Making barbecue charcoal is a skilled profession and takes years to perfect. I have been making charcoal for ten years.
I produce high-quality lump charcoal from traditional coppiced Sussex woodlands, this is sympathetically done which in turn creates our wildlife and plants to thrive.
Britain consumes 60,000 tonnes of charcoal per year, 95% of this comes from tropical rainforests and mangrove swamps. By using British charcoal you are helping endangered wildlife and deforestation
Watch the videos on how it's made...
RING KILNS AKA SMOKEY & MUMSKI
The science bit; charcoal is produced by slow pyrolysis, the heat at the beginning of the burn boils off the water held within the wood. When the heat reaches about 270c the wood starts to smoke and burns off combustible gases and tar, which leaves charcoal which is at least 70% carbon, it's all about controlling the oxygen and burning off the chemicals.
Sustainability is created when the carbon is released on burning and is balanced by the carbon taken up by creating coppices or replanting trees. Cooking over sustainable charcoal saves non-renewable fossil fuels and burns at a high temperature which produces little or no smoke which produces tasty food.
RETORT KILN AKA RUSTY BUNNY
The science bit: The kiln is a box within a box, creating a space between. The area beneath holds a fire to produce the first part of the heating process. The outer two chimneys are connected to the space between the two boxes. The metal flaps on top control the heat by releasing or containing the heat produced by the fire underneath. The middle chimney is connected to the inner box were the wood has been placed. The chimney allows the moisture to be discharged. Once all moisture has been dispelled and the wood has reached a certain temperture it emits gases from the chimney. The chimney flap can be lowered which in turn pushes the gases through two pipes into the lower area, where the bonfire was lit. These gases ignite into flames through holes within the lower pipes, making the retort kiln heat itself. When there are no gases left the flames cease and it means only charcoal is left within the inner chamber.
Rusty Bunny takes 14 - 16 hours to create charcoal, 24hr minium to cool and produces 256kg (1/4 of a tonne) of quality barbecue charcoal.