Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Charcoal: Is it Gluten-Free?

I thought BBQ-ing was challenging because so many BBQ sauces have gluten in them. Most of the sauces that are gluten-free are just okay. BUT today I was reminded that if you are using an old fashion charcoal BBQ then you are probably being exposed to gluten. There are claims that wheat is used in the making of charcoal briquettes. Wheat and/or cornstarch are used as a binder.

Charcoal Briquettes May Contain Gluten!

Are you are wondering what the difference is between charcoal and briquettes is? Well, Bon Appetti answers the question in the article by Sam Dean  called: Everything You Need to Know About Charcoal, from Briquettes to Binchotan.

I emailed various companies to ask about wheat being used in charcoal briquettes. Here is the responses:

Texas Wheat Producer Board and Association:
It is our understanding that wheat is used as a binder in charcoal briquettes but that plain lump charcoal does not contain wheat.

Charcoal Briquette Companies:
90% of charcoal briquettes are made of hard wood and coal. 10% are made of binders. Those binders are either corn starch or wheat starch. Can  this small amount of wheat starch and the smoke charcoal produces from these briquettes cause any harm? NO ONE KNOWS for sure.  

Kingsford: Now uses corn starch as a binder in their briquettes.

Lump Coal Companies:

Thank you for your inquiry. Lump charcoal is a gluten-free product. It is 
made from natural hardwoods, and does not come in contact with wheat, 
barley, or rye products when it is made. It is made from predominately oak 
wood, although hickory and mesquite woods are also used. Pine is not used 
to make our lump charcoal.
Cowboy distributes All Natural Hardwood Briquets under the Stubb's® brand*
*All Natural with 95% hardwood charcoal fines combined with a vegetable starch binder


Creating lump charcoal is a result of burning oak, hickory and other hardwoods purchased primarily from sawmills. The wood is converted to charcoal by burning in a concrete and steel kiln. The burning process is stopped before the burning wood turns to ash--the result being charred wood, which is charcoal. There are no additives or other items used in the burning process. “

Primo Grill and Smokers: Product Primo Natural Lump Coal
It’s also lump coal.

This company is known for it's quality products and is gluten-free.

Please know that none of our products carry gluten. All come from 100%
HARDWOODS, harvested in accordance with FSC Our Briquette carries only

hardwood char and yucca or corn starch as a binder, no fillers of any kind.

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