature allows for the moisture and flavors to be locked in as the outside sears perfectly.
It burns cleaner
Because there are no additives whatsoever put into the mix, meals cooked with lump charcoal have no bitter or sour taste that can be left in food cooked with traditional briquettes. This also makes it a very ideal product to use for smoking or long grilling situations where exposure over the smoke is prolonged. Made from natural hickory, oak or other types of American hardwood, lump charcoal, which is also known as chunk charcoal, is charcoal, only much better. Ramping up the quality of your fire to new heights, this king of all charcoals is completely natural – there are no bits of building rubble or broken pieces of disused furniture here – and the result is a light-weight, fairly large and shiny piece of carbon that burns cleaner.
It burns quicker
When using lump charcoal, getting the grill ready cook with has never been faster. With only a match and some concentrated air flow, or the use of a charcoal chimney on the grill, you can easily get the grill ready to cook in as little as 15 minutes. Nobody likes to wait around for the meal, so this makes it ideal to use especially for gatherings or meals where timing is important.
It burns longer
Another benefit that novices and pros alike enjoy is that lump charcoal will burn for longer periods of time, so it makes it an ideal choice for slow cooking. The key having success with lump charcoal is controlling the heat and temperature. This can easily be down by restricting airflow into the coals.
A great all around product
Most grillers agree whether they are new to grilling, or they have been doing so for years, that in most situations lump charcoal is the superior choice. It is perfect for obtaining meats with moist centers and perfectly seared outsides, and it can produce a very consistent result for slow cooking/smoking recipes, and best of all it gives the perfect wood fire smoke flavor that is natural and clean.
On the other hand, lump charcoal is not completely without drawbacks. The cost of this type of product is slightly higher compared to briquettes. This aspect can be a limiting factor in some situations. However, the quality of the grilling results achieved can overshadow the pertinent cost difference.