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New to charcoal, need help!

Omnivore

Meat Mopper
250
192
Joined Jul 11, 2019
Hi folks!

I recently purchased a small, portable yakitori grill that I'm pretty excited about. I am guilty of only using a gas grill in the past so I'm know nothing when it comes to selecting charcoal. I started reading about what kind of charcoal to use for yakitori grilling and the real deal stuff, binchotan, is prohibitively spendy so that's out of the question. Next type I looked at was Pok Pok Thaan charcoal (saw mention of this style in a thread on here a while ago) but the downside it that it takes a good 45 minutes to get a little bit of charcoal going. So I'm not sure what other styles I should look at. (The Pok Pok Thaan stuff is $50 for 22 pounds which is about double what I paid for the grill :emoji_astonished:). I'll be cooking little skewers of meat, so I don't need charcoal that's going to burn for hours and hours, but I would like something that gets super hot where I can quickly get a good char on the meat without having it hang out on the grill for too long. The grill is stainless steel (it's a portable, cheapo thing) so there's not much there for insulation if that matters. Anyone have any recommendations?
 

JckDanls 07

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
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Joined Sep 10, 2011
First of all... where do you hail from ?? As I have never heard of that grill or any of those kind of charcoals ... As said above... for a really hot quick sear.. lump would be your best bet ...
 

Chasdev

Smoking Fanatic
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Joined Jan 18, 2020
I saw a video on how they make it in Japan, mind blowing is all I can say.
A piece or stick of it broken in half, the interior looks just like polished black glass.
When done cooking the charcoal is dunked in water to put it out and when dried off it's good as new with very little turned to ash.
Many uses from each piece.
Very spendy but I am SO tempted to buy some after watching that NHK show.
 

GonnaSmoke

Meat Mopper
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Joined Sep 19, 2018
At around $5/lb, binchotan is the world's most expensive charcoal and pok pok is not far behind. As others have noted, any lump will work just fine and won't break the bank. Don't know where you live, but Walmart sells the Royal Oak lump and it will work just fine. I buy it locally and I order Harder Charcoal online https://www.hardercharcoal.com/.

Just note that lump burns pretty hot so keep an eye on whatever you're cooking.
 

SmokingUPnorth

Smoking UPNorth
SMF Premier Member
491
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Joined Dec 7, 2017
Lump burns hotter. But even briquettes are fine. I wouldn’t say charcoal is charcoal but to a certain point for me at least it is. I like royal oak if I can find it. I’ve even Ben using GFS brand and have liked it, it’s a little ashy but for price and what I use it for its great.
 

SecondHandSmoker

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Joined Jun 30, 2018
As everyone said above, use lump charcoal.
I use FOGO black bag lump charcoal in my little Lodge Sportsman Grill that is similar to a hibachi.
Yes, FOGO is a little more expensive. However, the lump size small and uniform which is perfect for smaller grills.
 

Omnivore

Meat Mopper
250
192
Joined Jul 11, 2019
Just some good old fashioned lump charcoal will work fine. Royal oak comes to mind. Cowboy lump, or my favorite B&B. That’s all you need.
Thanks! That's what I was hoping to hear!

First of all... where do you hail from ?? As I have never heard of that grill or any of those kind of charcoals ... As said above... for a really hot quick sear.. lump would be your best bet ...
Hah, rural Oregon, definitely not anywhere exotic but I grew up eating Japanese food and for better or worse can find most cooking gadgets and ingredients on Amazon now. When I make it to a bigger city (which is rare these days), I always stock up on ingredients from the Asian grocery stores.

Stick with lump till you get used to cooking with charcoal. But if you must:

https://www.korin.com/grillware/binchotan-charcoals-and-accessories

I didn't know about Korin, what a cool site! They have Sumi charcoal which looks like a more economical version Pok Pok but the shipping is insane.

I saw a video on how they make it in Japan, mind blowing is all I can say.
A piece or stick of it broken in half, the interior looks just like polished black glass.
When done cooking the charcoal is dunked in water to put it out and when dried off it's good as new with very little turned to ash.
Many uses from each piece.
Very spendy but I am SO tempted to buy some after watching that NHK show.
It looks really cool, maybe one day I'll have to splurge on one of the litle 3 pound containers. I think it's practically smokeless so a lot of high end restaurants will use it when they bring out on of those tiny ceramic charcoal grills to the table.
 

Omnivore

Meat Mopper
250
192
Joined Jul 11, 2019
At around $5/lb, binchotan is the world's most expensive charcoal and pok pok is not far behind. As others have noted, any lump will work just fine and won't break the bank. Don't know where you live, but Walmart sells the Royal Oak lump and it will work just fine. I buy it locally and I order Harder Charcoal online https://www.hardercharcoal.com/.

Just note that lump burns pretty hot so keep an eye on whatever you're cooking.
Thanks, I will check out that site! I'd definitely rather start with something like lump than spend the $100 for binchotan, especially when I'm just figuring it out.

Lump burns hotter. But even briquettes are fine. I wouldn’t say charcoal is charcoal but to a certain point for me at least it is. I like royal oak if I can find it. I’ve even Ben using GFS brand and have liked it, it’s a little ashy but for price and what I use it for its great.
Thanks! I think lump will work for what I'm doing, and definitely more accessible.

As everyone said above, use lump charcoal.
I use FOGO black bag lump charcoal in my little Lodge Sportsman Grill that is similar to a hibachi.
Yes, FOGO is a little more expensive. However, the lump size small and uniform which is perfect for smaller grills.
Glad you mentioned the FOGO brand, I saw it on Amazon but had never heard of it. It gets good reviews. I like the idea of having uniform pieces because the grill is indeed pretty small.

Thanks for all the info everyone! Will have to do a yakitori post once I get this thing figured out :)
 

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