Tuesday, January 16, 2018

7 Best Lump Charcoal: Choosing the Right Charcoal for Grilling and Smoking

Grilling is a great way of cooking meat and many are getting into the idea of grilling using lump charcoal for their barbecuing needs. In this post, we will be reviewing some of the best lump charcoal on the market today, including lump charcoal for grilling and smoking. We will also discuss the different benefits of using lump charcoal and how to choose the best one for your wonderful grilling experience.

List of Best Lump Charcoal

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*For more information about NCS (Net Customer Satisfaction) grade, please click here. (Price range: $ = $1 - $50 / $$ = $51 - $100 / $$$ = $101 -$150 / $$$$ = $151 - $200 / $$$$$ = $201 - $250 /$$$$$$ = Above $250)

The Top 4 Lump Charcoal Reviews

Fogo All-Natural Premium Hardwood Lump Charcoal Bag

The Fogo FHWC35LB is a premium hardwood lump charcoal and also the best lump charcoal for Big Green Egg or Kamado Joe grilling cookware. This product is 100% natural lump charcoal and has no other chemicals or additives. So, you’re insured with a clean and natural burning fire that will make your food taste even better.

This lump charcoal is made from dense Central American Oak Hardwood trimmings with hand selected pieces placed in the bag. This makes sure that you get the top quality lump charcoal pieces you can use for cooking, although some users say that they find the pieces a little too big. However, you can try to cut to your desired size if needed to.

Fogo lump charcoal lights fast and can be ready to grill within 15 minutes. Lighting it up is easy without the need to use lighter fluid. Simply build a pile of lump charcoal and place a vegetable oil-soaked ball of kitchen paper towel underneath. Since it is dense and easy to light, it can burn hotter and longer than any regular charcoal.

This product is great for grilling or cooking any type of food like meat, fish, chicken or even vegetables. With this, you are also sure that this product is restaurant quality because it is used by many restaurants to cook their food too.

Overall, the Fogo FHWC35LB premium lump charcoal is definitely the best lump charcoal for kamado cooking stove like the Big Green Egg. The large sizes of charcoal are great for long and slow cooking because it burns longer.

Fogo FHWC35LB 35-Pound All Natural Premium Hardwood Lump Charcoal Bag

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B

Original Natural 100% Hardwood Lump Charcoal

Original Natural Charcoal is another 100% natural hardwood lump charcoal that blends apple, cherry, and oak trees that emit a sweet aroma, warm and add a fruity flavor to the meats. It makes your food more delicious and smoky with a sweet flavor which is perfect for beef, poultry, game birds, and pork.

The Original Natural charcoal is easy to light up. All you need is one and a half sheet of paper to start the fire and you are ready to grill in 5 minutes. You don’t need to use lighter fluid or oil at all. This lump charcoal produces less smoke, sparks, and produce minimum ash so you grill more safely and cleaner.

This charcoal is chef-grade and specially designed for grilling and barbecuing. Most charcoal grills are not hot enough because the burning charcoal does not produce sufficient heat and this tends to dry out the meat when cooking. But when you use this, the flame from the burning charcoal is hot enough to sear the outside and keep the juiciness of your meat inside.

One drawback that some users experienced is that there are quite many broken pieces of charcoal in the bag. However, what they liked about it is that the pieces aren’t too big or chunky to use which makes starting the fire easier and the broken pieces are excellent for starting the fire easier.

This is one of the highest-rated lump charcoals on Amazon and many users like how it lights easy and burns hot enough to sear. The manufacturer even guarantees 100% sizzling feature for your meats or 100% refund within 30 days, which is why we think this is the best lump charcoal for grilling.

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A-

Jealous Devil All-Natural Lump Charcoal

Refer as the “wicked good” charcoal, the Jealous Devil lump charcoal is an excellent product for smoking and grilling that comes in restaurant quality, meaning you can create amazing food from the comfort of your own home. Its premium ingredients make it burn with less smoke, sparks, and produce less ash for easier clean up than your regular charcoal.

The bag is made of heavy-duty 3-ply Kraft paper bag that store the charcoal safety do not easily tear apart. In the bag, you’ll find large sizes of lump charcoal and reduced dust, so you have less waste and a better grilling experience. Since it’s 100% natural, you don’t get chemicals, fillers, or even scrap wood, keeping your food safe.

Jealous Devil uses dense Quebracho Blanco hardwood which is also known as “axe breaker” throughout South America and as one of the hardest woods. The brand uses this because dense wood is the best for charcoal grilling. This premium quality wood leaves your food tasting amazing with a mild grilled flavor.

The charcoal can burn over 7000cal/g which is extremely hot. It burns twice as hot and three times longer than a traditional charcoal so you get your money’s worth. Some user commented that the charcoal burn longer. They have up to more than three hours of burn time making it a more cost-efficient product.

Another thing we liked about Jealous Devil is that they care about the environment and use sustainable wood for making their lump charcoal. Despite their growing demand, they have never cut a tree just to produce charcoal. We like this product and would recommend it as the best lump charcoal for smoking and grilling.

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B

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Grill Dome Choice Lump Charcoal

Grill Dome Choice lump charcoal is another great option for kamado-style grills. Just like other lump charcoals, this is also made of 100% natural mixed hardwood without additives and fillers. So, you’re sure that you grill without dangerous chemicals leach into your food.

This lump charcoal burns hotter, longer and cleaner than traditional charcoals because the pieces are larger to make burning last longer. This makes it equally great for smoking food and for slow cooking and is effective in keeping the flavor of your food intact. Although, one negative thing about this is that only ¼ of the pieces in the bag are large chunks.

Because it uses different kinds of wood, it is ideal for different types of smoked and grilled dishes. It leaves a nice smoky flavor to your food without the chemical taste some charcoals impart. A large 20 lb bag can be used for many months and doesn’t leave too many ashes and small pieces.

Grill Dome lump charcoal is a great value for money and is definitely one of the tops selected lump charcoal in the market. If you are not looking for a specific wood flavor on your food then this is a great option that doesn’t compromise the food’s taste.

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NCS Grade*

B

Our Pick

ozark-oak-lump-charcoal

We go through hundreds of products listing at Amazon and also study the ratings left by previous buyers to find the best lump charcoal for you. Besides that, we also calculate the overall net customer satisfaction (NCS) grade because we want to see how happy is the previous buyers with their purchase of the product.

From our finding, we can say that charcoal by Original Natural is the best lump charcoal brands. This brand is popular and received many excellent ratings for their products.

Also, the Original Natural Charcoal score favorably for the ratings as well as the NCS grade compare to the rest. We believe that you would find these lump charcoal a good buy too.

What is Lump Charcoal?

Lump charcoal is produced by burning out pieces of dense wood until all the water, sap, and moisture are gone. After that, what’s left is a less harmful lump of charcoal that responds well to oxygen when burning. Furthermore, lump charcoals do not contain chemicals or additives so it’s the cleanest and safest way to grill.

Lump Charcoal vs Briquettes

Lump Charcoal

In general, lump charcoal uses natural materials compared to briquettes, therefore these do not use chemicals and additives. However, it can be more expensive than briquettes. But what’s great about these is it’s easy to light and the burning time is usually longer because of the dense hardwood material. Other than those, it emits less smoke and ash so it’s easier to clean.

Briquette

Briquette charcoal is wood that is processed and pressed into blocks. Many of the briquette shape and size is made to look nice but it contains carbon and additives to help it burn. It’s also known to produce more ash during cooking so people are worried about it going to their food. Price wise, it is cheaper than lump charcoal but the downside is less clean.

Is Lump Charcoal Safe for the Environment?

rockwood-lump-charcoal

Burning charcoal is not 100% eco-friendly because it can emit high levels of carbon dioxide, propane, and other chemicals. And most traditional charcoals use regular branches, wood, or twigs from trees, and even lumber scrap.

However, lump charcoals have lower levels of carbon footprint compared to traditional charcoal and there are even some brands that use sustainable wood. In short, this means manufacturers don’t cut down trees just to produce charcoal. Other than that, they use premium quality dense hardwood that burns less smoke.

How to Choose the Best Lump Charcoal?

Ingredients

Most lump charcoal is made with natural ingredients, but it’s also important to know what these are specifically. Make sure that the bag of charcoal is properly labeled with its ingredients such as 100% organic and natural hardwood, no chemicals and additives, etc. Some even specifically state what kind of wood they used like cherry, mesquite, apple, oak or hickory.

Ease of lighting

Naturally, you will light your charcoal before you grill so one thing to consider is the ease of lighting the lump charcoal. Some can light easily without the use of gas or lighter fluid and can be as fast as 5 minutes. You do not want to spend 30 minutes just to light up the charcoal, do you?

Ash

Ash will be produced by burning a charcoal. For easier cleaning, make sure to choose the lump charcoal that produces less ash feature. This is possible with dense hardwood charcoal that does not break into ashes during burning.

Smoke

Smoke affects the amount of flavor that the lump charcoal imparts on your food depending on what type of wood it is. This is more applicable to those who use lump charcoal for smoking food. Sometimes the more smoke is produced from burning the charcoal, the tastier the food will become.

Price

Lump charcoals are generally more expensive than briquettes but because these are denser, a bag can last for months.

Quick Tips

  • Build a charcoal pyramid where large size charcoal is underneath and smaller size stack on top. Pyramid shape makes starting the fire easier and quicker. The center hollow space allows you to put a fire starter to assist in starting up the fire.
  • Assess how much heat your food will need to determine how much charcoal you should use. Burning excessive charcoal will not help in cooking and worst, it might burn the food.
  • Make use of the vents on your grill to control the heat.
  • Do not keep on lifting the lid just to check the temperature. Use a grill thermometer instead. The ThermoPro TP20 is an excellent wireless remote digital cooking thermometer for all your grilling needs.
  • Do not attempt to clean burning charcoal after cooking. Pour water on the charcoals and stir it gently. Let them soak for a day so that it’s easier to clean.

Wrapping Up

Using lump charcoal for grilling will definitely make your food tastier, healthier, and safer to eat. Based on our research and reviews, they are better than using briquettes despite being more expensive because they are earth-friendly, easier to light, cleaner, and longer lasting.

When you’re out to buy the best lump charcoal, choose a bag of charcoal that has all the information you need. Pick an all-natural premium quality dense hardwood lump charcoal. This can benefit your food and make it tastier and juicier.

We particularly like Original Natural Charcoal because of its perfect size, wonderful scent, and long burning time. Also, the Ozark Oak is great too. Unfortunately, news about the Ozark Oak lump charcoal company is closing down. If you still have Ozark Oak stocked in your garage, that might be the last stock you ever have left.

The post 7 Best Lump Charcoal: Choosing the Right Charcoal for Grilling and Smoking appeared first on Gordan Ladd's Kitchen.

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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

10 Best Electric Skillet In The Market Right Now: Review and Buy Guide

As one of the most convenient kitchen appliances, electric skillets offer so many functions in a very compact product. So, getting electric skillet can make your life a lot easier. But with the many brands available, how do you know which is the best electric skillet to buy?

In this post, we will be going through the top 5 electric skillet reviews so that you can make the best decision based on your preferences. The skillets on the list are among the best in the cookware industry with a lot of positive reviews and satisfaction from users. Other than that, each of them offers unique features that make them different from other regular cookware.

The Best Electric Skillet List

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Top 5 Electric Skillet Reviews for 2017

Presto 06857 16-inch Electric Foldaway Skillet, Black

The Presto Electric Foldaway Skillet is one of the best electric skillet in the market and has a high number of positive reviews from users. It is also an Amazon’s best choice product. This Presto skillet has a high quality heavy cast aluminum base with 16 inches of cooking surface and made to be durable which you can use for many years.

It has an effective non stick coating both inside and outside. This makes you use less oil in cooking which makes it a healthier and cost-efficient option. The non stick feature also makes it easier to clean compared to your regular pots or pans.

The skillet has a built-in contoured spout that can help you work cleaner as your transfer liquids to another container when cooking. It can also be used as a spoon or spatula holder so that you can put the lid properly during cooking and serving. It comes with a tempered glass cover and stay-cool handles so you can use it as a buffet server.

The design of the skillet makes it more efficient to use than a range burner or oven, and it takes up less space as well. This makes it great to use for those with limited storage space, and is equally great for those who have.

The temperature knob let you easily control the heat for your desired cooking temperature up to 400F. Whether you are stir-frying or searing, this precise heat electric skillet can get the job done well regardless.

This is considered an electric foldaway skillet because it is easy to store with its fold-down handles and detachable base. It is also dishwasher safe with the removal of the temperature control. This is a great buy which will make your cooking and clean-up a breeze.

Presto 06857 16-inch Electric Foldaway Skillet, Black

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A-

De'Longhi BG45 Electric Skillet

The De’Longhi BG45 Electric Skillet is another great electric skillet with notable features. It has a secured tempered glass lid which helps improve cooking to keep your food juicy. Besides that, it has the best quality of die cast aluminum for its body which is a great material for cooking because it last long and will still look great after years of use.

Most cookware covers come with a lid that has a steam vent but this De’Longhi skillet comes with adjustable steam vent holes that allows you to choose how much steam you want to release from cooking. This prevents getting burns from steam upon lifting up the lid when cooking.

The skillet has a non-stick base that effectively keeps your food from sticking to the surface unlike other non-stick pans. It has a large cooking surface which makes it efficient for cooking large portions of food or serving tray for a party.

This has an embedded heating element that ensures the even distribution of heat throughout the skillet. Unlike cooking on a gas or electric range that keeps the heat at the center, this skillet is great to evenly cook your food. Since the heat is properly distributed, it helps cook your food at the shortest time possible.

With an adjustable thermostat that allows you to control the temperature, you can cook your food perfectly and avoid getting burns. It comes with cool-touch handles for easy handling. You can also safely and conveniently clean it in the dishwasher by removing the detachable temperature control.

A standard 1-year limited warranty come with every purchase of De'Longhi electric skillet.

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NCS Grade*

A

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Hamilton Beach 38528 Deep Dish Ceramic Skillet

As one of the most trusted brands in cookware, the Hamilton Beach Deep Dish Ceramic Skillet is another one you shouldn’t miss. The Durathon ceramic non-stick coating is their unique feature because aside from lasting long, it doesn’t crack or peel easily unlike other traditional non-stick coatings.

Additionally, this Durathon coated skillet is PTFE and PFOA free, making it one of the healthiest and safest non-stick skillets in the market.

This skillet has more depth than other skillets and comes in 3-inches deep of cooking space. Its non-toxicity and depth, makes this product the best electric skillet for frying chicken and other food. It is deep enough to submerge food for frying and its non-toxic materials wouldn’t leech dangerous chemicals despite of the high temperature.

It has an adjustable temperature of up to 400 ºF, allowing you to work with different kinds of cooking like sautéing, stir-frying, simmering, braising or boiling with precise heat. The warm setting allows you to use it as a food server for a buffet setting, so you have freshly cooked food without getting cold.

With its high temperature, the handles will remain cool to the touch and allows you to hold it without the need for cooking gloves. After cooking, serving, and the removal of the temperature control, cleanup is very easy and convenient because it is also dishwasher safe.

Hamilton Beach definitely offers one of the best electric skillet and is unique with the Durathon and 3-inch deep features.

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B

Nesco ES-08 Electric Skillet, 8-Inch

The Nesco Electric Skillet is a very compact skillet which is 8-inch size and also comes in 12-inch model too. But despite the limited cooking surface, you can still comfortably roast, fry, steam, or bake with its deep interior. This is also ideal for homes with limited space and storage area or students that live in dorms.

The skillet is powered with 1800 watts and has a thermostat temperature control with a pilot light. It is easy to read so you can easily adjust the temperature while cooking compared to other controls. This prevents your food from burning and allows you to have perfectly cooked meals.

It comes with a die cast aluminum pan with a non-stick cooking surface. Just like other electric skillets, its high-quality material makes it last long throughout years of use. The non-stick feature also lets you cook healthier meals without having to use too much oil.

This material also makes it easy to clean that lets you enjoy fresh and clean food with every use. However, the lid is only dishwasher save but not that pan. Only use soap and water to wash the pan and no metal scrub to prevent scratching out the non-stick coat.

It has a sturdy tempered glass lid that won’t easily break. The safety vent on its lid works effectively in releasing steam safely while cooking. This avoids the steam from building up inside and causing steam burns.

Overall, this is a very useful skillet if you want something compact. The size is perfect for small homes but doesn’t limit the amount of cooking that you can do.

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NCS Grade*

B

Zojirushi EP-RAC50 Gourmet d'Expert 1350-Watt Electric Skillet

The Zojirushi d’Expert electric skillet is the only round-shaped skillet on our list of electric skillet reviews and the round shape skillet is especially great for stir frying. It is a multifunctional kitchen appliance that allows you versatility in cooking a variety of food.

The d’Expert comes with 2 cooking pans which are very useful for different types of cooking like stir-frying or sautéing. It has a deep dish inner pan for making soups or fondue. It even has steaming plate for steaming food. Lastly, it includes a titanium coated ceramic non-stick flat plate for grilling.

It’s powered with 1,350 watts and has an adjustable temperature setting from 176F to keep your food warm or heat your food up to 480F. This is a wonderful feature that allows you to cook your food at your own preferred temperature.

The handles on its sides are stay-cool so that you can hold the skillet while stirring or cooking your food. It also keeps your hands from getting burns which usually happens when you use traditional pots on cooking ranges.

This skillet has a see-through tempered glass lid that allows you to easily monitor your food while cooking and minimizes lifting up the lid.

With the different features that it can offer, it comes as an all-in-one package for a very affordable price. It is a very convenient product that allows you to cook in many ways.

As a bonus, the product comes with suggested recipes and the instruction manual is in English, Traditional Chinese, Korean and Japanese. The product also comes with a 1-year limited warranty.

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Editor Rating


NCS Grade*

A

What is an Electric Skillet?

20-inch-electric-skillet

An electric skillet is a kitchen appliance that combines heat and a pan into one so that you don’t have to cook food on a stove. The skillet usually comes with an electric heating element which you can control with its temperature settings. Some skillets are capable of frying food and most come with non-stick features.

An electric skillet works great for people with space constraint. Usually, an electric or gas stove will take up a considerable big amount of space in the kitchen. However, an electric skillet can be set up on top of a kitchen top; plug in the electric outlet and you ready to start cooking.

How to Choose the Right Electric Skillet?

If you are out to purchase an electric skillet, then knowing what to look for will help you choose the best one. Here are the few considerations:

What is the serving size?

Knowing the usual quantity of food you need to cook can easily help to determine the skillet size you need. There are skillets that are very compact with an 8-inch size while there is some 20 inch electric skillet for bigger groups of people. If you usually work with a single serving portion of food, then a small one will be perfect, but if you’re planning to use it for parties; definitely go with a large skillet.

What shape should you get?

Just like pots and pans, skillets also come in different shapes. The most common are either round or square. The type of cooking you’ll do will let you decide what kind of shape to get. A square or rectangular skillet is perfect for searing meat, while a round skillet is great for stir-frying and making soups.

Are you planning to deep-fry?

Some electric skillets are capable of frying food, and if you’re considering this, then you should get a deep set pan with temperatures that can reach 450 ºF. Most electric skillets can reach this temperature but not all have a deep dish feature. The deep dish can hold more cooking oil for deep fry with spilling the oil out from the pan.

Should You Buy an Electric Skillet?

should-i-buy-an-electric-skillet

Like mentioned earlier, if you have limited space for a stove and cookware, then going for an electric skillet is an excellent option. With its versatility and functionality, limited space will not keep you from making delicious meals. So, yes, we would highly recommend you to buy an electric skillet but be sure to read our reviews first and select the best one that suits you.

Caring for your Electric Skillet

Most electric skillets have a non-stick coating that is only semi-permanent. That means, it can come off if when scratched with something abrasive or sharp and will ruin the non-stick feature.

When using an electric skillet, always keep in mind to use wooden utensils instead of metal. This will prevent the non-stick coating from getting scratched and coming off. Click here to find more caring tips for your electric skillet.

Wrapping Up

If you are considering buying the best electric skillet, all our options are worth buying. They have many different features that function in many ways. They allow you to cook a variety of food. However, carefully considering all the features you need especially the size is crucial so that you can choose the one that best suits your cooking and the kitchen space.

Most electric skillets have the same features and because there are many options available, you should choose one at least have the heat-resistant handles, functional steam vents, sturdy tempered lids, and non-stick coating. Having these features are the most basic of a good electric skillet.

The post 10 Best Electric Skillet In The Market Right Now: Review and Buy Guide appeared first on Gordan Ladd's Kitchen.

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