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A lesson on Japanese charcoal (Because BBQ season is approaching!!) - Page 2
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Thread: A lesson on Japanese charcoal (Because BBQ season is approaching!!)

  1. #11
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    mano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mhlee View Post
    Spike:

    In my experience, there's really no comparable charcoal in the states to Binchotan. First, Binchotan is extremely dense. A similar sized piece of mesquite would last probably 20% of the time of a similar piece of Binchotan. It's much denser (a 1 kg amount of binchotan fits in a small box). Also, when Binchotan burns, you can see that it is burning at a much higher temp - in a small Japanese grill, you only need three of four pieces. And the smell is noticeably less smoky. That's why, IMHO, it's an ideal smoking wood - the charoal wouldn't interfere with the wood.

    If I get my hands on some, I'll send you a few pieces so you can see firsthand. It's amazing stuff. It just costs A LOT.
    Smoking is low heat, so wouldn't the very high heat make it a poor match? What type of smoker do you use and what's your method? I'm using a Weber Smokey Mountain, Kingsford regular and assorted hardwoods.
    "Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough." —Mark Twain

  2. #12
    Senior Member Still-edo's Avatar
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    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?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crothcipt View Post
    Makes me wonder if the Blacksmiths in Japan use White binchotan, when they say charcoal forged.
    No they don't use binchotan, they use normal coal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Still-edo View Post
    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.
    Sounds great! If you do, you should get one in june. Korin will probably be doing a promotion.

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by mhlee View Post
    It is awesome. I think the thing that makes Binchotan unique is that it burns so cleanly and without much smoke; it provides a clean smoke flavor without off flavors that come from other charcoals.

    I also go to a yakitori restaurant close to my house in Gardena that exclusively uses Bichotan. The restaurant is Torimatsu.

    Since it's expensive, at home, I use it with a small Konro grill and cook things yakitori style such as tebasaki, shisito, nasu and sometimes seafood like scallops and shrimp.
    mmm... Sounds so good. :3

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    Quote Originally Posted by sachem allison View Post
    lights much faster if you use a propane or butane torch, this won't leave any residual taste or smell as the fuel is fully consumed in the flame. No chemicals in the food and you won't have to wait the hour to get it started.
    A butane torch? Really? I had no idea. I'll have to try it next time.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by mano View Post
    Smoking is low heat, so wouldn't the very high heat make it a poor match? What type of smoker do you use and what's your method? I'm using a Weber Smokey Mountain, Kingsford regular and assorted hardwoods.
    Smoking, in my experience, is about heat/air control. Just because it can reach high temperatures doesn't mean it needs to be used in such a manner. Binchotan is great for grilling because of it's ability to maintain high heat, however, that's when you basically leave it fully exposed to air where it has enough air and oxygen to fully burn. The other great aspects about it are (1) the clean smoke it provides - and a lot less smoke than other charcoals and (2) the ability for pieces to last a long time because of density.

    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.
    Michael
    "Don't you know who he is?"

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