"Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough." —Mark Twain
Ok after I get a fancy gyuto I will get one of these yakitory bbq doo hickys.
Random knowledge. Not sure if it's true. But from what I understand, throughout the history of Asia wood fuel has been scarce. So thats why almost everything is cooked high heat and very fast, or not even cooked with fire at all.
Am I the only one who searched for The Edge from U2 and ended up here?
Those two characteristics make this an ideal smoking charcoal unlike other charcoals, such as mesquite, that don't last very long, produce a strong smelling (and sometimes acrid) smoke. This allows you as a cook to impart a more pure wood smoke than charcoal smoke to your food and this, IMHO, is what you want when you barbecue or smoke foods.
I have an old school Weber Performer and XLG BGE. I've grilled over Binchotan several times and can personally attest to its burning characteristics. Even in a grill with low airflow characteristics, it does not produce as much smoke or as strong a smelling smoke and can burn for a long time - the same size piece of Binchotan lasted much, much longer than a similar sized piece of Kingsford; I estimate about 5 to 6 times as long. Even yakitori places, where food is cooked directly over a rather large amount of Binchotan, don't reek of smoke.
One other thing is that because the pieces are generally of relatively similar density, you get a more consistent temperature as well.
The real issue with using Binchotan for barbecuing a larger amount of food is cost and making sure unlit charcoal burns because, as previously referred to by others, it is a real PITA to light - it needs to be indirect contact with other lit pieces of Binchotan to light. (It generally won't light even if in direct contact with regular charcoal - I've tried - because regular charcoal doesn't get hot enough. You need to light it with a torch or put it directly on a gas burner to light in my experience.)
I haven't yet smoked/barbecued with it but I intend to soon. And if it sucks, I'll be the first one to admit it.
"Don't you know who he is?"