Charcoal Review – Basques Sugar Maple Lump

Hey! Another day, another charcoal! Fortunately for anyone trying to take care of their Monday morning reading in a hurry and get on with the last day of the long weekend, this one will be short and generally sweet. This is a simple hardwood lump with a nice flavour and very few drawbacks. Which is about all anyone can really ask for. You could go out and buy this right now and be perfectly happy with it, but if you want a few more details grab yourself a coffee and keep reading.

Basques Sugar Maple charcoal has a lot of things going for it. No rainforest woods are involved – the wood is sourced from already-cut timber that was deemed unusable for lumber use – the price is right, it lights as easily as any hardwood lump on the market, the aroma and flavour are absolutely beguiling, and you can find it in decent grocery and hardware stores as well as the usual barbeque specialty stores. Plus it comes from a nice Canadian company in the lowlands of the St. Lawrence. What’s not to like?

Well, if you are being picky, a couple of things. One, this is a very light charcoal, so you are not going to get a long burn out of this. In a closed pit or cooker where you can really manage the airflow you might get a couple of hours out of a load, but in an open grill you are looking at a half hour max. And like most quick-burning charcoals, there is a lot of ash when you are done. If you don’t care for the cleanup, you might want to look elsewhere for an aromatic lump.

If you are good with those two (admittedly minor) limitations, however, you aren’t going to find a better choice for big charcoal aroma and flavour. It’s sweet and clean and will have the neighbours hanging over your fence every time you light it. It makes roasted chicken sing and if you are quick grilling pork shoulder or loin for tacos there is no better choice, period. And being super easy to light – a full load in a charcoal chimney is ready to go in under five minutes – means that this is a great weapon to have on hand if you need to get cooking in a hurry. It also makes a great “starter” charcoal to help a more dense product get going with a minimum of fuss.

Added bonus: Being available in non-specialty stores means that you can find it on a holiday Monday if you have the dreaded “barbeque emergency”.

Great taste, easy to light, easy to find, easy on the wallet, and kind to the environment. For quick pit cooking and big-flavour grilling, you cant go wrong.

On The Web: Basques Hardwood Charcoal

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