Thus spake the master of charcoal: "You will know when it is time for you to leave."


Something mysterious is formed, born in the smokey void. Waiting alone and unmoving, it is at once still and yet in constant motion. It is the source of all heat. I do not know its name, so I call it the Tao of Charcoal. I cannot describe it so I speak of its greatness.

If the Tao is great, then the tree is great. If the tree is great, then the wood is great. If the wood is great, then the charcoal is great. The charcoal master is pleased and there exists harmony in the back yard.

The Tao of Charcoal drifts far away and returns on the fingers of fire, having never really left at all.


The Tao gave birth to the seed. The seed gave birth to the sapling. The sapling gave birth to the tree. The tree gave birth to the wood. The wood gave birth to the charcoal.

Now there are ten thousand brands of charcoal.

Each charcoal has its purpose, however humble. Each charcoal expresses the Yin and Yang of fire. Each charcoal has its place within the Tao.

But do not burn Kingsford if you can avoid it.


In the beginning was the Tao. The Tao gave birth to heat and ash. Therefore ash and heat are the Yin and Yang of fire.

Those that do not comprehend the Tao are always struggling to maintain heat and airflow for their fires. Those that comprehend the Tao always have enough heat and airflow to keep their fire burning.

How could it be otherwise?


The hottest fires are hardest to cook with.
Restricting airflow is a way to retreat.
The steadiest heat shows itself late in the life of the fire.
Even a perfect fire must burn itself out.

The Tao came before all and will go on beyond all.

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