18-30mm diameter, 200-270mm length
The popularity of Japanese binchotan charcoal has seen its production spread to other Asian countries. The Lau Company in Laos have taken great care to replicate the Japanese method of producing Binchotan. The founders of the company were trained in Japan, their kiln was built according to Japanese design and they have secured approval from the Japanese Patent Office for their production method.
The unique method of producing binchotan was invented in Wakayama, Japan at the end of the 17th Century. Densely stacked in a walk-in kiln the wood is burnt for 120 hours at 240ºC before more air is allowed to enter the kiln raising the temperature to 1000ºC. While still hot the charcoal is removed from the kiln and covered with sand and ash to slowly cool. The Mai Tiew tree (Cratoxylum pruniflorum) native to Laos provides an ideal raw material, it is has only slightly lower density and consequently fractionally lower heat production compared to Japanese Binchotan made from Ubame Oak.
Other characteristics remain the same, a long burning time allows for cooking over several hours and charcoal can be extinguished and reused. Remove charcoal from your grill to an airtight ceramic or steel container. Charcoal can also be plunged in water provided it is fully dried before re-igniting. Due to its density Binchotan can be hard to light, a charcoal chimney is highly recommended as a solution. Start by lighting some standard charcoal in your chimney then when hot, pour out and use this to ignite the Binchotan in the chimney. Move the Binchotan to your grill when red hot.
Traditionally used in Japanese Konro or Shichirin (Hibachi) grills binchotan can also be used with excellent results in all types of grills that require charcoal
Binchotan will burn with very little or no smoke at all, carbon monoxide is still produced however, you should not cook with charcoal indoors, in a vehicle or tent. Professional kitchens you see cooking inside with barbecues have highly sophisticated ventilation systems. Burning charcoal can release sparks that travel to the area surrounding the grill with the possibility to cause fire.
Instructions for use of Binchotan:
Due to its density Binchotan can be hard to light, a charcoal chimney is highly recommended as a solution. Start by lighting some standard charcoal in your chimney then when hot, pour out and use this to ignite the Binchotan in the chimney.
Move the Binchotan to your grill when white hot.
Open and close the air windows to reach the desired temperature
The density of Binchotan means it will stay at cooking temperature for several hours, it can also be extinguished and reused.
Charcoal can be plunged in water when you are finished and once fully dried it will light again.
Remove the charcoal from your barbecue, do not pour water into the barbecue.
It can also be extinguished in an airtight pot of ceramic or steel.