Briquettes are an excellent source for BBQ flames. By using briquettes instead of gas or electricity, energy is saved. Unlike regular charcoal lumps that may be difficult to keep burning, briquettes are designed to burn very hot, making the smoke emitted less strong also. Burning plain wood chips gives an uneven cooking pattern, as may gas and electric components. Evenly spreading charcoal briquettes will ensure a thorough and consistent cooking pattern throughout food. Briquettes are easy to light and maintain. Since they contain fuel substances, they must only be lit and allowed to burn until they develop a whitish cast, indicating they are ready for barbecuing. It is important to allow the briquettes to become completely ready before using them; failing to do so will result in an undesirable taste in the food.
Charcoal briquettes are the most popular type sold and purchased. Made of a mixture of charcoal, wood, sodium nitrate, minerals and fuel substances. These ingredients are packed together in fine grade, equally distributed throughout the texture. Some brands of charcoal briquettes burn for a shorter amount of time than others. Most bags will specify the life expectancy of the product. As a general rule, good charcoal briquettes should last between 40 minutes and an hour once they are ready. The coal component of this type allows for a long-lasting flame. Those who prefer a smoky flavor may want to cover the barbecue for a short amount of time.
Another variation of charcoal briquettes includes certain types of wood mixed in with the charcoal. Woods that are famous for the delectable smoking tastes, such as hickory and beech are popular. With wood mixture charcoal briquettes, the need for extensive seasoning and marinating is not necessary. These types of briquettes often burn for a shorter amount of time than regular charcoal briquettes, but not by much.
Wood briquettes are another choice, perhaps the most environmentally friendly, for those who are concerned about environmental toxins. This type will not burn as long as charcoal or charcoal mix briquettes. Wood burns fairly quickly, usually two or three times as fast as the charcoal pieces. However, these types of briquettes do yield an unrivaled smoky flavor to anything they barbecue.
One newer type of briquette that is gaining popularity quickly is the ceramic briquette. These will last longer and are not messy at all. They are said to “clean themselves” because of how efficient they are. Giving off a very hot heat, they burn very clean and do not produce smoke. People who desire a non-smoky flavor to their food usually prefer ceramic after they have tried them once.
Another briquette type that is easy to burn is Irish peat. This choice is also environmentally-friendly, with low sulfur emissions. They will not produce black smoke or soot when they have burned down. Peat is a very dry substance that will burn clean and hot, often for longer periods of time than wood briquettes. These briquettes are all-natural and do not contain some of the more harmful particles that charcoal substances do.
Choosing the right type of briquette depends on the personal preferences of each individual. Smoky flavors are best attained by wood briquettes, while a more traditional taste is found in charcoal briquettes. A simple and subtle taste is best attained with ceramic, while a slightly smoky and earthy taste is found in Irish peat briquettes. Both mixed and charcoal briquettes are lower in price than wood, ceramic or peat. Charcoal types that include extra fuel for instant lighting may be slightly more expensive than their regular counterparts. Ceramic, peat and wood briquettes are often harder to find than regular charcoal. They are also higher in price. Usually stores that sell barbecue units and supplies will carry special types of briquettes. The best way to decide which type is right is to simply test them all out and use the trial and error method. Another factor to consider is the type of barbecue being used. If the barbecue is a pit, it is best to choose briquettes that are easier to clean out. Regular charcoal types create a sooty and difficult problem when cleaning of pits or large built-in barbecues is involved.