How is Charcoal Made?

If you love grilling, you probably have lots of charcoal stored in your garage or kitchen. Charcoal is described as something black and they have that smoky smell on it which makes grilled foods smell more delectable. Charcoal gets these characteristics from the process and the way it is made.

Usually, makers of charcoal use centuries-old process that requires heating carbon based substances such as bone or wood in an environment or place where there is only little to no oxygen. This process takes out all of the water and gases that were in present in the original material to create the char. This will be mixed with other substances which include binding materials like corn, and are often shaped into briquettes.

The process of making charcoal literally goes though trial-by-fire procedure, making it into a substance that can be burned to deliver reliable, steady and most importantly, long lasting heat. The process of charcoal making involves three stages such as making the char, shaping it and bagging the produced charcoal.

  • Initially, wood, bones or any other carbon rich materials are dried and subjected into extreme heat of about 840° – 950° F (450° – 510° C). This can be doe by placing the materials in a kiln or in a return, which is a continuously fed furnace.
  • If you decide to use kiln method, or batch method, the process would require a cooling period in which the exhaust vents and air are closed off, leaving the material in an oxygen free environment. The cooling period makes the materials become char.
  • On the other hand, the retort method, also known as continuous method, the materials are then fed through the furnace with several hearths and mechanical arms which works by stirring them to ensure they evenly burn. At the end, the char will be sprayed with cold water. There is also another way to char coal, and that is by beating carbon-rich materials, drying and then heating them to about 590 degrees Celsius and cooling them by air.
  • The charcoal will then by shaped to form briquette. However, sometimes charcoal is extruded into larger shapes such as logs.
  • After shaping and cooling the charcoal, the briquettes are bagged before they are stored in shelves.


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