ABA’s Independent Review Specialist – Michael Rose – product reviews Charcoal from Renewable Carbon Resources Australia.
Back in the day I thought that charcoal was just charcoal and that it was all created equal. I would buy whatever was cheapest and most accessible and never gave it much more thought than that. Of course over the years I’ve slowly learnt that, like most things, you pay for what you get and now that I know a little more about it I like to source the best quality charcoal I can. As a general rule of thumb I look for charcoal that is both heavy and has decent sized pieces and the good guys over at Renewable Carbon Resources Australia produce exactly that!
RCRA are the makers of some quality Australian Gidgee charcoal. For those who don’t know, Gidgee is also known as Acacia Camgagei which is a tree renowned for its density. Gidgee is mainly found throughout arid regions of Queensland but also can be found in some parts of the Northern Territory, South Australia and North-Western NSW. Because of the density of Gidgee Trees, the BBQ charcoal RCRA produce is much heavier and larger than most of the charcoal available in stores. This results in considerably longer burn times which makes it perfect for low and slow. It also gets extremely hot, in fact it gets much hotter than anything I’ve ever used before making it equally suitable for direct grilling.
Another immediately noticeable aspect of this charcoal is that it doesn’t have that nasty chemical smell you often find when lighting up cheaper varieties (usually a dead giveaway for bad charcoal). Instead it has a really strong, earthy wood fire aroma which is exactly how all charcoal should smell.
I used the BBQ charcoal for some Peri Peri chicken and it was probably the best chicken ive ever had!
To go along with their BBQ Charcoal, RCRA also produce a premium hardwood charcoal which they like to call ‘Exquisite Chunky’. These are genuine whole logs of charcoal that are really dense and heavy. These logs are also pretty darn big so it can take a little while longer to get going and like all hardwood charcoal of this size it won’t get quite as hot as the smaller varieties of lump charcoal however the pieces will burn evenly for much much longer – Again perfect for low and slow. And just like their BBQ charcoal the ‘Exquisite Chunky’ emits an amazing smoky aroma quite unlike any other charcoal I’ve used in the past. This was my favourite of the two verities without doubt.
In summary, both of the charcoal varieties RCRA produce are some of the finest charcoal I’ve ever had the pleasure of using and to know its being produced right here in Australia is all the more pleasing. With distributors in QLD, NSW and Victoria there is really no excuse for using poor quality charcoal ever again.