Slide toggle

Customer Care

Monday - Saturday: 09:00 - 18:30 hello@earthoceanfood.co.uk

E&O Newsletter

GRILL TIME! BUT WHAT ABOUT THE CHARCOAL?

We are now in peak barbecue season… as the bright colourful riches of spring morph into the long, light evenings of summer, thoughts at E&O Shedquarters have turned to the grill – and all the delicious possibilities it offers.

At your local butcher you’ll find all kinds of already marinaded meats, kebabs and cuts. Ask them for recipe suggestions as well as the provenance of the meat (as local as possible is the E&O way of course!).  If you prefer plant-based foods, vegan burgers or yummy veggie skewers are smokey and delicious cooked on the charcoal grill – summer has so much to offer.

But what about your charcoal? Should you give it some serious attention, too? We think so, and we’ve been exploring the UK charcoal scene – there’s a wider and more diverse range of natural and local charcoal than ever before. And, yes, just like food miles, we think charcoal miles matter too.

Charcoal production is an ancient craft, tracing back thousands of years. It needs patience, skill, and a tolerance for dirt! Over time, turf ovens were replaced by iron rings, but the effort (and mess!) remain the same. Lumpwood and natural charcoals are the way to go and you can now very easily find a wide range of locally sourced products.

There’s high-end gourmet charcoals that restaurants use, which burn long and hot, some are even smokeless and you can use indoors! At the other end of the scale is the humble briquette, very easy to use and you can also find some from sustainable local sources – but much of the readily available stuff comes to us from all over the world. It’s an unnecessary journey given the wide range of local options. And watch out for briquettes’ contents too – all too often the compressed wood by-product is infused with lighter fluid – yuck!

Some of the most sustainable charcoal is created using a Retort. This is a special kiln oven that uses the heated gases, expelled from the wood as it heats up, to continuously recirculate and feed the fire, keeping it burning. The result is far less impurity in the charcoal, and is a far more sustainable and ethical way to produce it and tends to leave you with larger lumps of charcoal at the end – so can be ideal for long, slow cooked dishes like brisket or a shoulder of lamb.

We’ve been looking out for the best sustainable charcoal options for you this summer, and we’ve been grilling with a range of amazing coals. We love the West Sussex-based Green Olive Firewood Co, they have an amazing range of options for the grill, as well as innovative and ethical clean fuels for all sorts of needs. If you try them, do indulge yourself with some of their Smokin’ Wood Chips for extra flavour.

We also love the Dorset Charcoal Co, not just for their great product but also because they tackle the difficult carbon issue so closely associated with this cooking method up front. They actively track and publicise their carbon capture as much of their product is not burned, it is supplied to customers who return it to the environment via horticultural biochar, animal feed, and even cosmetics.

 

With so much local charcoal produced around the UK, there’s no need to use the fuel-soaked variety on petrol station forecourts and if you’re in doubt where to go or who to trust, search online for ethical charcoal or take a look at the BSL Suppliers list where you can easily find local suppliers (also look for accreditation by organisations like Grown in Britain).

So now you’ve decided on the right charcoal, it is time to fire up your Barbecue and try out some incredible recipes…🔥


Recipe Suggestion: take a look at our delicious BBQ Lamb leg with black Cherry Glaze

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply