Welke Briketten gebruik je het best? #start2bbq
WHICH BRIQUETTES DO YOU USE BEST?
In a previous post we looked at how to choose the right charcoal for your BBQ. A question that clearly is living in BBQ world, to my great surprise this post turned out to get a lot of attention. Thank you for that. But as you can read in this post there are some situations where the use of briquettes is recommended over the use of charcoal. So after the question which charcoal you can use the best, let’s take a look at which briquettes are recommended. What should you pay attention to when buying briquettes and which brands are recommended? Have fun reading.
Disclaimer: this post uses Affiliate links. All opinions expressed are personal or based on the experiences of users on the belgian BBQ forum.
To start with, let’s think about what briquettes are exactly. Contrary to charcoal, which we have known since childhood, briquettes have are not as familiar over here for those who aren’t familiar with the BBQ scene. Many Flemish people will probably never have heard of briquettes and do not know what the added value can be (read more about the latter here). Where charcoal consists of charred wood, briquettes are a processed version of this charcoal. By pressing under high pressure, the charred wood is pressed together with binder to form very compact shapes. As you could read in the previous post, the hardness of charcoal has a major influence on the fire quality. The harder the wood, the longer and more stable the charcoal will burn. In addition, briquettes all have the same size, which makes them more stable and easier to stack (e.g. for the snake method). This makes briquettes very suitable for low and slow sessions.
THESE 3 TIPS WILL HELP YOU MAKE YOUR CHOICE
COMMON BRIQUETTES VS. COCONUT BRIQUETTES
When looking for the best briquettes, you may have already noticed that there are two types of briquettes on the market. The regular charcoal briquettes and coconut briquettes. But what exactly is the difference? In contrast to normal briquettes, coconut briquettes are not made of wood. The name might suggest it. Coconut briquettes are made from the shell of a coconut and are therefore ecologically interesting. To make ordinary briquettes and charcoal you need a tree that needs to be cut down. With the coconut briquettes, the waste of a coconut (being the shell) is used, so no trees need to be chopped down. Anyway… I can hear you thinking it. Are those coconut briquettes good enough?
Yes, they are! Coconut briquettes have many advantages over regular briquettes. Actually, there is only one disadvantage compared to a series of advantages. Being the price. Although that’s also relative. The coconut briquettes often cost a little more than regular briquettes but burn longer, cleaner and harder compared to regular briquettes. But what does burning cleaner mean? On the one hand it means that they burn more stable, so less temperature fluctuations will be noticed during your session. On the other hand, they are less sensitive to flare-ups (flames) with dripping fat. As if that wasn’t enough, they also produce less ash (more about this later).
In a way, this part is also similar to the previous section. The composition of a briquette will largely influence its final functioning. As mentioned before, regular briquettes consist of pressed charcoal with binder. Often cheaper briquettes use cheaper products (e.g. lignite) or use more binding products to hold their form. Ok you may have cheaper briquettes but more binder also means more ash and that is where things might get nasty. More ash doesn’t just mean more waste in the end and/or a chance for dust to circulate in your BBQ falling on the meat. With cheaper briquettes, this ash can also attach itself around the briquette, causing it to extinguish in its own ash (a problem with the older weber briquettes, although this problem has been solved in the meantime). Here the coconut briquettes have the advantage that no binder is needed in the production of the briquettes so the amount of ash remains very low (+-5 percent).
Because briquettes are pressed charcoal or coconut shells, they can be pressed into different shapes. We distinguish four forms. The square blocks (Tom Cococha, ecobrasa and the former Flamy), the cushions (e.g.: Weber briquettes), the rods/tubes (e.g.: Greekfire, Hot Devil, Mc Brikket and Firebrand) and the discs (e.g.: Cobb briquettes)
- Square blocks: The advantage of the square blocks is that they stack easily. This makes them very suitable for the Snake method mentioned earlier which allows you to work at low temperature for a long time (e.g. to make Pulled Pork). However, the Tomcococha blocks are a bit small so this advantage disappears somewhat for this brand.
- Cushions: The cushions are a bit similar to the square blocks. These are often a bit larger and therefore easier to stack. Weber indicates that they use this unique shape to make the briquettes ignite faster (more oxygen can pass between them).
- Tubes: The tubes are made of pressed hardwood. Because of this they are often very difficult to ignite. The advantage, however, is that because of their shape they have a good “airflow” which makes them more suitable for high temperature grilling (+-300°C) and e.g. making pizza on the BBQ. On the other hand, when using these briquettes it is more difficult to get lower temperatures around 100°C in a regular BBQ.
- Disc shape: A final shape of briquettes is specially designed for the joy stove. These briquettes are formed into disk shapes with holes in them that are intended to be used in the Joy stove or Cobb stove. The Joy stove is a kind of table BBQ where these briquettes fit perfectly, the cobb stove is a different kind of BBQ that can be compared to a “stove” on which you can also grill.
EXPERIENCES OF BELGIAN BBQ LOVERS
After saying goodbye to the Flamy briquettes that were cherished by many BBQ lovers a void arose at first. This void was filled by the brand Ecobrasa which has recently won a lot of supporters when it comes to square coconut briquettes with the advantage over Tom Cococha (where I wrote this review about) that they are slightly larger. These would fit best with the widely acclaimed brand. In addition, the renewed Weber long lasting briquettes also have their supporters. I tested the renewed long lasting briquettes myself a while back and I can confirm their quality has improved a lot compared to a few years ago. They don’t extinguish in their own ashes anymore as before and generally burn nice and evenly. Greek Fire is often praised for low and slow as well as for its higher temperatures, although these are often not easy to obtain and more expensive to buy than their other counterparts. Although the greek fire briquettes can be reused after extinguishing them in water without loss of quality (something that is impossible with the other briquettes).
Hopefully this post could provide some more insight into the different types of briquettes. Above mentioned products are all described as qualitative. As far as price is concerned, I don’t notice that much difference between the different brands. So it’s a matter of looking for the shape and composition that suits you best. I don’t use briquettes anymore since they are not used in the devices I use (Kamado and Pellet BBQ). If there are any additions or objections I would like to hear all about it. Enjoy your next session! AND… if you like this post, please spread the word! I would highly appreciate this support!