How Charcoal Is Made

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Charcoal has certainly come a long way since cavemen used it to write on walls. The etymology of the word charcoal is from the Old English charren, "to turn," plus cole, "coal;" hence, charcoal, "to turn to coal."

Charcoal Making Process

The manufacturing of charcoal is a multi-step process with a high potential for mishaps along the way. The main ingredient for a quality briquette is the char (the first syllable of charcoal), but charcoal briquettes are not pure charcoal. At the beginning of the charcoal-making process, that mountain of wood visitors see at the entrance of the factory glides onto conveyer belts and enters a wood hog that feeds the retort for char. Afterward, it is dried and then packaged. The charring process occurs when the wood is burned in a furnace, creating a manageable material to form into a briquette. If the wood is too brittle, it will crumble. Once the charcoal is warm and soft, it is put into a dryer set at 300 degrees. Two hours later, the once-soft briquettes come out hard and are ready to be bagged and shipped to stores across the country.

See the journey of charcoal, from wood scrap to briquette, in The Daily Meal’s step-by-step

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By Agico Richard Nov 20, 2012
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