In the past, grills were kept heated by using traditional lump charcoal. And while some still go with this traditional method, more and more people are opting for briquettes to keep their gas grill fire burning.
A quick overview of briquettes
But just what exactly are briquettes? Simply put, briquettes are pieces of flammable matter that are used to make it easier to start a fire or easier to maintain your flame.
Having a fire run directly on the ordinary type of fuel such as gas or electricity can prove to be quite costly, especially if you need the heat for an extended period such as during a barbeque. This is where briquettes really come in handy.
Types of briquettes
Briquettes come in different forms and types. There are charcoal briquettes, biomass briquettes, wood (or sawdust) briquettes, peat briquettes and ceramic briquettes which are most commonly used in gas grills. For years charcoal briquettes were the most popular partly because they were among the cheapest. But today ceramic has become widely used especially in gas grills for their longevity.
Ultimately, your choice of briquette must be informed b the type of fire in use for cooking. Choose the briquette that will give the most control over the heat.
Advantages of Ceramic briquettes
- They are better at preventing fluctuations in grill heat and maintain an even temperature all round.
- They come in different shapes and colors and can be fitted into the gas grill without reducing overall aesthetic value.
- Their composition helps speed up the cooking process thus saving on time and, more importantly, fuel.
- They do not absorb the grease that would normally drip from the grill top. This is unlike charcoal or wood briquettes, which by their very nature will absorb the grease. What this results in is hot and cold spots all across the briquette grate surface.
Using ceramic briquettes on a gas grill
Fitting a ceramic briquette on a gas grill is fairly easy and is not too different from the way you would do it for other briquette types.
Some tips include:
- Lift the lid off the grill, remove any other briquettes or charcoal lumps that were set at the floor of the grill and fit in the ceramic pieces one by one.
- Make sure you reduce or if possible, eliminate any spaces between the pieces, as these would be a source of heat loss.
To get the best out of their ceramic briquettes, people employ different techniques depending on the type of food being cooked. There are times when you can put the cooking pan directly on top of the briquettes so that there heat transfer takes place directly.
At other times, you may want to place the food or cooking vessel on top of a mesh or other supporting surface such that there is no direct contact with the briquettes. The second approach will mostly be employed when the goal is to keep the food warm and not really to cook it.
Article by: Andre' Savoie