In the Edo period, a craftsman named Bichū-ya Chōzaemon began to produce a charcoal from the ubame oak called Binchō-tan, or white charcoal, named for the stark white colour the charcoal turns as it burns. Binchō-tan is still produced in Tanabe, Wakayama and is referred to as Kishu Binchō-tan. It is favoured by cooks around the world since it burns at a lower temperature and for longer periods of time than ordinary charcoal and doesn't produce any unpleasant odours, making it ideal for sealing in natural flavours. Kishu Binchō-tan also has purifying properties and is commonly used for filtering drinking water and absorbing odours in fridges and cupboards. It is harder than traditional black charcoal and has a distinctive metallic ringing sound if struck together. It has been steadily gaining popularity worldwide and is even used in the production of clothing and instruments.
Kishu Binchō-tan works perfectly in our Konro grills but can also be used in place of regular charcoal in any bbq grill.
Beware of many other Binchō-tans being produced outside of Japan being marketed as Japanese charcoal. Many are made using chemical additives and accelerants. The Binchō-tan we source is 100% pure Ubame oak from Shikoku or Wakayama Japan and is the KING of charcoals.
Chef’s tips: Ensure you stack at least 2-3 layers deep of Binchotan logs. This will give you good vertical heat and a more reliable grilling experience.
Be patient. Often people start grilling before the charcoal has reached it’s peak heat potential. You’ll know when it’s ready to grill when a piece of chicken skin blisters and crackles after one minute.