Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal MALLEE (Branch) 20kg NW VIC
Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal MALLEE (Branch) 20kg NW VIC
Melbourne's favourite charcoal for decades! Mallee trees are grown all around Melbourne and have been preferred charcoal for decades. Charcoal is made from all three parts of the tree - the Roots, Stumps and Branches and each with their own characteristics. With a very delicate smokey flavour, Mallee is a preferred charcoal for popular Greek Restaurants and Charcoal Chicken shops who are after a very specific smoke flavour profile.
Mallee burns with a very clean and smoke free flame. Especially favored by charcoal Chicken Shops as when the coals are tampered down, they can burn for extremely long periods of time - some times for over a day. this is especially common with Mallee Root. The amount of ash produced is also very low which means the fire bed needs little maintenance and little to no ash is kicked up onto the food from dripping fat and other liquids.
Note: Locally produced charcoal is filled by bag and not by weight. Bag weights will vary with the charcoal size and may vary typically between 18 and 22kg.5 helpful tips when grilling with charcoal!
1) Air-flow. Managing air flow well, is essential to managing heat well.
2) Heat. Use less charcoal than you need. You can always add more as you cook.
3) Fire. Avoid excess oil and fat dripping onto coals.
4) Zones. Keep up to 30% of the cooking area as a cool safe-zone with less or no charcoal.
5) Patience. Let your food cook. As they say "while you're lookin, it ain't cookin".
Here is a handy little guide showing the general differences between each type of charcoal.
About Lump Sizes
“How big are the lumps?” is the number 1 question heard around purchasing lump charcoal, but is that all that matters?
The best advice would be that you should match the charcoal type and lump size with the BBQ or Smoker you have and the type of meat you are cooking. Here are some examples:
Example 1 – Charcoal grills such as Webers Kettles, Hibachi and other open type grills
As the meat in this situation is cooked close to the charcoal bed and with smaller meat cuts such as steaks and sausages (some with sugary marinades which burn easily), a cooler burning charcoal such as Mallee and a smaller lump size would be ideal. The smaller lump size will create an even cooking bed which will not cook a sausage too fast for example, which would leave it raw on the inside and overcooked or burnt on the outside. The even bed also means that a sausage will all cook relatively at the same time as there are no larger pieces sticking out in closer proximity to other sausages. Cooking and searing Steak on the other hand would also benefit from the same low bed of charcoal but a higher heat, say from Acacia or Gidgee.
Example 2: Smoking on an Offset Smoker
Smokers with smaller attached fireboxes which by design need constant feeding, would benefit from larger lumps such as the chunky Mallee, Mangrove, Gidgee or even a blend of these. Gidgee can be the preferred type here due to the extra heat which is useful to help burn through large wood logs placed on top, for smoking.
Example 3: Smoking on an UDS (Ugly Drum smoker)
As opposed to the Offsets, a UDS with a large charcoal basket works efficiently on smaller lump sizes, which helps cooking methods such as the minion method where lit coal gradually ignite those next door. This would not be so effective if the lumps were overly large as there is not enough surface area touching between them to consistently ignite the next piece. A UDS basket also helps keep all the charcoal nice and tightly packed which helps a low and slow burn and can allow for more coal to be added.
Example 4: Ceramic cookers such as the Acorn, Big Green Egg and Komodo
As these styles of cookers are more complex in design by comparison, with multiple vertical cooking layers which have to be loaded in sequence and with a singular vent hole at the bottom. The most common issue here is that this vent hole is easily blocked with smaller lump pieces which extinguishes your fire, so a large lump size is best for this application. Also, a larger lump size means a longer cook and less time dismantling your cooker and reinstalling more charcoal.
Example 5: Ovens such as Pizza Ovens
The name of the game here is heat. Lots of heat and as fast as possible. A mix of small and large lump Acacia and Gidgee would be best here and perhaps a little help from some super-hard Iron Bark wood logs for some added kick.
*How big are the lump sizes in a bag?
Charcoal is produced or should I say “screened” (or sifted) into four main sizes. 1) 10 to 50mm, 2) 50 to 80mm, 3) 80 – 130mm and, 4) 130mm and over
The tricky part is that charcoal is very fragile and can easily crush and break into smaller pieces after multiple trips on and off trucks and pallets, into and out of warehouses and finally while being delivered to the end user. In short, the lump sizes you will inevitably end up with will always be slightly smaller than the initial screened size. Of course with larger lump sizes say 100mm and above, this problem is less apparent as they cannot move around in the bag as much during transport.
Compressed petrochemical heating beads and other formed charcoal briquettes are not so problematic as they are designed to hold their shape due to intensive processing, compression and added binders and agents to hold them together. They are also packed in smaller quantities and in thicker retail ready bags, which help guard against damage while in transport and storage.
Specifications of Mallee Wood
Average Dried Weight: 66 lbs/ft3 (1,050 kg/m3)
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .79, 1.05
Janka Hardness: 2,490 lbf (11,060 N)*
The History of Mallee
A Local Icon^ The Big Mallee Root, located on the Calder Highway, is the the largest Mallee stump in Australia and serves as a tribute to early settlers who cleared the land of drought-resistant eucalypt trees to make way for agricultural activities.
* (Oil) Mallee is found more commonly in tree form but if burnt off or cut off at the base will coppice - sprout multiple stems from its underground storage stem, the lignotuber. These are more easily harvested than felling tall old trees.
The History of Mallee Root Charcoal
^^ The Mallee roots, once removed, were left in huge piles on the land. Here they provided shelter for large colonies of rabbits which would emerge at night to feed on the wheat crops. To remove the rabbits breeding places the farmers burnt the Mallee roots. These roots produced a very hot, clean flame, burning evenly and slowly to form a very small amount of fine ash. Their potential for use as firewood had been realised. Farmers encouraged people to remove the roots from their properties for a small fee. However it was not until the Depression that farmers (in dire financial straits) began selling Mallee roots to people in the cities for firewood. This continued until recent years.
^^^The reason the Mallee was the last to be settled is evident in the town's choice of symbols. Beside the Calder Highway, in the heart of town, is the largest Mallee stump in Australia. It is a reminder of the difficulties faced by the European settlers in clearing the area and of the agricultural basis of the region. This scrubby territory was once covered in this drought-resistant eucalypt which proved immensely difficult to uproot and destroy. Any remnant of the subterranean root system led to regeneration and a heartbreaking renewal of efforts at clearing. Today the dense wood is used for wood turning and burning.
Video: See how to open your bag of charcoal below, in 5 seconds and with no tools
Here is an authentic American Charcoal Plant in action
Your favourite and mine, Mike Rowe from the hit TV show "Dirty Jobs", at you guessed it - a Charcoal Plant in America!
Those of you left wanting more, here is some footage from the 1930's showing how the "Old Timers" used to do things.
Want to know more?
Click the "View on Google Maps" link to see the area where Mallee charcoal is made
Click below for further botanical documents on Mallee Trees
Mallee Woodlands and Shrublands - www.environment.gov.au
Botanical Information - www.plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au