Binchotan Charcoal

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madelinez

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Can you light this charcoal by just placing it directly on a standard indoor gas burner without any fancy equipment? I've seen guides saying it takes about 30 minutes before it's self-sustaining.

Any general tips for grilling on a Konro yakitori bbq?
 

rob

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You could, but i certainly wouldn't be doing it indoors. Binchotan tends to snap crackle and pop and i could imagine it setting fire to your kitchen.

I find it takes a bit longer to get going compared with other charcoal, I've had the best results getting it lit in a chimney starter on a wok burner outdoors.

In terms of tips make sure it is completely lit (turned white) before placing in the Konro, this normally takes about 20 minutes. Also a general tip would be to make sure you have all of your ingredients prepared beforehand as once you start cooking the heat is incredibly high and things cook very quickly. I would suggest pork and chicken yakitori as a great meal on the Konro.

Lastly, i love cooking on mine and find the whole process really rewarding.
Good luck!
 

Carl Kotte

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I have one of those small saucer looking things with holes in it that I’ve placed on my gas stove to get the coal going. I really don’t like doing it and I think twice before doing it. Fan maxed and windows open (in all other rooms) make it bearable but still kind of unpleasant.
 

Bear

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Wow, first time I've seen these, so you use them indoors?
My egg lighter(not for indoor use)
 

Carl Kotte

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By pure accident I just met the guy behind the looftlighter (at the playground). Does anyone know whether they work?
 

Tristan

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Wow, first time I've seen these, so you use them indoors?
Traditionally used on stovetop. Usually there would be a window in the kitchen so keep that fully open to avoid carbon monoxide. Konros take very little charcoal so the few pieces don’t pose a risk so long as there is a window.
 

MontezumaBoy

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I find it takes a bit longer to get going compared with other charcoal, I've had the best results getting it lit in a chimney starter on a wok burner outdoors.
I use the chimney starter as well with a few pieces of lump/brickets at the bottom to start. Takes some time given the combustion but then I just transfer with tongs and place them in the konro.

As for grilling on a konro / I bought the large (36" ?) and do a two zone heat with piled high and low to allow for searing / finishing. my $0.02

I use both the stainless mesh grills & steel skewers (flat) sized to sit on the sided (for me bamboo/wood skewers never hold up soaked or not). Also being able to re-use charcoal is great ... I will often use the re-used bits for my low temp zone FWIW ...
 

pleue

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Korin sells lots of different grades. Also note, you can extinguish (throw in water) binchotan when you're done and re-use it later. Agreed on not starting it indoors, it pops a lot as it gets started. You can start it by starting regular charcoal in a chimney, dumping it out and gathering it under the chimney and then loading the binchotan inside. Cooking something without a lot of fat may help you get to know the grill a bit before adding that dimension to it. Chicken hearts would be good or cut up hanger steak or something. Vegetables are also a good place to start. Cut and skewer things before hand. You can foil your grill sides if you want it to clean up easy (thick foil).
 

Bert2368

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I would NEVER start charcoal indoors, it is one of the classic ways to experience Carbon monoxide poisoning. A very little bit of CO goes a long way, it has about 400X the affinity for sticking to hemoglobin than Oxygen, will build up even if there is very little CO and plenty of O2 in your vicinity- Even with your windows open. Why risk this? Plus, the snap crackle and pop which lump charcoal does when lighting up has ruined more of my (synthetic fiber) clothes than I can remember. All my Polartec pullovers look like the opening of original Star Trek when I'm putting them on, from grilling in the cold months...

I light mine outdoors, using a propane torch. Light a few pieces in the bottom of a starter chimney or even a big tin can with holes punched into it, then put more charcoal on top of the burning bits you started with the torch. In my experience, within 30 minutes, they should all be ready to cook.

In a clean Webber type grill, I just pile up the charcoal on the bottom grate and stick a lit torch nozzle through one of the open vent holes as close to center underneath charcoal as possible. Takes maybe 2 minutes to start the bottom layer, the rest get going in another 20 or so.
 

big D

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I am so tired of all of the constant warnings of things which I feel are so very overblown out of proportion, I was a bit reluctant to post these.

I went on a search to find out if this charcoal was smokeless and these are the first two which I clicked on. You may wish to read them and confirm that your space is adequate enough to cause you no concerns.

start at second comment

read top section before square insert and then to heading- smokeless

Best wishes
D.
 

Bert2368

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I know a little bit about charcoal and making charcoal- Because it is a major ingredient in black powder and several fireworks mixtures, a rather different application. My experience of Japanese charcoal is with hemp or Paulownia sp. for fast powder and pine charcoals for long lasting spark effects.

From the description of making this "binchotan" material, it is not so much the wood species, but is what you get when a dense hard wood sourced charcoal is cooked completely free of volatiles, then further heated without enough Oxygen to burn to the red hot point where the Carbon molecular structure rearranges to a graphitic type structure. Damned hard to light, useless for black powder, rocket fuel or stars, great for smelting Iron from ore, making or forging steel.

You might be able to take commercial USA lump hardwood charcoal and cook it at a very high temperature, driving off the remaining volatiles to make your own version of this fuel. I used to make such hard, glassy, shiny fracture and "clinky" sounding coal by packing an old Dutch oven with hard wood, covering and placing it in the firebox of a locomotive type steam boiler where the flame would heat the Iron red hot for a couple of firing cycles.
I am so tired of all of the constant warnings of things which I feel are so very overblown out of proportion, I was a bit reluctant to post these.
I have had CO poisoning twice, once from a gasoline engine driven air compressor operated by a careless French person on Martinique while SCUBA diving, once from sleeping in a diesel tractor which had developed leaks in the exhaust system under the sleeper cab. It is not something to be trifled with. Hyperbaric chambers suck, avoid them.
 
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big D

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@Bert2368
It was the fact that the very first two things I turned up both cautioned about the CO, which is why I decided to post the links for investigation. I thought that it may be possibly valid. Thanks for taking all the time to write about the binchotan...interesting.
Thank you
D.
 

btbyrd

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+1 again for not starting it inside because of popping. I would also not use the grill inside unless you're sure that you have adequate ventilation. Charcoal grills are a not unpopular tool for killing yourself.
 

btbyrd

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The aramaru binchotan from Korin has the best bang for the buck. It's better and more satisfying than extruded "bincho" (like Korin's sumi or Ricker's Thaan, [though sumi is better than Thaan]) but isn't nearly as expensive as the white oak binchotan. And it's purdy.

IMG_7459.jpg
 

MontezumaBoy

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Where is the best source for thus charcoal?

id like to try some.

Jon/JKI has carried it in the past (I have a bunch) see this post/contact Mr Broida ... I love cooking with the stuff he sold me - hard as a rock/dense/etc. ...

Sent you a PM with the same info.
 

Bert2368

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I got interested and am now overthinking this, probably. Got some questions? Never even HEARD of this before today.

I understand the cooking/cooling process for these charcoals.

Looking at the 30 varieties offered at Korin, I see the hierarchy being, first, whole branches yielding about .75" or 20mm sticks of round charcoal, then halved larger branches split to smaller size, then split logs, finally, lump charcoal of irregular size/shape and lastly, for the undiscerning gaijin such as myself, extruded sticks of ground charcoal (Kingsford 様式).

Round sticks = most burning surface per approximate same dimension/weight of sticks, which might = highest heat output, other factors being equal?

If any have knowledge of the sourcing of wood for this product? Are trees grown and harvested solely for this use, perhaps as the smaller branches harvested from "copiced" oak trees as was done in pre industrial age Europe?


Or is wood for this charcoal a byproduct of trees felled whole for other uses, made from the slash and trim of trunks destined for use as lumber?

If the wood is being harvested primarily for charcoal making, do the foresters prefer to do this at a particular TIME OF YEAR? Summer harvested wood has significant ammounts of sugars and other chemicals stored in the sap wood, plus the bark falls off easily upon drying. Winter harvested wood will have less sugar & etc. in sapwood and the bark will remain tight to the pieces.
 
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lowercasebill

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By pure accident I just met the guy behind the looftlighter (at the playground). Does anyone know whether they work?
Yes it works. I use map gas and the looftlighter to start my BGE. I did a test for BGE forum years ago. About 3 minutes for either one. Using both works great start a spot with map and then put looftlighter to it the fan really gets it going
 

Bert2368

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I took a quick look at Looftlighters. I wondered about the rather wide range in price and different appearances. I had NO idea until now that Chinese were counterfeiting every successful BBQ tool and device they ever learn of, but I should have guessed.

 

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madelinez

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So to update this thread, the electric charcoal starter doesn't work. I ended up putting 4 smaller pieces on the gas stove indoors for about 15 minutes. I kept all the windows open and the extractor fan on, although it's clearly got risks as per the above post.

Once the charcoals had turned white/orange I added to the grill with some new charcoal and used a little battery fan to increase airflow for another 15 minutes before finally getting up to temp.
 
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