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Restaurant Grade Charcoal

Restaurant Grade Charcoal

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Restaurant grade lump charcoal is a type of charcoal specifically designed for use in commercial settings, such as restaurants, where grilling and barbecuing are frequent activities. Here are some characteristics and features of restaurant grade charcoal:

  • Higher Heat Output: Restaurant grade lump charcoal is known for producing a higher heat output compared to regular charcoal. This is essential for commercial kitchens that require consistent and high temperatures for cooking.

  • Longer Burning Time: One of the main advantages of restaurant grade charcoal is its longer burning time. This means that chefs and cooks don't have to frequently replenish the charcoal, making it more efficient for long cooking sessions.

  • Less Ash Production: Quality restaurant grade charcoal tends to produce less ash compared to other types of charcoal. Less ash means easier cleanup and less interruption during the cooking process.

  • Consistency: Given that it's designed for professional use, restaurant grade charcoal often has more consistent lump sizes and quality. This ensures even burning and predictable cooking results.

  • Pure and Natural: Most restaurant grade charcoals are made from hardwoods without the addition of chemicals or binders. This ensures a clean burn and imparts a natural smoky flavour to the food.

  • Cost: Due to its higher quality and longer burn time, restaurant grade charcoal might be more expensive than regular charcoal. However, for commercial settings, the benefits often outweigh the cost.

  • Versatility: While it's designed for professional use, many home grill enthusiasts also prefer restaurant grade charcoal for its superior performance and flavour-enhancing properties.

Restaurant Grade Charcoal Q&A

What is restaurant grade charcoal?

Restaurant grade charcoal is a high quality type of charcoal made from dense hardwoods and manufactured to burn hotter, longer, and with less ash compared to standard charcoal briquettes. It provides consistent heat for grilling.

Why is it called restaurant grade charcoal?

It's called restaurant grade because it has characteristics important for restaurant use - reliability, consistency, and air pollution minimization. Restaurants rely on even, hot charcoal bed temperatures for preparing foods.

What types of wood are used to make restaurant grade charcoal?

Dense hardwoods like oak, hickory, maple, and mesquite are most commonly used for making restaurant grade charcoal. These give the charcoal high heat energy density. Occasionally fruit woods are used for smoked flavors.

Is restaurant grade charcoal better than regular charcoal?

Yes, restaurant grade charcoal is superior for grilling due to its predictable heat output, low sparks, and minimal ash production. It allows better airflow and heat control compared to typical charcoal briquettes.

Why does restaurant grade charcoal burn hotter?

It burns hotter because restaurant grade charcoal goes through a more thorough carbonization process and uses denser woods. This results in higher carbon content charcoal that provides more heat when burning.

How is restaurant grade charcoal made?

Restaurant grade charcoal is made using special high temperature kilns for controlled wood pyrolysis. The wood is carbonized into almost pure carbon. Precise air injection during production maximizes carbon while minimizing other byproducts.

Where can you buy restaurant grade charcoal?

Restaurant grade charcoal can be purchased from specialty grilling and barbecue suppliers, hardware stores, and online retailers. It is more readily available than in the past due to the popularity of kamado style grills.

Is restaurant grade charcoal more expensive?

Yes, restaurant grade charcoal typically costs more per pound compared to standard charcoal. But because it burns more efficiently, the higher upfront cost is offset by potential fuel savings over time.

Does restaurant grade charcoal light faster?

Restaurant grade charcoal is made for steady efficient burning rather than quick lighting. Using a charcoal chimney starter is recommended for fast lighting. Restaurant charcoal takes a bit longer to fully ignite.

What are lump charcoal and briquettes?

Lump charcoal comes in irregular chunks made from burning whole wood. Briquettes are manufactured into uniform shapes by compressing ground charcoal with a binding agent. Both can be found in restaurant grade options.

Why does restaurant grade charcoal produce less ash?

The dense hardwoods and production process used for restaurant grade charcoal results in very little non-combustible material, minimizing ash. Less ash also makes temperature control easier.

Is restaurant grade charcoal better for smoking?

The high and even heat output of restaurant grade charcoal can provide a great base fire for low, slow smoking. It allows precise temperature adjustment. Flavor woods can be added on top.

Does restaurant grade charcoal burn cleaner?

Yes, the thorough carbonization and low impurities of restaurant grade charcoal make it burn cleaner. Less smoke and air pollutants are produced, making it better for both health and the environment.

Can you reuse unused restaurant grade charcoal?

Unused restaurant grade charcoal can be reused for future grilling sessions. Unlit pieces or coals that are still burning can be saved and restoked later. It relights well due to the dense carbon content.

Are there synthetic restaurant grade charcoal products?

Some companies make synthetic charcoal using materials like coconut shell. While they can provide consistent results, traditional wood-based restaurant grade charcoal is generally preferred.

Is less charcoal needed with restaurant grade?

Restaurant grade charcoal has higher energy density so less may be required compared to regular charcoal to achieve the same heat. It's so efficient that using the same amount as standard charcoal can make it burn too hot.

Does restaurant grade charcoal work for any grill?

Restaurant grade charcoal works with any charcoal grill or smoker. Certain grills like kamados are especially well suited for using restaurant grade charcoal due to their heat retention abilities.

Where is most restaurant grade charcoal produced?

The United States and South America are the primary producers of restaurant grade charcoal. American-made charcoal tends to use local North American hardwoods. South American production utilizes rainforest woods. In the UK charcoal suppliers like Hillside Woodfuels produce locally sourced and ethical restaurant grade charcoal from FSC Certified forests.

Is it necessary to buy special grilling tools for restaurant grade charcoal?

Quality grilling tools are always a wise investment, but no specialized items are needed just for restaurant grade charcoal. Standard grilling tools and equipment work perfectly fine.

Can you make DIY restaurant grade style charcoal?

It is possible to make higher quality DIY charcoal by using dense seasoned hardwood and carefully controlling the burning process. But true restaurant grade charcoal requires specialized production facilities unavailable to most people.

What's the difference between raw wood and charcoal as fuel?

Charcoal has gone through pyrolysis to turn the wood into nearly pure carbon, concentrating its energy density and allowing it to burn hotter. Raw wood contains other compounds that affect burning.

Does restaurant grade charcoal form a lot of crust on food?

Not necessarily. The high heat allows searing and caramelization. But crust formation depends more on grill setup and proximity of food to the charcoal bed. Indirect heat prevents excess crust.

Can you use restaurant grade charcoal in a charcoal smoker?

Absolutely. Restaurant grade charcoal maintains excellent steady temperatures perfect for low and slow smoking. Its consistency helps hold heat throughout long barbecue cooks.

Does restaurant grade charcoal have a longer shelf life?

Properly stored in a dry place, both restaurant and standard grade charcoal can last for years before use. Hardwood charcoals have naturally longer shelf lives than faster burning softwoods.

What food or cuisine is restaurant grade charcoal especially suited for?

It excels at high heat searing of steaks, burgers, vegetables, and other grilled items. But restaurant grade charcoal works for all grilling and smoking recipes that use a charcoal heat source.

Is it safe to use restaurant grade charcoal indoors?

No, restaurant grade charcoal should only be used outdoors in a grill or smoker. Like any charcoal, it gives off toxic carbon monoxide when burned and requires proper ventilation.

Does restaurant grade charcoal contribute to deforestation?

Sustainably sourced restaurant grade charcoal utilizes recycled hardwood or sawmill residues. But some production can contribute to deforestation where charcoal demand promotes unsustainable logging.

Can restaurant grade charcoal be used for purposes other than grilling?

It's mainly designed and suited for grilling and smoking. However, high carbon charcoals like restaurant grade have some applications in filtration, artistic drawing, or even soil enhancement.

Are there any accessories that improve restaurant grade charcoal performance?

High quality natural lump charcoal starters can help ignite it efficiently. Use of an adjustable charcoal basket can optimize air flow and heat distribution at the grill grate.

Does restaurant grade charcoal produce less smoke?

Well-made restaurant grade charcoal will produce very little smoke after the initial ignition stage. More smoke results from irregular shapes, binders, and lower carbon content in cheaper charcoals.

Can restaurant grade charcoal be burned down and reused like standard charcoal?

It's possible, but less ideal. Ash accumulation can inhibit air flow, and leftover charcoal may be small pieces that don't burn as consistently. Fresh restaurant grade charcoal is preferred.

Is less lighter fluid needed with restaurant grade charcoal?

Lighter fluid is never recommended, but if used a lighter coating is needed with restaurant grade as too much will overwhelm the charcoal and affect flavor. Better to use a chimney starter without fluid.

Does restaurant grade charcoal work with gas grill add-on smoker boxes?

Yes, it can be placed in gas grill smoker boxes to provide an authentic charcoal smoked flavor to foods cooked on a gas grill. Chunk shapes may work better than small briquettes.

Is less charcoal needed for the same cooking time if using restaurant grade?

Often less charcoal is needed for equivalent cook times since restaurant grade burns more efficiently with higher heat output. But amounts can vary depending on grill type, ventilation, and cooking temperature.

Can you make restaurant grade charcoal burn at standard charcoal temperatures?

Yes, with proper grill ventilation and airflow control, restaurant grade charcoal can be tuned down to approximate traditional charcoal cooking temps. Start with smaller amounts until dialed in.

Does restaurant grade charcoal produce more, less, or equal grill flavor compared to standard charcoal?

It produces equal true grilled flavor since flavor comes from food juices and wood smoke, not the charcoal itself. Consistent heat maximizes flavor results.

Can you mix restaurant grade charcoal with standard charcoal for grilling?

It's possible but not ideal, as the differing burn characteristics can lead to uneven heating. Best to use 100% restaurant grade charcoal for performance consistency.