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A underrated aspect of smoking wood charcoal options and techniques is the importance of your coal base in the bottom of your firebox. If you are looking to use 100% wood then seasoned Oak is a option. But, it must be seasoned at least one year which makes it not the prime choice. Below I will discuss the benefits of 100% natural Mexican Charcoal :
Mexico offers some of the best long burning charcoal in the wood. Our American charcoal briquettes are lousy compared to what Mexico has for us. American charcoal has a very short burn time and is packed full of chemical this IS transferred to your smoked and grilled food. Although many people think, "When this American charcoal burns down and turns grey, all the chemical are burned out of it so it is safe." Wrong, very wrong.
There is a great technique if you are using a long lasting charcoal. Using a short lasting charcoal will frustrate you because the heat and fire will go out and you smoking wood will just be sitting there on the top. What do you do then? Pick up your wood and start over with new charcoal? How aggravating!
Directions are to start your firebox fire with a layer of 100% natural charcoal, specifically mexican. When it gets red and hot with burning coals then you are able to start step two. You may find it beneficial to soak your smoking wood in water for 1 hour before this process but that is up to you. If I am using the mexican charcoal base, I personally like to soak wood. This allows the wood to burn slower and smoke more with a great amount of flavor. If you don't use soaked smoking wood, you wood can catch fire and some cooks and backyard chefs like this to happen. Try it both ways and see which way you like more for your own personal cooking tastes.
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