Category Archives for "Accessories"

Best Meat Slicer of 2018 (Because Who Uses Knives Anymore?) [July 2018]

A meat slicer is one of those appliances you don't realise you need one until you get one. There is nothing more satisfying than slicing your own steaks, cutting your own bread or presenting a well garnished meal thanks to your own personal slicer. 

If you are anything like my wife, you love a good platter, and if your anything like my wives friends you like everything to be perfect. You could spend hours and hours meretriciously cutting everything perfect to impress, or simply throw everything through your slicer to get yourself in the good books.. because you know what they say. 

"Happy wife, Happy life."

Slicers may seem like a piece of equipment that will be expensive and something that you really shouldnt be spending money on, however, as you will find out below you can actually get some great meat slicers for the same price as a decent carving knife. Its time time have a think.. do I want to be using a knife.. or a slicer??  

My Picks - Top Meat Slicers of 2018

What to Look For in a Meat Slicer

Power: When buying a meat slicer you really want to make sure you are buying one that will have enough power to cut what you intend to cut. Basically, there are two different types of slicers. Gear driven, belt driven and a combination of the two.

Typically belt driven meat slicers lack the real power that you get with gear driven slicers, so if you are planing on slicing bigger slices or harder meats you should consider leaning towards the gear driven slicer.

However, if you are looking for a more simple in-home slicer, the belt driver slicer would be your go to, they are quieter and work perfectly on those softer, thin sliced meats.

Blade Type: When it comes to blades you typically have two option. A serrated blade or a smooth edge blade. 

Serrated blades are used for slicing tough meat and bread. A serrated blade can also get through most vegetables, however, can leave a messy edge. 

Smooth blades work best on vegetables (you get a cleaner cut) and lean meats. You want to steer clear of tough meat and crusty bread though. 

If you want a slicer that you want to use for everyday slicing, you would be best to get a secondary blade to switch in and out.  

Thickness: All slicers have an adjustable thickness, which is typically controlled by a knob on the machine. Generally, the higher the higher the number the thicker the slice and the lower the number the thinner slice you will get. This can differ from brand to brand though. 

Rubber Feet: Its common practice to have rubberised feet on the base of the slicer. This gives the slicer more grip on the work surface and also helps protect your work surface.

Safety Blade Lock: Blade lock functions are common these days and they are a great safety feature to have. The blade lock prevents the blade from moving unintentionally. This is a good feature if you are storing the slicer in the reach of children.

Size: Slicers are a fairly large appliance. Unfortunately, they do not break down for easy storage, so make sure before you buy that you have enough room to store the slicer.

Food Tray: No days lots of meat slicers come with a sliding food tray. This makes it incredibly easy to slice large cuts without having to stop every few slices to move them to a plate. 

Cleaning: Cleaning a meat slicer should not be a difficult or long process. As the food tray cannot be removed from most slicers the easiest way is to swing the food tray out and clean over the sink.

Dual Safety Switch: A dual safety switch prevents accidental start-ups. However, this feature can get quite annoying and inconvenient depending on the model of the slicer. If you keep vigilant with storage and where you are using the slicer this feature is not really necessary in my eyes.

Hand Guard: The hand guard is an essential feature. It protects you against accidental slips when slicing your meat. Countless times this feature has saved my hands and fingers.

How Do You Clean A Meat Slicer?

Like all kitchen and cooking equipment is essential that you thoroughly clean your slicer. This is for two main reasons.

The first is for hygiene purposes, you want to clean all meat off the slicer to prevent any food borne diseases.

The second is to prolong the life of your slicer.As technology develops meat slicers are getting easier and easier to clean, this is thanks to more and more removable parts being added.

The best way to clean your slicers is with hot soapy water, a cloth and lots of elbow grease. I would advise you to stay away from nasty cleaners filled with chemicals, this has the chance to damage your slicer and also taint your food.

How Do You Oil A Meat Slicer?

Lubricating your slicer is just as important as cleaning. You want to keep the blade well oiled so it keeps a fast, consistent rotation. You also want to stay on top of oiling so the blade doesn’t rust.

The best oil for the job is food grade machine oil. Canola and vegetable oil can turn the blade blunt and rusty. 

BESWOOD 10" Premium Food Slicer - My Favourite Slicer

Key Features

Blade Size: 10"

Weight: 33 pounds
Material:
Aluminium 
Power: 
240 Watts​
Slicing Thickness:
1 - 12mm

My Thoughts

Beswood should change their name to ‘bestwood’ after creating this meat slicer. It is nothing short of a slicing dream. If you want an all-round slicer that can make easy work of everything from roast pork to hard cheeses and tomatoes this slicer is your man.


The blade is a chromium-plated carbon steel blade which is corrosion and heat protected. With help from the genius top-mounted, double whetstones you will enjoy not needing to sharpen your blade by hand. It is actually amazing how long the blade will stay sharp for.

The double illuminated power switch is large and placed in a handy spot, perfect for stopping in an emergency situation. The 240 watt motor slices through everything from fresh fruit to large cuts of cured meat without any issues. Perfect for the home or in a commercial kitchen/ deli.

This meat slicer has a solid thickness spectrum from 1-12mm.

What I Liked

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    Double top mounted whetstones
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    Large slice range
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    Powerful motor 
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    Quiet and no vibration 
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    Non slip rubber feet
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    Safety Ring Guard

What I Didn't Like

  • Quite a heavy unit

Final Thoughts

The Beswood 10” ticks every box. Its fairly cheap, quality built, consistently sharp and easy to use.

It is a fantastic all round meat, cheese, fruit and veggie slicer that I really can not fault.

You will enjoy the ease of slicing a range of different meats. The rubber skid proof feet keep the slicer securely in one place, even on slippery surfaces.

My top pick for the best slicer on the market right now.  

KWS Premium 10" Electric Meat Slicer - The Power House

Key Features

Blade Size: 10"

Weight: 38.5 pounds
Material:
Aluminum Alloy
Power:
320 Watts
Slicing Thickness:
0 - 10mm

My Thoughts

The KWS electric meat slicer is a true powerhouse built for those home slicers who take their slicing very seriously. Its also perfect for those of you out there who own a deli, restaurant or cafe. 

It is one of the most powerful slicers out there, and boy does it love to slice! The built in sharpener keeps your 304 stainless steel blade well sharp and has no trouble slicing through bread, cheese, meat and fresh fruit and veggies. Even when your goods are frozen, they are no battle.

Easily adjust your slicing thickness between 0 - 10mm for perfectly uniform slices. Your slices will look great on a home platter, shop front window or on your customers plates. 


What I Liked

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    Solid non slip rubber feet
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    Powerful unit with plenty of slicing power
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    Sturdy stainless steel 
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    Easy adjustments
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    Very low maintanence
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    Very good value for money

What I Didn't Like

  • Smaller deck space than other slicers
  • Smaller slice range

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for a slicer that will slice through anything, you can't look past this KWS slicer. 

It is perfect for anyone who takes their slicing seriously, if thats at home, in the deli or at the restaurant. It has more than enough power to slice a selection of different food types, while keeping a very consistent result.

The unit is solidly built with very low maintenance needed. The value for money is unmatched with this unit and I would highly recommend it. 

Valley Sportsman Electric Slicer - Best Value For Money

Key Features

Blade Size: 8.7"

Weight: 14 pounds
Material:
Stainless steel
Power:
180 Watt
Slicing Thickness:
0 - 14mm

My Thoughts



What I Liked

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    Removable stainless steel cover 
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    Non slip rubber feet
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    Cheap unit
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    Lightweight construction
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    Non slip rubber feet
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    Safety push mechanism 

What I Didn't Like

  • No catch at the back

Final Thoughts

Whether your are cutting cheese for a platter, meat for a quick sandwich or vegetables for a garnish  the Vally Sportsman will get the job done. It is a lightweight unit which is perfect for moving around to store, and with its removable parts is a real breeze to clean. 

The fact that it is under $100 still confuses me as it performs up there with the best of them. In my honest opinion, everyone should have one of these bad boys tucked away at home. 

Giantex Meat Slicer

Key Features

Blade Size: 10"

Weight: 36 pounds
Material:
Aluminum
Power: 150 Watt
Slicing Thickness:
0 - 12mm

My Thoughts


What I Liked

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    Fixeddevice handle for pushing  food items to be sliced
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    Blade cover for protection
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    Cheap unit
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    Built in blade sharpener
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    Non slip rubber feet
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    Semi automatic

What I Didn't Like

  • Heavy unit

Final Thoughts

Whether your are cutting cheese for a platter, meat for a quick sandwich or vegetables for a garnish  the Vally Sportsman will get the job done. It is a lightweight unit which is perfect for moving around to store, and with its removable parts is a real breeze to clean. 

The fact that it is under $100 still confuses me as it performs up there with the best of them. In my honest opinion, everyone should have one of these bad boys tucked away at home. 

Chefs Choice 615 Food Slicer

Key Features

Blade Size: 7"

Weight: 10 pounds
Material:
Aluminum & stainless steel
Power: 120 Watt
Slicing Thickness:
0 - 16mm

My Thoughts

Want high precision and even higher speed? Look no further. I feel this slicer was very accurately named. If you are a chef and this is not your choice, stand up and be herd now!

This slicer is dedicated to its craft and can produce restaurant quality paper thin slices of bacon, jerky, ham, pork or bread. 

This slicer has one of the best food pusher designs I have come across, which has a no slip grip included.
 
Although the unit is only 120 watts if give more than enough power to make super clean fast cuts and is a really nice quiet runner. Forget about bench shake or loud noises in your kitchen. 

This unit has lots of removable parts and is a breeze to clean, which is quite hard to find. 

What I Liked

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    Large food carriage
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    Non slip food pusher
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    Value for money
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    Creates consistent cuts
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    Non slip rubber feet
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    Removable parts for an easy clean

What I Didn't Like

  • The suction cup feet can come up stuck fairly easily

Final Thoughts

This unit is perfect for the home slicer who lives for convenience and a good working machine. It works with precision and has lots of features like the non slip food pusher, large food carriage and easy to clean removable parts.

I wouldn't so much recommend this slicer for commercial use because of the smaller blade and 'runway', however would fit in perfectly in any home kitchen. 

Meat Slicer Recap

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Top Smoker Box Review of 2018 (Updated July 2018)

Do you love smoked meat, but know that you shouldn't splash out on that $800 pellet smoker?

Trust me, I have been there. And its ok, there is a way that you can get that delicious flavour without the guilt.

The box smoker.

It's a fantastic ‘magic’ little metal box that gives you all the flavour of an expensive smoker, in a fraction of the time.

My Picks - Top Smoker Box of 2018

Charcoal Companion Stainless Steel V-Shape Smoker Box

Dimensions: 2 x 13.8 x 2 inches
Construction: Stainless steel

If you are looking for a smoker box that can fit into almost any space the Charcoal Companion is perfect. The V shape fits snugly into most grills or under the grill plates between the flavorizer bars.The Stainless steel construction is sturdy and the stainless steel does not seem to warp at all.

There have been reviews on Amazon to suggest that this smoke box rusts easily, however, I have not experienced this. Mind you I am quite anal when it comes to cleaning my BBQ gear. 

Weber Stainless Steel Box Smoker

Dimensions: 9.7 x 4.7 x 2 inches
Construction: Stainless steel

The Weber 7576 is a great little smoke box. It has been constructed to Weber’s usual high standard and is a smoke box that you can count on to produce wonderful flavours.

The stainless steel construction is tough and after 5 uses had not warped or shown any signs of breaking. The hinges and lid construction ensures that you can easily access the box mid smoke and is a real breeze to use. 

Cave Tools Smoker Box

Dimensions: 9 x 3 x 1.5 Inches
Construction: Stainless Steel

The Cave Tools smoke box is one of the thickest smoke boxes out there. The trick stainless steel construction ensures that you will have a smoke box that can produce a big amount of smoke and will not warp.

The design is smaller than some of the other smoke boxes out there, however, this is not a disadvantage because it can be used on almost any bbq or grill set up. A concern that I had was running out of chips mid-smoke, however, the lid and hinges work really well and you will have no issues opening or closing when hot.

A nice touch to the Cave Tools smoker is the free recipe book with 25 recipes, this is more than enough to keep you experimenting with your new toy! A solid smoke box that produces great flavour.

Char-Broil Cast Iron Smoke Box

Dimensions: 1.4 x 5.1 x 8.1 inches
Construction: Cast Iron

If you want durability, look no further than the Cr-Broil cast iron smoke box. In true Char-Broil style, they have created a smoke box that is designed to stand the test of time.

Because of its cast iron construction, this smoke box does take a longer time to heat up and start producing a good smoke, however, I am willing to look past that on this occasion. The lid does not have hinges so to replace smoke chips mid smoke you will need a decent set of gloves or a special tool to lift off the lid. A decent smoke box and one that will last a lifetime with the right care.

Grillaholics Smoker Box

Dimensions: 8.8 x 3.8 x 1.8 inches
Construction: Heavy duty stainless steel

With a tag line like ‘We live by the grill; We die by the grill’ you really can’t go past Grillaholics. Their enthusiasm for grilling is backed up by a lifetime warranty on their products. Their smoker box is large and has pleasnty of room for woodchips which makes it perfect for those of you who are looking for a unit for longer smokes.

This smoke box has well distributed holes and even has side holes which provide a good amount of smoke. Even after 10+ uses the hinges still work well and there is no signs of warping.

This smoke box is perfect for those of you with a bigger grill and enjoy longer cooks.

Smoker Box Comparison

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Poultry Shears: The Best Two Money Can Buy (Updated July 2018)

Its that time of year when we start to dust off our grills and fire up the good times in the backyard.

For most of us, celebrating the first BBQ session of summer starts with a turkey. It's a momentous occasion, so why not go all out and have a momentous bird? One of the best ways to cook a turkey (in my eyes) is to spatchcock it. You get an evenly cooked bird that is juicy, tender & moist. Not to mention that beautiful dark crispy skin. (Drooling)

If you are anything like me, you have battled for years to cut out the backbone as gracefully they do on those tutorial videos. However, I will let you in on a little secret. I recently discovered the power of poultry shears.

Poultry shears are a genius piece of equipment designed to easily cut through those bigger poultry bones, and make your life much, much easier.

Here are my recommendations for the best poultry shears out there right now.

What Features to Look For In Poultry Shears

 
An Adjustable Pivot Screw: An adjustable pivot screw is usually found on more high end- professional grade shears. However, it's an important feature. It is designed to tighten or loosen the tension for when you need to apply a lot of pressure to the shears. For example when cutting through thick bones or cartilage. Without an adjustable pivot screw, it is possible for the shears to pop apart when under a lot of stress.

The Blade and Handle As One Piece: This feature is found mainly on the more high-end cutters, however, ideally, you want the tang (the part of the blade that extends down into the handle) to be constructed from one piece. This makes the whole sheer much stronger and can prevent breakages or twists.

A Low Pivot Point: Having a lower pivot point down the blade will help you get better leverage while cutting. This makes cutting through harder materials like cartilage or bone much, much easier.

Pull Apart Construction: This is particularly important for poultry cutters. After cutting turkey or chicken it is very important that you can clean them thoroughly.

Being able to separate the blades also make sharpening substantially easier.

Multi-Hand Use: This is an important one for me when buying any kitchen utensil. My wife is left-handed, so its important for me to get utensils that are ambidextrous. Not essential for everyone, but something to think about.

Built For Comfort: Nowadays most shears will come with a soft rubber or synthetic grip. This makes them more comfortable in the hand and also help them have much more grip when you have wet or greasy hands.

Decent Handle Size: You want your shears to feel good in your hand. Make sure there is enough room for your hand to fit without or any pain or discomfort.

Not Just For Cutting: You can get cutters and shears these days with lots of additional features. Some of them are not necessary for everyone. Make sure you do some research. Do you really need a bottle opener or a screwdriver integrated? Or do you just need a decent pair of cutters?

The 5 Poultry Shears You Should Consider

My Favourite Shears

At first glance, the OXO's poultry shears look just like any other shear out there. However, these little beauties are without a doubt the best that I have come across.

As their name suggests they are spring loaded to help you cut through that turkey (or chicken/duck) with ease. The stainless blade is tapered which allows you to get right into those hard to reach spots. The bottom blade is a micro-serrated blade which makes cutting (or sawing) through those tougher bones really easy.

One problem that I have with normal scissors or some other brands of shears is that the hand grips can be slippery. Although the hand grips are made from plastic the bottom loop and bolster holds your poultry juiced hands in place really well.

I am quite a messy guy, so spatchcocking a whole turkey can be quite messy, cleaning the OXO poultry shears is no problem, they split right in half so you can get a thorough clean. The locking mechanism is at the end of the shears and tucked out of the way so there are no accidental splits.

Do note these are not dishwasher safe, always hand wash with warm soapy water to avoid the blades blunting.

These are a very solid pair of shears that are perfect for their designed job. You cant get any better than that in my eyes.

The Best Cutting Shears

The J.A. Henckels poultry shears are almost on par with the XO poultry shears. There are only two differences that I found between the two.

The first (and most important) difference is the quality. I have not experienced this myself, however, in the Amazon reviews, there are mentions that some customers have had these shears snap on them mid use. Now as stated above I have not had this happen to me but it is something to keep in mind.

In the hand, they in very comfortable, and they have a handle loop on the bottom grip to ensure your greasy hands don't slip off. The handle is constructed from glassfibre-reinforced polyamide and to me seems very strong and reliable.

The only issue here is the lock is placed right where your thumb rests. If you are not too careful you can bump your thumb into it, This doesn't cause the shears to split, however, it is a bit of a nuisance.

The blades are sharp and have no issue getting through bones, cartilage or thick skin. The bottom blade is serrated which makes sawing through some bigger bones a breeze.

Keeping in mind that there have been complaints about these shears snapping and the strange placement of the lock, these can't be my best recommendation, however, they are a very close second because of their feel in the hand and general performance.

The poultry shears are an ergonomically designed set of shears made tough for everyday kitchen use. they are made or high-quality stainless steel and include a really handy safety clip on the end to stop accidental openings.

They are ambidextrous so perfect for those of you who can use either hand or have a lefty in the house.

The downside to these shears is that they do not have a hand loop. This makes them a little hard to use when you have wet or greasy hands as your hands can slip and slide around a bit. They also have a beefier construction so they are not so good for us that have smaller hands.

The blades are corrosion resistant and the handles are made from a tough, nonslip material. Which to be honest did work pretty well with hands covered in chicken fat and juice.

They are made to go in the dishwasher, however, for all shears and knives, I would advise hand washing and dry straight away to avoid any blunting or damage.

These shears are a decent set or shears, however, I would use these for more of an all-round set of kitchen shears and not specifically for poultry.

Is There A Difference between Shears & Scissors


There are differences between shears and scissors. These differences become apartment when you try to spatchcock a turkey with a set of scissors.

The shears have longer blades, with the bottom blade being a tad longer and more of an oblong shape.

The handles on a set of shears are far more ergonomic than scissors and you will find that shears can cut through thicker, more tough object, like herbs, chicken/ turkey/ duck bones, and cartilage.

How to Care & Maintain Your Shears

If you have a model with a serrated blade, your best bet for sharpening would be to get them done by a professional. Take this opportunity to get all your knives sharpened. Your local culinary supply store will be the best people to talk to, most will even have a mobile service.

To ensure that your blade stays as sharp as possible, it is always best to handwash your shears. I would even do this on shears that advertise being dishwasher safe. This is essential for keeping your edges sharp and in tip top condition.

If your shears have a pivot screw, every few months pop a drop of oil on the screw to sure it is always running smoothly.

Your non-serrated blades can be sharpened at home on a Wheatstone sharpener.

If you are lucky enough to have carbon blades, wipe them with an oiled cloth every now and then. Your favorite cooking oil will work perfectly.

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Poultry Shears
Poultry Shears

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Must have BBQ & Grill Accessories (Because We All Love Accessories)

Grill Accessories

There is nothing more satisfying than buying a new grill... except maybe buying accessories for your grill!

As men, generally, we never over accessorize. Until it comes to our cars, man caves and barbecues. So I feel it is our duty to go forth and treat ourselves when it comes to these areas.

There are thousands of accessories out there, each one would be essential in a perfect world where budget is not an issue, however here in the real world unfortunately we can't all have everything we want.

So I have narrowed my list down to 10 essential grill accessories I feel every man should have in his arsenal. Enjoy! 

Grill Accessories

The 10 Grill Accessories Everyone Must  

BBQ Tool Kit

For every new griller it is important to get your tool kit started! This basic BBQ tool kit will give you the essentials you need. From here the sky is the limit.

Bristle Free Barbecue Grill Brush

Having clean and happy grill is essential to cooking delicious food. However, bristle brushes have been known to fall apart and end up leaving stray bristles on your grill and even in your food. Limit the risk and get a bristle free grill brush.  

BBQ Grill Mat

Sometimes you don't want that char on your food, or you don't want a dirty, messy grill to clean up afterwards. A grill matt is great for protecting your grill and the food you cook. They are super easy to clean and can handle heats of up to 600 degrees. 

3-in-1 Stuffed Burger Press

Some people like a perfectly round burger.. and I am one of those people. There is nothing wrong with liking a nice round burger. We should all take pride in what we create. A burger press makes cooking the perfect smoked burger, slider or rissoles super simple. They are fantastic for when you are cooking for a crowd (or those really picky guests).

Bluetooth Meat Thermometer

A bluetooth thermometer is a BBQ accessory that I think should come standard with every grill, smoker or BBQ. Having a decent thermometer makes cooking the perfect turkey, brisket and pork should a simple task. With direct alerts to your phone what more can you ask for?

Bear Paws Shredder Claws

Not only do these bad boys make it look like you are a grizzly bear, they also tear up your meat into the perfect pulled consistency. These are ESSENTIAL if you often cook for a larger crowd, love pulled meat, or want to scare the kids! 

Melting Dome

A melting dome is not something that a lot of grillers consider an essential, however, for those of us who love a burger it is. A melting dome is the best way to get a nice soft steamed bun and perfectly melted cheese. 

Vegetable Grill Basket

Vegetables and foods cut smaller can be difficult to cook on the grill, they always escape and burn. A grill basket keeps all your smaller foods in one place to they all cook evenly without burning. 

Personalized Apron Embroidered

Far from an essential, but who doesn't love a novelty BBQ apron? I know I loved mine when the kids got me one for Christmas a couple of years back! 

Magnetic Hooks

Just a heads up. If you don't have these. YOU NEED THEM. When you get some you won't know how you ever owned a BBQ without them. 

​Charlie's Tasty Tip!

​I'm not sure if this is an accessory but I think its integral to a good BBQ! It' rub, now it's no secret that pork is my favorite meat to smoke or BBQ. So I have put together a list of the best pork rubs you can buy! Forget the sauce, rub is what its all about!

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BBQ Essentials: The Steak Branding Iron (July 2018)

How many times have you been hit with the old 'I don't see your name on it' when going in for your second (or 3rd) steak of the feast? 

Personally, I have too many times! Thanks to my buddy Jordan, my kids started saying it to me nearly every meal, however, I have learned a very smart way to get one up on all of them!

Its a smart little tool called a steak branding iron. These bad boys have turned my eating life around. I can eat 'my own steak' till the cows come home.

Now obviously I went all out and got myself a personalized branding iron with my name on it to prove a point, however for those who don't require a tool to be able to eat all they can, below I have gathered my other favorite steak branding irons.

The Best Steak Branding Irons 

ISUDA BBQ Branding Iron Set

Length: 17"
Letters Included: 55 letters and 8 spaces. 3 x A, 2 x B, 2 x C, 3x D, 2 x E, 2 x F, 1 x G, 2 x H, 3 x I, 1 x J, 1 x K, 4 x L, 2 x M, 2 x N, 4 x O, 2 x P, 1 x Q, 4 x R, 3 x S, 3 x T, 2 x U, 1 x V, 1 x W, 1 x X, 2 x Y, 1 x Z.
No tools required to change letters
Ergonomic Wooden handel

This is the little beauty that I bought to make my mark on what is rightfully mine to start with.

Its a basic little branding iron that comes included with plenty of interchangeable letters.

Its great for branding what is yours of playing a prank on one of your dinner guests, its always get a laugh out of everyone who is around for the BBQ.

I have used it at least 10 times now and have had no issue with quality or construction, although it is only constructed out of aluminium so I would only recommend this branding iron for comical purposes and not for the serious steak eater. 

BBQ Fans Classic Monogram Steak Branding Iron

Length: 12"
Brand Width: 2 1/2" - 3"
The BBQ Fans Classic Monogram steak branding iron is a branding iron for the real steak lovers out there.

It is lovingly crafted out of iron and is as tough as nails. 

For best results heat on an open flame or a small propane torch. This branding iron works perfectly on leather, wood, meat and burger buns. Hell I'm sure it would even work well on the steak while its still walking around int he paddock. 
Branded Box and Plate: The above as well as a branded wood steak plate. A fabulous gift for the steak lover in the family. 

BBQ Rare, Medium & Well Done Branding Iron Set

Length: 14"
Rare Design: Measures 1 5/8" tall x 1 3/4" wide
Medium Design: Measures 1 3/4" tall x 1 4/8" wide
Well Design: Measures 2 5/8" tall x 2 5/8" wide
This branding iron set is perfect for those of you who often cook fora lot of people who like their steaks cooked to different temperatures. 

Easily brand each steak to avoid disappointment and the annoying questions.

Constructed with food quality stainless steel the se. irons are well designed and all include a comfortable handle with a loop.


Branded Box and Plate: The above as well as a branded wood steak plate. A fabulous gift for the steak lover in the family. 

BBQ Fans USA Steak Branding Iron

Length: 15"
Brand Dimensions: 1" x  2 1/8" 
What better way to show your patriotism than by branding your favourite country on your steak?? 

The BBQ Fans USA steak branding Iron is for you patriots out there.

Crafted from stainless steel and made right here in the good old US of A you can't ask for any better! 

At the top of the handle you have a comfortable and ergonomic handle including a loop so you can hang it right off your grill for quick and easy access. 
Branded Box and Plate: The above as well as a branded wood steak plate. A fabulous gift for the steak lover in the family. 

BBQ Fans Letter B & Q Steak Branding Irons

Length: 12"
Letter Height: 1 1/4"

Who doesn't like to brand BBQ on their freshly grilled steak?? Everyone does. 

The BBQ Fans B & Q branding letters are a fantastic pair. Coming form a dad who grills, I would love these two for christmas or a birthday!

Constructed out of irons, these steak branding irons mean business.

They are built tough and will put a decent brand in everything from burger buns to a 5lb T-Bone steak.

To get these irons nice and hot it is best to use a propane torch or a roaring open fire. 

As they are constructed out of iron it is important to always dry immediately and apply cooing oil.

They are sold separately, however buy both to create BBQ! 

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Steak Branding iron
Steak Brand Iron

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Converting Your Propane Grill To Natural Gas With A Natural Gas Conversion Kit

Propane grill to Natural Gas

Can you hook up your propane grill to natural gas? How many times have you heard someone say "Id love to convert my propane grill to natural gas, but I just don't know how, or if it's even possible?"

Well, I have heard it a few times. So I have looked into this. 

The answer to your question is simple. Yes. Yes, you can convert your propane grill to natural gas. However, before you go plumbing in your grill to a natural gas line there are several important things that you must take into account. 

How To Convert Your Propane Grill To Natural Gas

1: Can Your Grill Run Off Natural Gas?
The first thing you need to check is if your grill is designed to run off Natural gas. Not every grill is designed for this, so the best thing to do is to consult your owners manual or the grill manufacturers website or helpline. You want to look out for the 'dual fuel' markings on your grill. 

2: Buy A Conversion Kit
Conversion kits are not universal. You will need to get a conversion kit that fits your particular grill. Each manufacturer will have their recommended conversion kit, however below I will list some of my recommendations. 

3: Speak To Your Local Plumbing / Gas Inspector
It always pays to get in touch with your local plumbing inspector. As with everything that involves natural gas, it's better to be safe than sorry. Make sure that it is legal to run a flexible gas hose, depending on the state and inspector you may need to install a more permanent system.

4: SWITCH OFF YOUR GAS AT THE MAIN
Before starting ANY work, it is very important to switch off your natural gas line at the main. Also shit off and disconnect your gas bottle. You can them remove it and store it in a safe place. You will no longer need this!

5: Install Your Conversion Kit
Install your conversion kit as per the conversion kits manufacturers instructions.

Here is a video from the guys at Char-broil on Converting your grill from propane to natural gas.

Recommended Propane To Natural Gas Conversion Kits

Char Broil Natural Gas Conversion Kit

Do you have a dual fuel propane Char Broil natural gas smoker? This conversion kit is for you! 

Easily convert your Char Broil propane gas smoker with this kit. 

Be sure to make sure your model is a dual fuel model first! 

Char Broil Natural Gas Conversion Kit

Do you have a dual fuel propane Char Broil natural gas smoker? This conversion kit is for you! 

Easily convert your Char Broil propane gas smoker with this kit. 

Be sure to make sure your model is a dual fuel model first! 

3 Embers Natural Gas Conversion Kit

Easily convert your dual fuel 3 Embers grill to natural gas with this conversion kit.

Please check your grill is convertible before buying this kit. This kit is designed for the GAS7480AS & GAS7480BS models only.

Please note: You will need the follow parts to complete the conversion: two adjustable wrenches, phillips screwdriver, pipe-thread sealant.

3 Embers Natural Gas Conversion Kit

Easily convert your dual fuel 3 Embers grill to natural gas with this conversion kit.

Please check your grill is convertible before buying this kit. This kit is designed for the GAS7480AS & GAS7480BS models only.

Please note: You will need the follow parts to complete the conversion: two adjustable wrenches, phillips screwdriver, pipe-thread sealant.

Briggs And Stratton Natural Gas Conversion Kit

Simple and easy kit to convert different systems to natural gas. 

Briggs And Stratton Natural Gas Conversion Kit

Simple and easy kit to convert different systems to natural gas. 

Cal Flame Grill Conversion Kit

Natural gas conversion kit for your propane Cal Flame grill. 

This kit comes with everything you need to quickly run this conversion. 

Cal Flame Grill Conversion Kit

Natural gas conversion kit for your propane Cal Flame grill. 

This kit comes with everything you need to quickly run this conversion. 

Camp Chef Natural Gas Conversion Kit

Easily convert your dual fuel Camp Chef propane grill into a natural gas grill.

Camp Chef Natural Gas Conversion Kit

Easily convert your dual fuel Camp Chef propane grill into a natural gas grill.

Lynx Natural Gas Conversion Kit

A decent conversion kit with everything that you need to convert your propane grill into a natural gas smoker. 

Lynx Natural Gas Conversion Kit

A decent conversion kit with everything that you need to convert your propane grill into a natural gas smoker. 

Why You Should Convert To Natural Gas


There are several main reasons why you should convert your propane grill over to natural gas. However, using natural gas is not for everyone.

For those of you who like to take your grill with you or move it around often you should stick with propane. Once the natural gas line is connected your smoker really doesn't have the luxury of moving.

You should convert your propane grill to natural gas if:

1: You are sick of running out of propane mid cook.

2: Carting your propane bottles around when it is time to swap. 

3: You have a grill set up that you are not planning on moving around your backyard. 

4: You like saving money on propane (natural gas is cheaper in the long run)

I really like that the power of the  Weber Genesis ii lx 340 however it isn't set up for natural gas.  I use this bad boy to cook my pizza, as it get hotter than any other smoker I have used. 

Natural gas conversion kit
Propane To Natural Gas Conversion Kit
Propane To Natural Gas Conversion Kit

Still Hungry For More?

Can you hook up your propane grill to natural gas? How many times have you heard someone say "Id love to convert my propane grill to natural gas, but I just don't know how, or if it's even possible?"

Well, I have heard it a few times. So I have looked into this. 

The answer to your question is simple. Yes. Yes, you can convert your propane grill to natural gas. However, before you go plumbing in your grill to a natural gas line there are several important things that you must take into account. 

How To Convert Your Propane Grill To Natural Gas

1: Can Your Grill Run Off Natural Gas?
The first thing you need to check is if your grill is designed to run off Natural gas. Not every grill is designed for this, so the best thing to do is to consult your owners manual or the grill manufacturers website or helpline. You want to look out for the 'dual fuel' markings on your grill. 

2: Buy A Conversion Kit
Conversion kits are not universal. You will need to get a conversion kit that fits your particular grill. Each manufacturer will have their recommended conversion kit, however below I will list some of my recommendations. 

3: Speak To Your Local Plumbing / Gas Inspector
It always pays to get in touch with your local plumbing inspector. As with everything that involves natural gas, it's better to be safe than sorry. Make sure that it is legal to run a flexible gas hose, depending on the state and inspector you may need to install a more permanent system.

4: SWITCH OFF YOUR GAS AT THE MAIN
Before starting ANY work, it is very important to switch off your natural gas line at the main. Also shit off and disconnect your gas bottle. You can them remove it and store it in a safe place. You will no longer need this!

5: Install Your Conversion Kit
Install your conversion kit as per the conversion kits manufacturers instructions.

Here is a video from the guys at Char-broil on Converting your grill from propane to natural gas.

Recommended Propane To Natural Gas Conversion Kits

Char Broil Natural Gas Conversion Kit

Do you have a dual fuel propane Char Broil natural gas smoker? This conversion kit is for you! 

Easily convert your Char Broil propane gas smoker with this kit. 

Be sure to make sure your model is a dual fuel model first! 

Char Broil Natural Gas Conversion Kit

Do you have a dual fuel propane Char Broil natural gas smoker? This conversion kit is for you! 

Easily convert your Char Broil propane gas smoker with this kit. 

Be sure to make sure your model is a dual fuel model first! 

3 Embers Natural Gas Conversion Kit

Easily convert your dual fuel 3 Embers grill to natural gas with this conversion kit.

Please check your grill is convertible before buying this kit. This kit is designed for the GAS7480AS & GAS7480BS models only.

Please note: You will need the follow parts to complete the conversion: two adjustable wrenches, phillips screwdriver, pipe-thread sealant.

3 Embers Natural Gas Conversion Kit

Easily convert your dual fuel 3 Embers grill to natural gas with this conversion kit.

Please check your grill is convertible before buying this kit. This kit is designed for the GAS7480AS & GAS7480BS models only.

Please note: You will need the follow parts to complete the conversion: two adjustable wrenches, phillips screwdriver, pipe-thread sealant.

Briggs And Stratton Natural Gas Conversion Kit

Simple and easy kit to convert different systems to natural gas. 

Briggs And Stratton Natural Gas Conversion Kit

Simple and easy kit to convert different systems to natural gas. 

Cal Flame Grill Conversion Kit

Natural gas conversion kit for your propane Cal Flame grill. 

This kit comes with everything you need to quickly run this conversion. 

Cal Flame Grill Conversion Kit

Natural gas conversion kit for your propane Cal Flame grill. 

This kit comes with everything you need to quickly run this conversion. 

Camp Chef Natural Gas Conversion Kit

Easily convert your dual fuel Camp Chef propane grill into a natural gas grill.

Camp Chef Natural Gas Conversion Kit

Easily convert your dual fuel Camp Chef propane grill into a natural gas grill.

Lynx Natural Gas Conversion Kit

A decent conversion kit with everything that you need to convert your propane grill into a natural gas smoker. 

Lynx Natural Gas Conversion Kit

A decent conversion kit with everything that you need to convert your propane grill into a natural gas smoker. 

Why You Should Convert To Natural Gas


There are several main reasons why you should convert your propane grill over to natural gas. However, using natural gas is not for everyone.

For those of you who like to take your grill with you or move it around often you should stick with propane. Once the natural gas line is connected your smoker really doesn't have the luxury of moving.

You should convert your propane grill to natural gas if:

1: You are sick of running out of propane mid cook.

2: Carting your propane bottles around when it is time to swap. 

3: You have a grill set up that you are not planning on moving around your backyard. 

4: You like saving money on propane (natural gas is cheaper in the long run)

Natural gas conversion kit
Propane To Natural Gas Conversion Kit
Propane To Natural Gas Conversion Kit

Still Hungry For More?

Weber iGrill2 Bluetooth Thermometer Review (Updated July 2018)

It happens to the best of us. We get suckered into buying the latest and greatest technology. Do we really need all of it? Is it all just a little it over the top?

In some cases maybe, in the case of the iGrill 2, this is definitely not the case.

For those of us who have a smartphone, we are always looking for a new app to play with. Step in the iGrill 2. This is a Bluetooth thermometer that connects straight to your IOS or Android device, using a free downloadable app.

Now I know some of you are thinking that this will be a complicated process, however, the iGrill 2 from Weber has been designed keeping in mind not everyone is a tech-savvy genius. Weber recently acquired the app from a company called iDevices and have done a total overhaul of the app, and to be honest they have done an amazing job. From fixing connectivity issues to the general look and feel.

The app is downloaded onto your preferred device just connect and you are away. The iGrill 2 has some really great features that make cooking on your grill a real treat. 

Weber iGrill 2 Bluetooth Thermometer

  • Dimensions: 2.2"H x 3.2"W x 2.2"D
  • Range: 150 ft
  • Battery Life: 200 hours
  • Probes: The standard package Includes 2 probes. However, the unit can handle up to 4. You can buy additional probes from Amazon.
  • Probe Length: 
  • Temperature Range: -22°F - 572°F
  • Waterproof: No
Weber igrill 2

  Key Features

Free IOS and Android App: The free app form Weber is a breeze to use. It is laid out very well and all the different options are straightforward. You can even rename each individual probe so you will never confuse what you are taking a reading of.

Preset Meat Settings and Customization: The app comes standard with lots of preset meat temperature settings. Including poultry, beef, pork, fish, lamb and more gamey meats.

The unit also has preset settings for rare, medium rare, medium, medium well and well done.

You can customize your own alarms for different times, temperatures and doneness levels for each probe. To be honest it was actually a lot of fun playing around with all the different settings and seeing what this amazing thermometer is capable of.

Battery Life: The Weber iGrill 2 has a decent battery life of around 200 hours, this is pretty good considering it is constantly sending and receiving Bluetooth signal. My biggest problem here was that my phone would be the one that needs charging throughout longer cooks.

Magnetic Mounting: One of the really handy features is the magnetic mounting disc that is used to mount the base unit. Don't worry if you have no metal on your grill, or bbq the kit also comes with a circular magnet with a sticky adhesive on one side so you can stick it anywhere!

The LED Display: The base unit has a brightly lit LED display. You can change between Fahrenheit or Celsius and shows your timer function. This is a great feature for overnight cooks where you don't need your phone to be connected constantly, or the cooker is out of range.

Quad Probe Support: The iGrill 2 comes with 2 temperature probes, however, the unit supports up to 4. This is great for those who are simultaneously cooking different meats or like to have at least one ambient probe going at a time.

The app lets you check each probe individually, rename each probe and set each probe to a different temperature or meat setting. Perfect when you have guests that all like their meat cooked to different temperatures.

Additional probes can be purchased from Amazon and to be honest, I think they are good to have around.

Doubles As A Standalone Thermometer: For those times when you don't necessarily need a Bluetooth thermometer (or if you are like me and your phone goes flat), it can be used as a stand-alone. The display has a large and easy to read LED display. Perfect for those cooks in winter that go into the evening on the weekends.

Warranty and Support: The unit comes with a 1-year manufacturers warranty which is always good when it comes to these accessories that are a little more technical than the traditional. The Weber site is also a wealth of information for this (and other) accessories. Weber also has a really outstanding customer services team, so any issues give them a call they are always happy to lend a hand.

What I Liked

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    The ability to have up to 4 probes going simultaneously
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    Free IOS and Android App
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    The extremely wide temperature range 
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    Very well designed and easy to use app
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    The temprature readings are accurate to 1 degree in my testing
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    The customizability of the app 

What I Didn't Like

  • The Bluetooth range is limited to 150 feet, which is around half the distance of most other similar thermometers

Device Compatibility 

Android: Most Android devices running Android 4.4 or higher with Bluetooth 4.0 or higher.

Apple: iOS 9 or higher is necessary and on the following devices only:
• iPhone 4S or later
• iPad 3rd generation or later
• iPad mini
• iPod touch 6th generation or later

Please note: Some smart devices are not compatible with the Weber iGrill App, including: iPhone 4, iPad 1st or 2nd generation, Huawei phones.

Verdict

Personally, I think that the Weber iGrill 2 is one of the best Bluetooth / wireless thermometers out there. The customizability and user friendliness of the app is something that Weber should be proud of.

All the different pre set and customizable settings are easy to use and extremely handy. Even for those of us who might not the be most technical minded people. For the ones who are very technical the Weber iGrill has more settings, reports, and stats that you can play around with and even export to your computer. Heck, you can even share your cooks on Facebook with the app so you can show off your perfectly cooked brisket with the world!

I would recommend this thermometer to the more tech-savvy pit masters out there, however, for those of you who would like to dabble in the technology that is sure to become the norm in the coming years you could not go wrong with starting here!

4.5 / 5 Stars

Lavatools Javelin Thermometer Review (AKA The Lavatools Thermowand) Updated July 2018

Before we get this review underway I want to clear one thing up. The Lavatools Javelin is the rebirth of (renamed) Original Lavatools Thermowand.

The Javelin is the epitome of minimalism and simplicity. It is very basically designed to do one job and to be honest, it does that job very well. So well I would rank it up there with the best digital meat thermometers.

It is a small thermometer that processes and produces a temperature reading within 2 seconds and is conveniently sized, I found this great for taking on camping trips and out with my smaller portable smoker.

Before we get this review underway I want to clear one thing up. The Lavatools Javelin is the rebirth of (renamed) Original Lavatools Thermowand.

The Javelin is the epitome of minimalism and simplicity. It is very basically designed to do one job and to be honest, it does that job very well. So well I would rank it up there with the best digital meat thermometers.

It is a small thermometer that processes and produces a temperature reading within 2 seconds and is conveniently sized, I found this great for taking on camping trips and out with my smaller portable smoker.

The overall design is clean, simple and hassle-free. The unit is buttonless. The only switch was inside the battery compartment, and this was to change between Celsius and Fahrenheit. 

Although the unit is small and compact it has a couple of great features like body being 100% BPA-free polycarbonate, a magnetic backing and an auto shut off. The auto shut of kicks in when the thermometer is closed or the after 1 hour when not in use.

Lavatools Javelin

The overall design is clean, simple and hassle-free. The unit is buttonless. The only switch was inside the battery compartment, and this was to change between Celsius and Fahrenheit.

Although the unit is small and compact it has a couple of great features like body being 100% BPA-free polycarbonate, a magnetic backing and an auto shut off. The auto shut of kicks in when the thermometer is closed or the after 1 hour when not in use.

Lavatools Javelin

Lavatools Javelin Specifications

  • Battery Life: 4000 hours
  • Food probe Length: 2.75"
  • Temperature Range: -40 - 482ºF
  • Accuracy:  ± 0.9°F 
  • Water Resistant: Splash proof
  • Reading:  Celsius or fahrenheit
  • Warranty: Lifetime manufacturers warranty
  • Battery Life: 4000 hours
  • Food probe Length: 2.75"
  • Temperature Range: -40 - 482ºF
  • Accuracy:  ± 0.9°F 
  • Water Resistant: Splash proof
  • Reading:  Celsius or fahrenheit
  • Warranty: Lifetime manufacturers warranty

  Key Features

Auto Shut Off: The auto shut of setting kicks in after 60 minutes of non use or when the thermometer has been closed. This is a welcome feature and the 60 minute period is no issue when the thermometer has more than a 4000 hour battery life.  

Magnetic Backing: Having a magnetic lining on the backside of the thermometer is perfect. I like to have it stuck to the refrigerator door in my mancave so I always have easy access if I need to take a quick reading.

Temperature Range: The temprature range of -40ºF - 482ºF seconds is more than enough range for this little guy. Using it as a back up or camping thermometer you don't need any more than that.

Lifetime Warranty: Even though the Lavatools Javelin is not loaded up with lots of complicated features, it is nice to have the peace of mind that it is covered for life against manufacturing faults.

Splash Resistant: The entire unit is splash resistant, which is great for such a small unit. 

Antimicrobial: The thermometer is coated with a antimicrobial additive to inhibit 99.9% of pathogen growth.

What I Liked

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    Accurate and fast readings
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    magnetic backing
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    Lifetime warranty
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    Auto shut off feature
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    Celsius and Fahrenheit feature
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    4000 hour battery life

What I Didn't Like

  • The probe is a little small. This doesn't get right into the centre of bigger cuts of meat
  • The smaller probe also means that your hand does get closer to the grill so there is a higher chance of burns

Verdict

The bottom line is that the Lavatool Javelin thermometer is a really good basic thermometer. For the price you pay it does the job it was designed to do exceedingly well.

The only downsides that I could find is that the whole unit and the probe itself are on the small side. However this does make it a good little thermometer to have in your camper, truck or camping gear bag.

I would reccoemmend this thermometer for everyone, it is a great little cheap & reliable back up or travelling thermometer. 

Lavatools Javelin Thermometer
Lavatools Javelin Thermometer

Still Hungry For More?

The 5 Best Carving Knives of 2018 (These Knifes Are Seriously On Point)

The best Knife

To most men (myself included), there is something so unbelievably satisfying about having a good knife

I'm not too sure if its the satisfaction of slicing off a piece of brisket with ease, or if its the feeling of power that we get from holding a sharp, trustworthy knife. It might not even have anything to do with the quality of the knife at all. We might only like knives because of that famous scene Crocodile Dundee “That's not a knife?” “THAT'S is a Knife!”

Personally, I think that it has a lot to do with the last option. However, no matter the reason why we love a good knife so much, it's very important that the knife that we get is fit for its purpose

There are a million different knives out there, however, not every knife is made for every job. If you are a meat smoker, griller or bbq-er, then you need a knife that will carve your masterpiece into beautiful little morsels, not butcher it to smithereens

Below are my picks for the best carving knives of 2018.

The Best Carving Knives

The Best Carving Knives Comparison Table

Dalstrong Slicing Carving Knife 12"
Chef Remi Latest Carving Knife
Mercer Cutlery Genesis 8 inch carving knife
Victorinox 12 Inch Fibrox Pro Slicing Knife
Mercer culinary millennia 14 inch

Model

Dalstrong Slicing Carving Knife

Chef Remi Latest Carving Knife

Mercer

Genesis carving knife

Victorinox Fibrox Pro Slicing Knife

Mercer Culinary Millennia

Blade Length

12 inches

7.5 inches 

8 inches

12 inches

14 inches

Warranty

Lifetime Manufacturers Warranty

Lifetime Manufacturers Warranty

Lifetime Manufacturers Warranty

Lifetime Manufacturers Warranty

Lifetime Manufacturers Warranty

The Best Carving Knives of 2018 

Dalstrong Slicing Carving Knife - 12"

Dalstrong are the self proclaimed ‘new guys on the block’ which to start with, had me a little concerned that they would not be as up to par as some of the more established brands.

However, At first glance, I was quickly impressed. Starting with the 2.0mm 12 inch long blade. This thing is impressive. It has been handcrafted for over 60 days using ultra premium, Japanese high carbon AUS-10V steel and 67 alternating layers of SUS410 Damascus cladding. This gives the knife a fantastic durability and stain resistance.

The blade has increased strength, flexibility and hardness enhanced which is partly thanks to the cryogenic tempering with liquid nitrogen. Impressive.

The Sho Gun series slicer also has an extremely comfortable ergonomic handle constructed form G-10 Garolite. This stuff is a military grade material that is built for control and to handle anything that you can put in front of it.

The incredibly sharp blade worked wonders on brisket, however, I would assume that it would be just as good on ham, roasts, and even seafood. The incredibly sharp blade right out of the box will give you perfectly cut slices every time.

A nice touch is that it comes with a sheath to protect the blade.

  Key Features

Hand polished: Fantastic finish, and from my experience stays that way. 

Stain Resistant: No matter how much meat you slice, this blade will not get stained. I have not used this knife over a long period of time, however, the use it has had, there have been no stains.

Hand Sharpened Edges: The 16° sharpened edges will let you slice and dice everything from a pork butt to a thin slice of smoked salmon with ease.

Laminated Pakkawood Handle: Super strong and ergonomic handles made from wood imported from Spain.

Blade Indentations: The blade indentations ensure that no meat sticks to the knife when cutting. 

Triple Riveted: The blade is held in place by three rivets. These are super strong and durable.

Flexibility: The blade has a little bit of flex in it, these are designed for aiding cutting around bones and smaller cuts of meat. You can flex it with comfort and feel confident that you will not snap or warp the blade.

What I Liked

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    Tall blade height - no knuckle dragging
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    Strong and durable handle
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    Ergonomic handle 
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    Stain resistant
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    Very lightweight
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    BPA free protective sheath included

What I Didn't Like

  • Some users have advised that the knife dulls easily

Verdict

For a brand was new to me prior to reviewing, Dalstrong have blown me away with this knife. It is a knife that straight out of the box will impress you with its beauty, sharpness, and performance. 

You can slice through a rack of ribs, through a pork butt, but also have enough precision to slice thin slices of smoked salmon. 

The Dlastrong Slicing & Carving Knife is definitely one of the best carving knives I have come across in a while. 

I would recommend this knife to anyone who appreciates cutting with ease.

4.5 / 5 Stars

Chef Remi Latest Carving Knife - 7.5" 

The Chef Remi Latest Carving Knife feels like an extension of your hand, this is thanks to the extremely lightweight, slightly smaller 7.5 inch blade. It is great for thinly slicing salmon, deli meats and smaller racks of ribs as well as birds. The blade is also scratch & stain resistant which is super easy to clean. Even when its covered in grease and fat.

The forged food grade stainless blade comes out of the package very sharp and 

ready to go, the forged food grade steel is great quality and takes a long time to dull.

The handle is constructed from thermoplastic rubber and ergonomically designed to fit your hand. This helps guide the blade for precision carving every time. The handle is made from thermoplastic rubber, this is very easy to clean, doesn’t stain and has a solid hand feel.

  Key Features

Lifetime Guarantee: There is nothing like a brand who is so confident in their product to stand behind it for life.

Food Grade Stainless Steel:
 This steel takes longer to dull than others and requires less sharpening.

Perfect for Thin Slicing: The super thin blade is designed for carving thin, precise slices. Perfect for salmon, deli meats, and brisket.

Thermoplastic Rubber Handle: The TPR handle gives awesome grip, even when you have greasy/ wet hands, It also has a moisture resistant finish. 

Easy Clean: Simply wipes clean with detergent and water.

What I Liked

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    Lifetime guarantee
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    Scratch resistant blade
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    Stain resistant
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    Resistant
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    Easy clean

What I Didn't Like

  • Throughout longer cooks the unit has been known to freeze. The only solution to this is to reset the unit by taking out the batteries

Verdict

The Latest Carving Knife is a solid knife. It feels like an extension of your hand thanks to its lightweight and very sturdy construction. You will enjoy how easy it is to make precision cuts in almost any meat. 

Perfect for those who like their deli meats, smoked salmon/ fish, lamb racks and smaller racks of ribs. It is a knife that will last and stay sharp without the need to sharpen every other use. 

4.5 / 5 Stars

Mercer Cutlery Genesis Carving Knife - 8"

The forged high carbon stainless steel blade is a blade that you can only dream of. It is Heavy duty bolster balances the knife perfectly and adds additional durability without adding on to much weight. 

I found the knife to be a little heavier than others, however, it is balanced out perfectly and carves, slices and chops with perfect precision. It is great for thicker cuts of steak, bigger racks of ribs and whole turkey.

The handle is constructed from Santoprene, this is a soft material that is comfortable and non-slip. Even after 

carving turkey after turkey over Thanksgiving this knife does not become uncomfortable. 

The handle is also safe around all kitchen oils, grease, and all other cooking bi-products. However do keep in mind that it is not dishwasher safe, so make sure that you always hand wash with lots of hot soapy water. I didn't find washing to be a problem, just a wash over with a soapy cloth and it was clean.

  Key Features

Santoprene Handle: The Santoprene handle is amazingly soft and comfortable. However, its not so soft that it becomes sticky or hard to remove your hand when making those tricky incisions. It is also nonslip, perfect for when you have greasy or wet hands. 

German Quality Stainless Steel Blade: The blade is made from high quality German stainless. This is very sharp right out of the box and stays sharp. It will never rust, discolor or corrode. 

Lifetime Warranty: The peace of mind of the lifetime warranty is good to have, however, with the quality and durability of this knife, I doubt you will need it! 

NSF Listed: The M20608 meets the standards set by NSF International. These standards focus on public safety, health, and the environment.

What I Liked

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    NSF listed
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    Comfortable ergonomic handle
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    Easy to clean
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    Nonslip grip handle 
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    Heavy duty bolster
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    Quality German steel blade

What I Didn't Like

  • Not dishwasher safe
  • Heavier than other knives

Verdict

The Mercer culinary M20608 is one of the most comfortable knives out there. The ergonomic Santoprene handle is like you are holding onto a cloud. Even though it is a little larger than some of the other knives I have tested it still cuts smaller cuts with complete precision. 

The blade is well designed and so far has stayed very sharp. The added bonus of a lifetime warranty gives you peace of mind that this is a quality knife built to last. 

The bottom line is this is a great knife and for the price, you are buying into a quality knife that you will be using for many years to come.

4.5 / 5 Stars

Victorinox Fibrox Pro Slicing Knife - 12"

The Victorinox 12 Inch Fibrox Pro Slicing Knife is going to be your new best friend when it comes to carving and slicing bigger cuts of meat. You will be slicing turkey, ham, whole roasts and ribs with minimal effort.

The big 12 inch blade is a true piece of beauty. The first thing you will notice about the blade is the indentations, these are brilliant. They create air pockets while cutting so your meat doesn’t stick to the blade. This ensures you get a good cut every time. Even on those thin slices of turkey. 

The textured Fibrox handle is quite basic, 

however, it is very comfortable and nonslip. You can cut a whole turkey or ham without any discomfort or slippage.

Victorinox is manufactured in Switzerland by the same company who manufacturers the original Swiss army knife, so you know that you are buying a quality product. This is backed up by a lifetime warranty.

  Key Features

12 Inch Blade: The large 12 inch blade is perfect for larger cuts of meat. I found this particularly good for slicking pork butt, brisket, whole roasts, turkey and even pork belly. 

Hollow Ground Depressions: These depressions help to reduce friction and minimize meat sticking to the blade. This feature is a real treat when you are slicing big amounts of meat. 

Fibrox Handle: The textured handle is made for a secure hold and has nonslip properties. It is also very durable 

Swiss Quality: Victorinox is made in Switzerland by the same manufacturers who made the Swiss Army Knife. 

NSF Listed: The Victorinox 12 Inch Fibrox Pro meets the standards set by NSF International. These standards focus on public safety, health, and the environment.

Dishwasher Safe: This is not such a big concern for me, however, it is nice to load the knife in the dishwasher with all the other cutlery.

What I Liked

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    Dishwasher Safe
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    Made by the same manufacturer as the Swiss Army Knife
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    Nonslip handle
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    Lifetime warranty
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    Blade depressions

What I Didn't Like

  • The blade does not stay sharp for long, it is recommended that you sharpen every couple of uses for optimum quality

Verdict

The Victorinox 12 Inch Fibrox Pro Slicing Knife delivers everything that you would expect from a Swiss made knife.

It is an elegant knife which offers a carving experience like no other. The blade is second to none and the addition of the blade Depressions means that you will never get any meat that sticks to the knife, Which is something that I appreciate when slicing bigger cuts.

You need this knife if you are often cooking bigger cuts or meat such as whole roasts, pigs, turkey, ham or brisket.

4.5 / 5 Stars

Victorinox Fibrox Pro Slicing Knife - 12"

The Mercer Culinary Millennia 14-Inch is a big knife. It's a big knife that is made for those larger cuts of meat. Think a whole roast pig, while turkey roast or ham.

The 14 inch blade is constructed from Japanese stainless steel, so it will never corrode, discolor or rust. The blade also features divets which stop any meat from sticking. The blade is slightly thin, allowing you to still maneuver around small bones and carcass if you need to

The handle is made from Santoprene and durable polypropylene, this creates a very durable and comfortable handle that will not slip. 

Together all these parts form a very well designed and constructed knife that will easily cut through any large cut of meat you can throw at it.

  Key Features

Ergonomic handle: The handle fits perfectly in hand, making cutting large meats very pleasurable.

Japanese Steel Blade: The blade is crafted from Japanese steel
Extremely durable blade.

Longer Length: Comfortable slice, cut and carve those larger meat cuts without needing to apply unnecessary pressure.

Santoprene Handle: The Santoprene handle is amazingly soft and comfortable. However, its not so soft that it becomes sticky or hard to remove your hand when making those tricky incisions. It is also nonslip, perfect for when you have greasy or wet hands.

What I Liked

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    Lifetime warranty
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    Santoprene handle
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    Divots in the blade to top sticking
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    Longer length
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    Japanese quality stainless blade 

What I Didn't Like

  • Hand wash only
  • The blade does dull faster than others

Verdict

The Mercer Culinary Millennia 14-Inch knife is a serious knife for cutting serious cuts of meat.

The Santoprene handle is very comfortable and durable. The durability comes from the polypropylene used in the construction. The razor sharp blade is constructed of high quality Japanese stainless and is resistant to corrosion, rust, and discoloration.

It is a durable and high quality knife that will exceed your expectations when carving and slicing larger cuts of meat such as ham, turkey, brisket or whole pig.

4.5 / 5 Stars

What To Look For When Buying A New Knife

Buying a knife is like buying your first car. Often you don’t know where to start, you get overwhelmed by all the terms and if you do your research and buy a quality one, it will save you money in the long run. 


So what do you need to keep in mind when buying a knife?

The Best Carving Knives

The Right Handle: Having a handel that is comfortable and strong is imperative. The last thing you want is a knife that feels bad in the hand. This will result in you not being able to use the knife to its full potential. You need to make sure that the blade is securely fastened to the handle. I always like to go for a knife that is riveted together, however, nowadays this is becoming less and less common.

Blade Quality: You need a blade that is tough. There is no denying that. There is a tonne of different blades on the market. Do your research and make sure that you are buying a knife that has a blade that is constructed from a high-quality material. A knife with a quality blade will last longer, cut better and save you money in the long run.

Knife Weight: The weight of your knife is important. If your knife is to light or heavy you will not have any control. You are looking for a knife that has a good balance and feels sturdy in hand.

Accuracy When Cutting: A knife needs to be accurate (even for us that don’t have the best knife skills). An accurate knife can make all the difference and help you increase your knife skills. If possible try the knife before buying. Obviously, you can't bring your own brisket into the shop to cut, however, most shops will let you hold it and simulate cutting. This will give you a good idea of the weight and accuracy.

Set Your Budget: The price spectrum for knives is very wide. You can buy knives for hundreds of dollars and others for under $20. More expensive does not necessarily mean that it is going to be better. Before looking into buying a knife set yourself a price limit of what you are comfortable spending. You can always find a quality knife at any budget.

Do Your Own Research: When buying a knife it pays to do your own research. Some brands excel in making one particular style of knife and are not your best choice for all knives. Research each brand and make sure the knife that you want is one of their best knives. Researching the brand also helps find out if the brands morels re inline with your own. 

The Best Carving Knives of 2018
The best Carving Knife of 2018
The Best Carving Knife of 2018

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What Is The Best Charcoal? (Lump Charcoal Vs Charcoal Briquettes) Updated July 2018

The Best Charcoal

In the barbecue world, there is a war going on. A war that gets people really wound up.

It's not about the best bbq rub, the best smoker, and not even if you should be using the Texas crutch or not. Its all about the style of charcoal that you are using. Are briquettes or lump charcoal the better option?

It's amazing how passionate people get about over this subject. Are you loyal to the lump or are you bonkers for the briquettes?

We have put each through their paces and given a honest review on each.

So let's go: Lump Charcoal Vs Briquettes

Lump Charcoal vs Briquettes

Briquettes ​​are reliable & cheap you can be found pretty much everywhere. However you can never be quite sure what is in them. Briquettes are ​man made by-products compressed with additives and wood that help them light and burn consistently.

Whereas lump is charcoal ​still in it's natural form. You will find most old school pit masters ​ will almost always ​have a tendency to use it. ​Other than that, lump charcoal has a lot of ​great qualities; it burns hotter, lights faster and leaves very little ​residue or ash compared to briquettes.

I find it hard to pick a favourtie in this epic lump charcoal vs. briquettes battle! They both come in handy at different times! Briquettes have been a life saver when I want to set and forget, burning for hours and hours at the same temperature.​ Wheras lump charcoal  is usually superior when ​I need to cook faster and have more control over the heat. ​

What Is Lump Charcoal

First off we will look into lump charcoal. How is It made? Well, lump charcoal is made up by slowly burning wood without oxygen, until the natural chemicals, moisture, and sap have disappeared from the wood.

The product that you are left with is a charcoal lump that is far less harmful and left in a state that is far better for burning. Due to the construction, lump charcoal also leaves very little ash behind. This is something that I really like.

In general, it lights easier, faster and hotter than briquettes. This is partly because lump charcoal is all natural. It contains no fillers, additives or nasty chemicals.

Another really good property of lump charcoal is that it responds really well to oxygen. This basically means that you can adjust and maintain the temperature of your grill much easier by simply adjusting the air vents.

how to light charcoal

What I Like

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    100% natural product
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    Burns very hot
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    Easier to light
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    Very little ash left over After cooking 

What I Don't Like

  • Faster burning – this means you go through more
  • More pricey than briquettes

The Best Lump Charcoals

Grill Dome CCl-20

The Grill Done CCL-20 lump charcoal is perfect for those of you who are into your low and slow cooking. It holds great heat, for a long time. They are a decent size and you can even reuse them! They are a little bit pricey, although for the performance I feel this is appropriate. And you can never go wrong with a 100% American made product!

Are you looking for a full on savory smoke flavor? Look no further than the Fogo FHWC35LB. These little bad boys are brilliant. They are guaranteed to burn hotter for longer. The chunks are very decently sized and that contributes to the fantastic smoke time. They are a more premium product and I would recommend these for the serious cook!

Although Jealous Devil All Natural Lump Charcoal sounds like it came from the depths of hell, they definitely give off a flavor that tastes like they fell straight from heaven. This charcoal is one of the longest burning charcoals around. They are also 100% natural. You will be creating restaurant-quality BBQ with this stuff!

What Are Charcoal Briquettes

Charcoal briquettes are made very similar to lump charcoal. However, there are some differences.

Briquettes are made from left over wood and sawdust. Leftovers are mixed together with additives to create the briquettes. This process makes briquettes not pure wood.

The reason that the briquettes are mixed with the additives is primarily to help the materials bind together and create a uniform shape. This makes them easier to stack, store and package.

In some brands, chemicals are added to the briquettes. This is to help light the briquettes. Depending on the brand you can faintly taste a not so natural flavor in your meat. This is not so much the case for stronger meats such as duck or brisket but found to happen in white fish, or chicken.

how to light charcoal

Charcoal briquettes burn for longer than lump charcoal, however, they do not burn as hot. This is great for those who are planning on a low and slow cook.

You can find all natural charcoal briquettes, these are fantastic, however they do cost a little more than the more traditional briquette.

What I Like

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    Longer burn time
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    Cheaper than lump
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    Easier to light
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    Holds a steady temperature for longer periods of time

What I Don't Like

  • Produces more ash
  • Does take longer to light
    Contains additives and chemicals

The Best Charcoal Briquettes

Stubbs are my favorite charcoal briquettes. They are full of that classic southern BBQ flavor.

Another reason why I love these briquettes so much is that they are all natural. They are made up of 95% hardwood charcoal and 5% corn starch binder. This combination is environmentally friendly and chemical free!

You really couldn’t ask for any better from a charcoal briquette.

Kingsford is the maker of the best selling briquette ‘The Originals’. In my eyes, the Match Lights are even better.

The Match Lights burn much hotter than any other Kingsford products and are ready to cook with in a little over 10 minutes.

They are also made with natural ingredients and are shaped with more edges making them a real breeze to light initially.

Unlike a lot of other charcoal briquettes, they are not doused in lighter fluid so they do not taint the taste of lighter meats, like chicken or fish.

The Royal Oak Ridge briquettes provide an incredibly consistent burn. This is because they have a very uniform shape. They are also a little larger than most other briquettes, this means that you won't use as much per cook.

Although they are larger than most, they still come to heat fast, in just over 15 minutes.

Even when cooking white fish these briquettes did not taint the flavor at all.

This is without a doubt the best smelling charcoal briquettes on the market. As soon as you open the bag, you will be tempted to go buy more!

These little masterpieces are partnered with real pieces of authentic Jack Daniels oak whiskey barrels, so you know there is going to be an amazing flavor in these briquettes.

What Is The Difference Between Coal and Charcoal?

Basically the difference between coal and charcoal is that coal is a natural mineral and charcoal is a man made substance.

A Breakdown of The Difference Between Charcoal and Coal (Charcoal vs Coal)
Coal: Coal is a natural mineral found in the earth. It is created from decaying plants and animals under the earth crust. This is a long process but is basically made by lots and lots of pressure and heat. 

Charcoal: On the other hand charcoal is a man made substance produced by slowly heating wood or there similar substances.

What Are Some Charcoal Alternatives?

It is posible to get away with not even using traditional charcoal. There are several different kinds of charcoal alternatives out there. These alternative methods are all more environmentally friendly  than traditional charcoal.

However, I have never tried any of these myself so I can not comment on how they perform. If anyone has any experience with these alternative methods please let me know down below!

Charcoal Made From Organic Waste
In the African country of Cameroon, local students have created an ingenious way of turning the city of Douala's organic waste into charcoal. They collect organic waste from the cities overwhelmingly rubbish filled streets, shred it, then dry it in an oven to create charcoal. 

This way of creating charcoal is a fantastic idea and something that I think should be though about more here in the United States. 

Charcoal Made From Coffee
In Ethiopia waste the water part of the coffee bean from the coffee making process is pressed into briquettes perfect for burning. These briquettes are used locally and also shipped abroad. 

Charcoal Made From Poop
This may sound a little strange, but bare with me here. It is true that these briquettes are made form human excrement, however between coming out and being burnt they go through quite a transformation. This style of briquette production is mainly happening in Kenya, however could be implemented world wide. 


First off the human.. waste is left to dry out completely for 3 weeks. It is them bought up to a temperature of 1292°F which starts the process of carbonisation. Sawdust and banana leftovers are then added to the mix along with fragrance and binders then pressed into circle briquettes. These briquettes are 100% safe and can be used for cooking.

Charcoal MaDe From CocoNut Shell
There are several really good pros to coconut shell briquettes. Unfortunately they don't give your meat a coconut flavour though.

Coconut shell briquettes actually burn hotter and longer than your standard charcoal briquette. They also have less carbon emissions than regular briquettes and the ash can be used as a natural fertiliser. What a win, win, win situation.  

Coal vs Charcoal Final Thoughts

I hope that this has helped you figure out your side on the Lump Charcoal Vs Charcoal Briquettes debate.

Personally,I find that both different styles have a place. Nowadays its great that you can find each style of ​charcoal 'additive and chemical free. I feel much better using charcoal knowing I am not harming myself or my family.

 If you have decided on a fuel, then you have to check out my charcoal smoking tips. This ​will allow you can impress your family and friends with ​your BBQ skills!

Happy smoking everyone

Charlie

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