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What Charcoal Do Chefs Use?

What Charcoal Do Chefs Use?

Rhodri Evans |

Charcoal ovens are a staple in professional kitchens, prized for their ability to reach high temperatures and impart a smoky flavor to dishes. This article explores the different types of charcoal used by chefs, the features of restaurant-grade lumpwood charcoal, and the various charcoal oven models available. We also delve into the purchasing process, including warranty and shipping policies, and provide insights into mastering charcoal cooking techniques.

Key Takeaways

  • Chefs prefer charcoal ovens for their temperature control and the unique smoky flavor they add to food.
  • Restaurant-grade lumpwood charcoal, made from a mix of woods like Chestnut, Ash, and Birch, is favored for its high carbon content and clean, hot burn.
  • When selecting charcoal, consider factors like the size of the pieces, ease of lighting, burn duration, and the type of wood used.
  • Charcoal oven models such as the Charlie Island Cabinet and the Professional Charlie Charcoal Oven offer versatility for both indoor and outdoor cooking.
  • Purchasing charcoal comes with considerations such as warranty terms, shipping availability, and the option for returns within a specified period.

Understanding Charcoal Ovens

charcoal oven in a professional kitchen

The Basics of Charcoal Ovens

When we talk about charcoal ovens, we're referring to a versatile cooking appliance that uses charcoal as its primary fuel source. These ovens are renowned for their ability to reach high temperatures and impart a distinctive smoky flavor to the food, which is highly sought after by culinary enthusiasts and professional chefs alike.

Charcoal ovens come in various designs, but they all share a common feature: the charcoal is placed on grates within the oven. This allows for both direct grilling over the flames and indirect cooking, utilizing the heat retained in the oven's chamber. The control over temperature is a significant advantage, enabling precise cooking conditions for a range of dishes.

The beauty of a charcoal oven lies in its simplicity and efficiency. It's not just about the heat; it's about the flavor and the experience of cooking with fire.

Here's a quick glance at what makes charcoal ovens a staple in many professional kitchens:

  • Ability to achieve higher temperatures than standard domestic ovens
  • Option to use wood alongside charcoal for added flavor and heat
  • Versatility in cooking methods: grilling, smoking, baking, and roasting

Whether you're looking to enhance your outdoor cooking setup or bring the robust flavors of charcoal into your professional kitchen, understanding the basics of charcoal ovens is the first step towards mastering this ancient cooking technique.

Advantages of Cooking with Charcoal

When we cook with charcoal, we're embracing a tradition that has stood the test of time in professional kitchens. The ability to control temperature is a significant advantage, allowing us to achieve the perfect sear or a gentle smoke. The smoky flavor that charcoal imparts to food is unparalleled, and it's a taste that can't be replicated with other cooking methods.

  • Restaurant grade charcoal offers higher heat output, longer burning time, and less ash.
  • It works with any grill, excels in high-heat searing, and is not recommended for indoor use.
  • Sustainable sourcing is crucial to prevent deforestation.

Another key benefit is the versatility of charcoal ovens. Not only can we grill directly over the fire for that classic chargrilled taste, but we can also cook indirectly, using the heat retained within the oven to bake or roast. This versatility extends to the types of fuel we can use; while charcoal is the primary source, adding wood can introduce new flavors and additional heat.

The high temperatures achievable in charcoal ovens make them ideal for a variety of cooking styles, from quick grilling to slow roasting, ensuring that every dish is cooked to perfection.

Lastly, the sustainability of our cooking practices is paramount. By choosing charcoal that is responsibly sourced from managed woodlands, we contribute to the preservation of forests and the overall health of our planet.

Charcoal Oven Varieties

When we explore the world of charcoal ovens, we find a delightful variety that caters to different culinary needs and preferences. From the compact Cheeky Charlie Tabletop Oven to the robust Charlie Professional Oven, there's an option for every chef and setting. The Charlie Island Cabinet, for instance, is a versatile choice for outdoor kitchens, seamlessly blending functionality with aesthetics.

  • Charlie Island Cabinet - Perfect for outdoor kitchens
  • Tabletop Base Cabinet - Ideal for smaller spaces
  • Cheeky Charlie Oven Tabletop - Compact and convenient
  • Charlie Charcoal Oven - A classic choice
  • Professional Charlie Charcoal Oven - For the serious chef

Each model offers unique features, such as the ability to double as a pizza oven or smoker, providing chefs with the flexibility to create a wide range of dishes. Whether it's the classic chargrilled taste from a charcoal barbecue or the smoky flavor of a slow-cooked brisket, these ovens are designed to enhance the culinary experience.

The beauty of charcoal ovens lies in their ability to impart a distinct smoky flavor while offering precise temperature control. This is what makes them a staple in professional kitchens, where achieving the perfect cook is paramount.

Selecting the Right Charcoal

close up of a small lumps of charcoal in a chefs hand

Factors to Consider When Choosing Charcoal

When we're on the hunt for the perfect charcoal, there are several factors we must consider to ensure our culinary creations are top-notch. Burn time and temperature are crucial; we want charcoal that ignites easily and maintains a consistent heat. The flavor profile is also important, as different woods can impart subtle nuances to our dishes.

  • Size and Quality: Look for a good mixture of large and small pieces. Large pieces burn longer, while smaller ones light more easily.
  • Sustainability: Opt for charcoal sourced from responsibly managed woodlands.
  • Chemical-Free: 100% natural charcoal enhances flavor without the risk of chemical additives.
We should always prioritize charcoal that burns cleanly and hot, providing that classic BBQ flavor without overwhelming the natural taste of the food.

Remember, the weight of charcoal can be deceiving due to varying densities; a lighter bag doesn't necessarily mean less charcoal. It's about finding the right balance for our needs.

Types of Charcoal Used by Chefs

In our quest to deliver the perfect barbecue experience, we've explored various types of charcoal to understand their unique properties and best uses. Lump charcoal is a favorite among chefs for its ability to light quickly and burn hot, providing a natural and robust flavor. It's available in a range of prices, from economical to premium, and its irregular lump shapes ensure a more authentic grilling experience.

Another popular choice is charcoal briquettes, known for their uniform size and shape, which allows for consistent heat distribution. Hardwood briquettes are a step up, offering a longer burn time and a slightly higher price point. Here's a quick rundown of the types of charcoal chefs prefer:

  • Lump charcoal - Quick lighting, high heat, natural flavor
  • Charcoal briquettes - Uniform heat, budget-friendly
  • Hardwood briquettes - Long burn, premium quality
We always recommend restaurant grade lumpwood charcoal for its large pieces and consistent burn, making it ideal for both home barbecues and professional catering.

When it comes to fueling flavor, chefs have a variety of options to choose from, each with its own set of benefits. Whether it's the classic BBQ taste from high carbon content charcoal or the convenience of briquettes, the right choice can elevate any culinary creation.

Restaurant Grade Lumpwood Charcoal Features

We understand the importance of using the right charcoal for achieving that perfect barbecue flavor. Our restaurant grade lumpwood charcoal is designed to meet the high standards of professional chefs and barbecue enthusiasts alike. Made from a mix of Chestnut, Ash, and Birch woods, it offers a good mixture of large and small pieces, ensuring an easy light and a long, consistent burn.

The high carbon content of our charcoal ensures it burns cleanly and hot, imparting a classic BBQ flavor that is highly sought after.

Here are some of the key features of our restaurant grade lumpwood charcoal:

  • High quality lumpwood charcoal.
  • Large pieces of hardwood for up to 4 hours of burning.
  • 100% natural & chemical free for enhanced flavor.
  • Easy to light and smoke free.
  • Sustainably sourced from responsibly managed woodlands.
  • Free delivery (excludes Highlands & Islands).

Whether you're a professional chef or a home barbecue aficionado, our charcoal is the ideal choice for a superior cooking experience.

Purchasing and Warranty Information

Purchasing and Warranty Information

What to Look for When Buying Charcoal

When we're on the hunt for quality charcoal, there are several key factors we always consider. Burn time and consistency are crucial; we look for charcoal that provides a long and steady heat. The size of the charcoal pieces is also important, as larger chunks tend to burn longer and more evenly.

Quality is non-negotiable. We seek out charcoal that is 100% natural and chemical-free, ensuring that the food retains its pure flavor. Sustainability is another aspect we prioritize, opting for products sourced from responsibly managed woodlands.

Here's a quick checklist to guide you:

  • Long burn time and consistent heat
  • Large, even-sized pieces
  • Chemical-free and natural
  • Sustainably sourced
Remember, the right charcoal can make all the difference in your cooking experience. It's not just about the heat; it's about the flavor and the peace of mind that comes with using a product that's good for the environment.

Customer feedback, like reviews from our customers, often highlight the light aroma and gentle sweetness of high-quality charcoal, which can enhance the overall taste of your barbecued dishes. Free delivery and customer support are additional perks that can influence our decision.

Mastering Charcoal Cooking Techniques

Mastering Charcoal Cooking Techniques

Benefits of High Carbon Content in Charcoal

We understand the importance of high carbon content in charcoal, especially when it comes to achieving that classic BBQ flavor. The very high carbon content burns cleanly and hot, ensuring your dishes are imbued with a distinctive smoky essence without the interference of unwanted odors or tastes. This is particularly crucial for us as chefs, as it allows us to maintain the integrity of our ingredients' natural flavors.

High carbon content also translates to a more efficient burn. Charcoal with high carbon content tends to be lightweight yet powerful, providing a long-lasting heat source. For instance, a 30 Litre bag of our restaurant grade lumpwood charcoal weighs approximately 10kg, but its volume is equivalent to around 7kg of normal charcoal, making it a deceptive yet effective choice for professional cooking.

When selecting charcoal, we always consider the size and quality. Restaurant grade charcoal is nearly always bigger, and size can matter significantly in cooking. Larger pieces ensure a consistent and extended burn time, which is essential for complex dishes that require sustained temperatures.

Here's a quick list of benefits that high carbon content charcoal provides:

  • Clean and hot burning for a classic BBQ flavor
  • Lightweight for its volume, offering deceptive efficiency
  • Large pieces ensure up to 4 hours of burning time
  • 100% natural and chemical-free, enhancing the overall flavor of the food
  • Sustainably sourced, reflecting our commitment to responsible cooking practices

Customer Reviews and Testimonials

We've gathered countless testimonials from satisfied customers who have experienced the transformative power of charcoal cooking. Customer satisfaction is our top priority, and the feedback we receive is a testament to the quality of our products. Gower Charcoal, in particular, has been praised for its pure, natural lumpwood charcoal, which is renowned for its purity, better burn, and the natural flavors it imparts to food. It's also celebrated for its eco-friendliness, making it a favorite among environmentally conscious chefs.

When it comes to making an informed decision, nothing speaks louder than the voices of those who have already walked the path. We invite you to join the ranks of satisfied chefs and home cooks by choosing our top-grade charcoal for your next grilling adventure.

Exploring Charcoal Oven Models

Exploring Charcoal Oven Models

Charlie Island Cabinet and Charcoal Oven

We've seen a surge in popularity for the Charlie Island Cabinet, a cornerstone of the outdoor kitchen concept. This unit is not only practical but also versatile, matching the aesthetics of our charcoal ovens. The Charlie Oven is the epitome of pure outdoor cooking pleasure, designed to cater to the diverse needs of grilling enthusiasts and professional chefs alike.

Our Charlie Island Cabinet is built to accommodate the premium restaurant-grade lumpwood charcoal, which is especially ideal for those in Bishopston and the broader South Wales area. Local delivery is available, ensuring that top-tier charcoal is just an order away for your professional or home BBQ needs.

The Charlie Oven revolutionizes outdoor cooking by combining the functions of a BBQ grill, smoker, charcoal oven, and pizza oven into one hand-built, fuel-efficient unit.

Here's a quick glance at the Charlie Oven range:

  • Charlie Charcoal Oven
  • Cheeky Charlie Tabletop Oven
  • Charlie Professional Oven

Each model is designed to integrate seamlessly into your outdoor cooking space, providing unmatched versatility and cooking excellence.

Tabletop and Professional Charcoal Oven Options

When we explore the options for charcoal ovens, we find a delightful range that caters to both the casual griller and the seasoned chef. The Cheeky Charlie Tabletop Oven is a compact solution perfect for small spaces or intimate gatherings. On the other hand, the Charlie Professional Oven offers robust features for those who take their grilling seriously.

Quality lumpwood charcoal provides consistent heat, subtle flavors, and ethical sourcing. Visual cues and FAQs help identify and choose the best charcoal for grilling. Whether you're looking to infuse a smoky flavor into your dishes or aiming for high-temperature searing, the right charcoal oven can make all the difference.

For those who demand versatility, the Charlie Island Cabinet and Tabletop Base Cabinet are excellent choices. These models integrate seamlessly into outdoor kitchens, providing a multifunctional cooking experience that includes grilling, smoking, and even baking pizzas.

Here's a quick glance:

  • Cheeky Charlie Oven Tabletop: Ideal for small patios or balconies.
  • Charlie Charcoal Oven: A staple for the avid griller.
  • Professional Charlie Charcoal Oven: Designed for high-volume cooking and professional use.

Outdoor Cooking with Charcoal Ovens

When we step outside to cook, the ambiance of open-air and the versatility of a charcoal oven combine to create an unparalleled culinary experience. Outdoor charcoal ovens are not just about the smoky flavor; they're a statement of lifestyle and a commitment to the art of cooking. With an outdoor charcoal oven, you can grill, smoke, bake, and even make pizzas, all while enjoying the great outdoors.

  • Grill to perfection with direct heat
  • Smoke meats with controlled temperature
  • Bake artisan breads and pizzas
Embrace the full spectrum of flavors and techniques that only outdoor charcoal ovens can provide. Whether it's a family gathering or a large social event, these ovens are designed to cater to all your cooking needs.

Our range includes models like the Charlie Island Cabinet and the Professional Charlie Charcoal Oven, each offering unique features for your outdoor kitchen. Remember, the best BBQ fuel for your outdoor kitchen is one that suits your cooking style and the demands of the dishes you love to prepare. Marienburg Organic Restaurant Grade Lumpwood BBQ Charcoal is a top choice for barbecues and pizza ovens, ensuring high heat and a clean burn.


In the quest to achieve the perfect smoky flavor and precise temperature control, chefs have a variety of charcoal options at their disposal. From the traditional restaurant-grade lumpwood charcoal made from a mix of Chestnut, Ash, and Birch woods to the innovative offerings of brands like Charlie Island and ProQ Smokers, there's a charcoal solution for every culinary need. Whether it's for a charcoal oven, BBQ, smoker, or grill, the right charcoal can elevate the cooking experience. Customers rave about the quality, ease of lighting, and consistent burn of these charcoals, underscoring their importance in professional and home kitchens alike.

With options like the Charlie Charcoal Oven that cater to outdoor cooking enthusiasts, the art of grilling is becoming more accessible and enjoyable. As we've seen, the choice of charcoal is not just about the heat—it's about the heritage, sustainability, and the flavor it imparts to the food, making it a crucial ingredient in the recipe for outdoor cooking pleasure.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a charcoal oven and how does it work?

A charcoal oven uses charcoal as its primary fuel source. The charcoal sits inside the oven on grates, allowing you to grill directly over the fire or cook indirectly using the heat held within the chamber. This method offers temperature control and imparts a smoky flavor to the food.

What are the benefits of cooking with a charcoal oven?

Cooking with a charcoal oven allows for high temperature control, achieving much higher temperatures than domestic ovens. It also provides a classic BBQ flavor due to the use of wood and charcoal, and can impart a light aroma and gentle sweetness to the food.

What should I consider when selecting charcoal for my oven?

When choosing charcoal, consider the carbon content for a clean and hot burn, the size and consistency of the charcoal pieces for ease of lighting and long burning, and the type of wood used to make the charcoal, which can affect flavor.

What types of charcoal are preferred by chefs?

Chefs often prefer restaurant grade lumpwood charcoal made from hardwoods like Chestnut, Ash, and Birch. This type of charcoal has a high carbon content for a clean burn and is lightweight, providing a long and consistent burn with classic BBQ flavor.

What warranty and support can I expect when purchasing a charcoal oven?

When purchasing a charcoal oven, look for a manufacturer that offers a solid warranty, typically around 3 years, as well as worldwide shipping options, a reasonable return policy, and customer support for any issues that may arise.

Are there any learning opportunities to master charcoal cooking techniques?

Yes, many manufacturers and cooking schools offer masterclasses and learning opportunities where you can learn to cook using charcoal ovens, perfecting techniques to enhance flavor and efficiency in outdoor cooking.