Charcoal or Coal? A must read before using Coal for cooking

Charcoal or Coal? A must read before using Coal for cooking

I was about to introduce a new product that could help improve and maintain the heat in your low and slow smoker, but after doing some research I decided not to proceed with this new product, for if it is used incorrectly it could be harmful which raises some concerns.

The product is Coal, and a warning for those who are thinking of using Coal as oppose to Charcoal for smoking foods.
Whist Coal can be used for cooking purposes, burning coal differs from burning charcoal in that exposure to a coal fire will poison your food.
Coal can be used to fire a stove or an oven, but only if the food is in a completely separate environment from the fire.
Therefore, it is highly recommended to always use charcoal, never coal to avoid the risk of poisoning your food, something you don’t want to do!
Another serious concern, burning coal emits sulphur dioxide (SO2), and if it comes in contact with water, it creates harmful sulfuric acid (H2SO4).

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CHARCOAL VS COAL YOU ASK?
In simple terms. 

Charcoal is produced from slow heating of wood or other substances. In other words, charcoal is slow burning carbon woods.

Coal, on the other hand is a fossil fuel. It is a natural formation of mineral through decaying plant and animal under the earth’s crust.

The most basic difference between these two is that coal is a mineral and charcoal is not. 

In detail

Coal Is formed through the collection of plant materials that are degraded slowly. When plant debris are buried under sand or mud, the pressure and the temperature inside convert them into coal over a long period.
Coal is considered as a non-renewable natural resource.

Some of the drawbacks in using coal.

  • it’s not easily available, and it is expensive to use every day.
  • Another serious concern is burning coal emits sulphur dioxide (SO2), and if it comes in contact with water, it creates harmful sulfuric acid (H2SO4).
  • If used to cook food, coal will poison your food. A definite drawback!

CharcoalCharcoal comprises carbonic compounds. The main method of producing charcoal is called “Pyrolysis,” where organic materials are removed using high temperatures in the absence of oxygen.

It takes 5 tones of wood to make 500 Kg of charcoal. Charcoal has a density of nearly 25 percent of the original wood. The average density of charcoal is approximately 1/10 that of coal. It usually takes 10 times the volume of charcoal to produce the same heating job as coal.
The maximum temperature that coal fire generates is approximately 1,927°C. Lower temperatures are used for boilers and furnaces, as to reducing nitrogen oxide or NOx emissions.
Charcoal, on the other hand, heats up way more than coal charcoal (coke) or a gas grill. It is because charcoal is pure carbon and generates lots of energy.

Using charcoal also adds that unique “grill flavour” to food. Actually, it’s not the charcoal alone that provides that delicious flavour. It comes from the volatile compounds and not from the briquettes themselves.
When the meat heats up, it releases drippings that fall on the burning charcoal and combust. Those drippings have plenty of fats, proteins, oils, and sugars that vaporize and come back up into the meat, giving it that distinct flavour.

More drippings = more flavour

Enjoy foods, don’t destroy it!
Bon Appetit

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