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Korean (Daimyo) Binchotan

22 pound case - Korea

Koreans, like the Japanese, have a long history of making Binchotan - almost as long as the Japanese. They follow a similar method made famous by the charcoal-making craftmen in Wakayama perfecture in Japan.

Binchotan Daimyo is made from hardest and highest quality oak branches in Korea and then baked in hand-built clay kilns at 1200° C. The technique is called Pyrosis and involves limiting the amount of oxygen inside the kiln. As a result, the carbon is captured inside the wood, creating a charcoal what is 90% carbon at completion. The charcoal is also rich in the minerals potassium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus.

The Korean style and Japanese style is slightly different, however. The Koreans use a larger diameter branch that is more mature and has more mass. The extra size means they can bake it longer resulting in a larger, longer burning charcoal - preferred by many.

It's important to understand that Binchotan, or White Charcoal, is not actually white. It gets its name from the process used to quickly cool the charcoal when it's removed from 1200° clay kiln. Charcoal craftsmen shovel a mixture of sand, soil and ashes over the lava-hot charcoal to lock all of the benefits into the wood - which is why it is 90% carbon, mineral rich, slow burning, almost smokeless and nearly flavorless source of fuel.

Binchotan is the favored charcoal for many of the finest Japanese chefs - and, I would argue, it should be yours as well. Clean-burning with a consistent and even heat; no more fumes and no more re-fueling in the middle of your grill-session. It will take some adjusting, but once you do, whether you are grilling at home outside or camping, you will never go back. One case will last many days out on the camp site -- I promise.