Nature's Mesquite Charcoal
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Quick Stats
Date Of Review: November, 2005
Purchased From: Winn Dixie and Earth Fare supermarkets
Date Purchased: July, 2005
Price: $4.99
Weight: 6.6 pounds
Burn Time:
Ash Production:
Type of Wood: Mesquite
Strange Material?: None.
Scrap Lumber Pieces?: None.
Smell: See commentary.
Country of Origin: Mexico


Quick Links
Photos of Contents: Click Here
Other Photos, Including UPC Code: Click Here
Lighting Instructions: Click Here
Statements From The Bag: Click Here
Unusual Or Unique Statements: Click Here
Contact Information: Click Here
Other Information: Click Here
Photo of UPC Code: Click Here

Rate And Comment On This Charcoal: Click Here


Commentary

First off, we were eager to be reviewing a mesquite charcoal, since it has been ages since we have had a mesquite charcoal to test. The last time we reviewed mesquite, we weren't doing half of the testing that we do now. (Look for updated reviews of several other brands soon.)

We had the opportunity to speak with the folks bringing this charcoal to market and they indicated that they are trying to establish Nature's Mesquite charcoal in the market as a premium mesquite charcoal, so let's see how they are doing.

When sorting the bag of charcoal, we found one golfball-sized dirt clod and one small uncarbonized piece of wood. There was no scrap lumber or anything that shouldn't have been in the bag. As you can see from the following table, the size distribution of the pieces was skewed a bit to the small size, but this is made up for by the fact that the percentage of chips and dust was so small. Most charcoals seem to average about 10-11% chips and dust by weight, while Nature's Mesquite was a low 7.5%. During subsequent testing, we opened another bag and the chips and dust were an even lower 5.7%!

Large 1.5 pounds 22.4%
Medium 1.8 pounds 26.9%
Small 2.9 pounds 43.3%
Chips/Dust 0.5 pounds 7.5%



Total 6.7 pounds

The charcoal was pretty easy to light taking only 3 sheets to start in our chimney starter lighting test. While it was burning in the chimney starter, there was some crackling but no serious popping. When we started this charcoal with a MAPP torch in a later phase of the testing, again there was some sparking and crackling, but no serious popping.

On a side note, because bag was small (only 6.6 pounds), we wanted some more medium-sized pieces for the chimney starter lighting test. We have had some inferior brands of mesquite charcoal which contained large logs, too large to use in a ceramic cooker. We had heard that you could bash them with a hammer to get more usable sized pieces. So, we got out our trusty hammer and found that light tapping was all that was required to break up a large piece into medium pieces. We thought this useful information since if you do get a large piece that you wish to break up, you don't need a sledge hammer to do so. But, back to testing....

For the maximum temperature test, we found the charcoal quick to light and quick to spread. There was a fair amount of sparking while the vents were wide open as the charcoal started, but again little popping. We keep harping on this because we read so much about the amount of sparking and popping that you get with mesquite. We were able to achieve 875 degrees in our ceramic cooker, which is on the higher end of the scale that we have observed. Also, once we throttled the airflow for normal cooking there was no sparking.

When the charcoal burns, it has a pretty strong smell as it starts but the smell is pretty mild once fire is established. It is always hard to characterize the smell of the various burning charcoals, but compared to some other mesquite we have burned, it was a milder and more pleasant smell.

In our burntime and ash production test, the charcoal burned an average amount of time and produced a low amount of ash.

Finally, we wondered how usable is mesquite for low and slow smoking? We have heard comments about how you'll end up with a black chunk of creosote; that mesquite should only be used for grilling, not smoking. Maybe with beef, but never with pork. Ok, so maybe some of you don't hold these opinions, but we had to see for ourselves. We smoked a 5 pound butt for 12 hours, doing the typical low and slow 225 degree cook until the pork butt reached 200 degrees. To quote Samuel L. Jackson, or rather to paraphrase Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction, 'This is a tasty pork butt.' We would not hesitate to use this mesquite for low and slow cooking.

We might also point out that you often hear that lump charcoal in general, and mesquite in particular, burns too hot for anything but grilling. Owners of ceramic cookers know this isn't true, but we'll make the point that if you can control the airflow in your cooker, you can cook at any temperature you like. Mesquite does burn hotter than other woods because of the high lignin content (60% vs. 16% in hickory, for example), but as long as you control the airflow, you can use it at any temperature you like.

So to sum things up, this is a very good mesquite charcoal. It's a little more expensive than some other brands of mesquite, but with the lowest ash production of any mesquite we have tested, and the very high percentage of usable product in the bag, it should be worth the price. This charcoal gets our highest rating:

To the left is the rating that our readers have given this charcoal. If you have used this charcoal and would like to rate it and leave your comments, Click Here

To view reader ratings of all brands, Click Here.


Other Information

None.


Unusual or Unique Statements

None.


Statements From The Bag

"Gourmet Alternative To Briquets!", "Gourmet Mesquite 100% Natural Wood Charcoal", "All Natural Product From Mexico", "Use Instead of Briquets!"

"Gourmet Attributes of Mesquite 100% Natural Wood Charcoal

The mesquite wood charcoal used in Nature's Mesquite™ is harvested from the northern regions of Mexico, one of only a few regions in the world where mesquite trees grow.

Best Quality - Mesquite wood charcoal is made from the wood of the mesquite tree & is widely regarded as the highest quality grilling charcoal available because of its high cooking temperature and the delicate, natural wood flavor it imparts to grilled foods.

Burns Hotter & Longer - Due to its natural dense structure, mesquite wood charcoal is a low-smoke, slow burning charcoal, that maintains a high cooking temperature."

"Superior To Traditional Briquets & Regular Lump Wood Charcoal!
Nature's Mesquite™ is 100% natural! Unlike traditional briquets, this product does not contain any coal, nitrates, chemicals or fillers. As a result, Nature's Mesquite™ will provide you with a more consistent burn without excessive smoking - ensuring that the natural flavor of your food is delicately enhanced, and not masked!

The source of Nature's Mesquite™ wood charcoal is guaranteed - mesquite trees from the northern regions of Mexico. In regular lump charcoal, that wood can be taken from any type of tree or source, regardless of origin."

"Replanting For the Future
Nature's Mesquite ™ wood charcoal is processed from timber lands that are regulated by provisions set forth by the Mexican Government. To ensure that our customers are given the best product, every time, Nature's Mesquite™ wood charcoal is exclusively harvested by a single source. Demonstrating our dedication to maintaining the mesquite tree and the ecosystem that surrounds it, on average, at least 3 trees are replanted for each mesquite tree harvested and used in Nature's Mesquite™ products."
"Safety Tips
  • Never use gasoline to light charcoal.
  • Do not add lighter fluid directly to burning or hot charcoal.
  • After cooking, make sure ashes are completely cool before discarding.
  • Keep out of reach of children and pets.

    Caution: This is a natural product and can throw off sparks. Use only in a safe place."


  • Lighting Instructions

    1 Stack wood charcoal in a pyramid.
    2 Add lighter fluid.
    3 Light the wood charcoal in several places.

  • When wood charcoal is mostly ash, spread evenly in a single layer.
  • Always keep grill uncovered until ready to cook.
  • To enhance mesquite flavor, add additional wood charcoal.

  • Photos Of Contents

    This is the contents of the bag. Those are 1 inch squares on the measuring bar.


    Here is a closer view.


    Here are some of the larger piece we found in the bag.


    Here is the dirt clod and the one piece of uncarbonized wood we found.


    Here are the contents of the bag sorted into large, medium, small, and too small/chips/dust.


    Other Photos

    None.


    Photo of UPC Code

    Here is a photo of the UPC code on the bag:


    Contact Information

    NRG International, LLC
    Louisville, CO 80027

    www.nrgInternational.com


    About This Review

    If you are unfamiliar with our testing procedures, you may wish to read How We Review Lump Charcoal before reading this review. Also, you can read How We Score Lump Charcoal to learn about our scoring system.

    Prices listed in our reviews are current as of the date of the review. We do not attempt to keep these prices current.

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    Performance ratings are designated with stars, 1 star being the worst and 5 stars being the best:

    = Performance is Far Below Average
    = Performance is Below Average
    = Performance is Average
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    = Performance is Far Above Average

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