We normally don't do full blown reviews of charcoal briquettes here on the Lump Charcoal Database, but every once in a while something strikes our fancy or attracts our interest and we feel compelled to do some sort of mini-review. This new product from Wicked Good Charcoal (the folks who brought you Weekend Warrior lump charcoal) have ventured into the briquette arena and brought us these new 100% All Natural Hardwood Briquettes. What got our interest here is the fact that not only are these briquettes natural (see below), but they are made from the same woods as Wicked Good Charcoal's popular Weekend Warrior lump.
So, what constitutes a natural briquette? Our definition is that the briquette is made only from carbonized wood and some sort of natural binder such as a vegetable paste. We don't consider the addition of ignition aids, ashing aides, press release agents, etc. natural. Wicked Good Charcoal's new briquettes are indeed natural as they are made only from the same species of hardwood as the Weekend Warrior Blend lump charcoal and a natural starch binder. Here's a photo of the briquettes. We apologize for the slightly damaged flower in the photo but the we had just had a freak frost:
We were surprised to find, upon opening the bag, that there were no broken briquettes! Needless to say there was only a tiny amount (1.75 ounces) of charcoal dust in the bottom of the bag meaning that you get to use virtually 100% of what you paid for. When we burned the briquettes, they were not too difficult to light and they burned with a moderate and woodsy sort of smoke. They burn very hot and they burn for as long as many brands of lump charcoal that we have tested.
The thing which we have to admit stunned us was the ash production. If we compare the ash produced by Wicked Good Charcoal briquettes to other briquettes we have played around with, Wicked Good Charcoal briquettes produce far less ash. Impressive. But how much less? Well, less ash than some brands of lump charcoal we have tested! Stunning! When asked why you shouldn't use briquettes in a ceramic cooker, our usual response is that the ash production is so great that on a long cook, you would block the air vents and put out the fire. You could use these briquettes in a ceramic cooker with only a small amount of ash management.
Another pleasant surprise was that after you burn these briquettes, you can snuff the fire by closing the vents on your cooker and then reuse them for another cook! Many briquettes will fall apart after having been burned partially, turning to charcoal powder as the binder loses its hold. We were able to knock the ash off these briquettes without them falling apart. We actually loaded them into a bucket and transferred them to another cooker where we burned them.
So, in the end, we feel these briquettes are a great choice for anyone who wants to use briquettes in their charcoal cooker. We suggest you give them a try! You can find them at:
Laralee Distributors, LLC