The Charcoal Debate

Charcoal vs Briquettes

Big Green Egg, revolutionising the South African Braai


Is about as divisive as the coal vs gas debate! We, at Big Green Egg, are often asked which type of coal we recommend. Our answer will always be charcoal first and in particular, Big Green Egg All Natural Lump Charcoal. Briquettes may be what the South African braai market knows and has traditionally been the more readily available fuel source, but Big Green Egg is changing the game. And here’s why…

  • Pure and Chemical-Free: Briquettes are essentially sawdust of scrap wood combined with chemical binders and fillers (often coal dust) and compressed into its traditional pillow shape. These chemicals often include the likes of limestone and borax. When we say “All Natural”, we mean it. Made from Black Wattle (Acacia Mearnsii), a fast-growing, extremely invasive leguminous tree, our coal is the result of all the off-cut and timber not used in the papermaking process and is produced on a farm in the KZN Albert Falls area, close to the local timber farms. Big Green Egg does not support illegal charcoaling which causes deforestation. Illegal charcoal is often found in so-called “hardwood” or “Namibian hardwood” brands.
  • Burns Hotter and Longer: Briquettes, being filled with additives as they are, emit a strong smell when lit. If you don’t want that smell transmitted to the food you’re cooking on the grill, you’ll have to wait until it’s burnt off. Why wait when you can braai? All Natural Lump Charcoal burns much hotter and lasts for longer in a Big Green Egg, due to the unparalleled heat retention of the ceramic design.
  • Produces Less Ash: Cooking with All Natural Lump Charcoal results in significantly less ash to clean after a cook-out…delivering more value and performance in every bag.
  • Enhances Air Flow and Temperature Control: To braai or grill successfully, the cook has to precisely control the temperature of the fuel source. Although briquettes may burn more uniformly, All Natural Lump Charcoal enhances air flow by not blocking the vents of the Big Green Egg , resulting in superior temperature control; the recipe to success of a good grill.

Big Green Egg is committed to products that are eco-friendly and natural. What else would you expect from a company with the middle name “Green”?

How To Light Your Egg

Place a firelighter or two on top of some coals and light them.

Leave the lid open for 10 minutes for the firelighters to burn off. Some grey glowing embers will remain, surrounded by some unburnt charcoal. This is perfectly normal.

Don’t be tempted to stoke the charcoal or move them around. The unique design of the EGG allows it to burn from the bottom of the ceramic firebox and disturbing the coals at this stage will affect its burning efficiency.

Close the lid and enjoy a cold one as you wait for the accurate temperature control to take effect! It’s like cooking in your oven – outdoors!

Re-Lighting Your Egg

You will find that much of the charcoal you started out with for your previous cookout was not consumed. If you closed both the top and bottom openings when your finished cooking, the remaining charcoal can be reused. Before firing up the EGG, use an ash tool to rake the coals across the cast iron fire grate; the ash will fall through the holes in the grate and into the bottom of the EGG. Add charcoal if necessary to bring the level back to the top of the fire box.

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