Kothur Coconut Charcoal
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Quick Stats
Date Of Review: December 2004
Purchased From: Supplied by Kothur, Inc.
Date Purchased: December 2004
Price: Approximately $12 US (15$ CDN) for 10kg
Weight: 22 pounds (10kg)
Burn Time:
Ash Production:
Type of Wood: Extruded Ground Coconut Shells
Strange Material?: None
Scrap Lumber Pieces?: None
Smell: Strong smokiness, faint smell of ammonia
Country of Origin: India

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

Rate And Comment On This Charcoal: Click Here


We first became aware of this charcoal back in July, 2004 when Kothur, Inc. sent us a sample. We did a quick mini-review but were waiting for a full box in retail packaging before doing this full review. This new charcoal comes to us from India by way of Toronto, Canada. It is manufactured in India by Sigma Agro Derivatives (P), Ltd. and distributed by Kothur, Inc. It is made from coconut shells and produced by grinding the shells, extruding the ground shells under heat and pressure and then carbonizing the extrusions. The result is a charcoal of uniform shape like a briquette, but with no binders or other additives. You may be familiar with Kamado's extruded coconut charcoal which is very similar to this charcoal. (You can read our review of Kamado Extruded Coconut charcoal here.) The main difference, as you can see in the photo down below, is the shape. While the Kamado briquettes are hexagonal and have a hole down the center, these briquettes are rectangular and solid. Each piece weighed 55 grams or about 1.9 ounces.

Upon opening the box and spreading it out, we found 183 pieces that we would label as "whole" pieces, four pieces that were almost whole, and then about 175 grams of chips and dust. This works out to be 1.75% of the box contents, which is extraordinarily low compared to most lump charcoals. (Kamado extruded coconut was reviewed before we started weighing the chips and dust, but we noted it had about 2.5 tablespoons of dust in the box. This charcoal is a bit more crumbly and had more dust in the bottom of the box, but still far far less than most lump charcoals.)

Lighting this charcoal is somewhat more difficult than your average hardwood lump, taking 4.5 sheets of newspaper to start in our chimney starter test. However, it isn't as hard to light as other extruded coconut products we've tried. When it burns there is a slight odor of ammonia. We can't account for this smell, as we have detected it in two other products, each made from a different type of wood. So far, we have not been able to detect that this smell translates into taste when you cook with one of these products. Overall, the charcoal burns with a relatively strong smokiness to its smell.

We decided to conduct the "hot plate" test in which a piece of the charcoal is placed on an electric hot plate. We conducted this test when we reviewed Kamado Extruded Coconut charcoal. In that test, we placed a piece of Kamado, Big Green Egg, and Kingsford charcoals on a hot plate, turned on the hot plate and then observed that there was virtually no smoke from any of the pieces of charcoal. This time we placed a piece of Kamado and Kothur extruded coconut charcoals on the burner and turned it on. There was virtually no smoke from the Kamado charcoal, but the Kothur charcoal smoked quite a bit as soon as the hot plate got hot. The smoke had that strong smokiness that we had observed when burning it in our cooker.

When using a MAPP torch to light this charcoal, you will get a shower of very fine/small sparks, but no popping and flying specks of burning charcoal like with some woods. The burn time and ash production were both low. This charcoal didn't burn as hot as many we have tried, reaching only about 660 degrees.

One characteristic of these extruded products that we have noticed is that once they have been in a fire and have gotten hot, even unburned pieces are now more fragile and likely to crumble. We took a piece which had burned only on one corner and could easily snap it in half. When we tried the same thing with a piece straight out of the box we had to use some muscle to break a piece in half. What this means is that if you snuff your fire and then reuse the charcoal, stirring it to knock ash off will produce more crumbly bits and pieces and more powder. We attribute this to the fact that when the briquettes are extruded under heat and pressure, lignin or some other component binds the material together. This binding breaks down under heat, producing the crumbly briquettes after use. So, depending on how you use this charcoal, you may wish to empty out the old charcoal before starting a new fire under some circumstances like a long slow cooking session.

All in all, this is a pretty good charcoal and being made from a truly renewable resource, it is more environmentally friendly than your average lump charcoal. However, with only low burn time, the strong smokey smell, the tendency to crumble after heating, and the average maximum temperature, we feel that this charcoal may have a limited appeal to many cooks. We give it our Average rating.

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Other Information


Unusual or Unique Statements


Statements From The Bag

"We hope you enjoy your BBQ!", "Coconut Shell Barbecue Briquettes"

"This product is made out of coconut shells. Compared with other similar products used for barbecue purposes, briquettes made of carbonzised coconut shells burn hotter, last longer and burn evently without smoke, odour or formation of clinker or slag."

"This product contains very low ash, about 75% less than any other kind of fule friquettes. These coconut shell briquettes are very safe to use as no toxic gas is emitted nor does it have any sulphur content."

"Food grilled with this product is known to eliminate fat and associated cholesterol, thus it contributres to a healthier way of enjoying barbecued food."

"Coconut Barbecue Briquettes are completely environmentally friendly unlike many other charcoal products such as hardwood charcoal, and not a single tree or branch is cut down to produce the product."

"Main constituent
Coconut Shell Charcoal
Size: 2" x 2" x 0.75"
Shape: Square (solid)
Inherent Moisture: 4.96%
Ash: 4.89%
Volatile Matter: 17.91%
Smoke: None"

"Made of Coconut Shell Charcoal", "100% Organic", "Renewable Resource", "Burns Hotter", "Longer Cooking Time", "Less Smoke"

Lighting Instructions


Photos Of Contents

This is the contents of the box.

Here is a side-by-side comparison with Kamado extruded coconut charcoal. Notice
how the Kamado charcoal is hexagonal with a hole down the center, while the Kothur
charcoal is a solid square block.

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

Other Photos

This is how the box arrived.

This is how charcoal is packed in the box.

Here is a photo of the UPC code:

Contact Information

Kothur, Inc.


Made in India by:
Sigma Agro Derivatives P Ltd


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.

The conclusions and final rating given any charcoal are based upon the opinion of the author. We recommend that you use our rating only as a guide. You should read the entire review and decide what is important to you in making any buying decision.

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
= Performance is Above Average
= Performance is Far Above Average

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