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Subject Topic: Aussie heat beads
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12/5/2012 at 8:04pm
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From a previous post

"Heat beads are different to all other briquettes that I know of in that they are made from compressed Anthracite not charcoal, hence they last very much longer and give a steadier heat. I find with "ordinary" briquettes and more so with lump charcoal the heat is more intense but dies back faster. This is fine for fast hot cooking but not for slower cooking."

Of course it's appropriate to take into account the impact on the environmemt of manufacturing and shipping costs, as well as the impact of actual use.

This is a complex balance and because a product comes from the other side of the world doesn't, in itself, mean it must always be ruled out.

Clearly, if the same product was available from a producer down the street, it would be perverse to buy an equivalent shipped half way round the world.

But the product which best suits our needs/wants may not always be made locally. Weber barbeques, for example, are made in the US.

-------------
Mike

My advice is worth no more than the price paid for it

Prague May/Jun 2017
Lake Annecy Aug 2017


12/5/2012 at 10:14pm
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And probably 90% of our tents and gear in the far east......


13/5/2012 at 12:00am
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So Heat Beads are not even made from sustainably managed wood they are made from coal! I dispair :-(. Even Sainsburys today were selling UK sustainable charcoal briquettes (with a uk flag and an sustainable wood logo) and supermarkets are not the best for watching their environmental impact.
Its not the same shipping a consumable that goes up in smoke to a one off purchase like a tent or TV. To me its not the same especially if local alternatives are available. Unless its the case that a Cobb needs special fuel and if so then my mind is made up I wont be getting one. My BBQ is fine and not so choosey. Just surprised people dont even consider things like this and I am not some green eco warrior.


13/5/2012 at 6:20pm
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We got a Cobb recently.

The instructions ive details for charcoal, briquettes and their own product a one piece cobblestone. So no the Cobb does not require specific fuel.  In fact its name comes from the fuel burned in the original (which was apparently designed as a cooking system for pople in rural Africa) which was a plentifull free supply of dry corn cobbs.

From theCobb website 'The Cobb is very fuel efficient , using 8-10 briquettes, 1 Cobble Stone or 300 grams charcoal for over 2 hours of cooking.'

Compared to others I have cooked on the Cobb is efficient and if people choose to use the Aussie heatbeads then the efficiency at offsets some of the other carbon footprints.

Cheers.



-------------
Bodmin August 2017


13/5/2012 at 10:05pm
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People should be using these then.  I read up on heat beads and on the Auzzie sites they use them with wood chippings and dont like to use them right away. As they are coal based apparently they can give the food a nasty taste is not all the chemicals are burnt off and as they are not wood then they dont give a smokey taste to the food. Might as well use gas then. I bif of googling as well as looking at the british BBQ society recommend "resturant grade" lumpwood for the longest burn. Apparently its bigger hardwood lumps designed to last longer than the normal lumpwood we get in the shops which is more for impatient grillers.

Something like this has to be better than imported coal based fuel and probabally a lot tastier as well!



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14/5/2012 at 2:01pm
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elanman,

whilst you have very valid point to make it seems that you are "picking" on cobb owners. I am sure byou have a mass of products manufactured and imported from abroad when there are probably more expensive and inferior products available in the UK. Do you only ever buy food from a farm shop that is seasonal or do you pop into tescos to buy your veg only to find that its flown half way around the world to get to your table?

I use my cobb with heat beadsas with one set of 8 beads i can cook breakfast lunch and dinner.

The biobbq cobbs look good and i shall try some but i doubt they will produce the heat needed by the cobb to do the roasting. I know they use them in south africa but the ambiant temprature has a huge effect on the cooking times and cooking temprature.

I mentioned using penn beads and they are are so bad compared to the Aussie heat beads that i used twice as many.

Anyway rant over I only came on here to find the cheapest place to buy heat beads..



14/5/2012 at 2:25pm
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Elanman, the cobb is an oven firstly and not a BBQ so no need for the smokey taste in food, If you want the food to taste smokey then you can add wood chips which come in various types to give different flavours.

The reason for good quality charcoal is so that the oven gives a good heat to cook the food properly, if i wanted BBQ flavour food every day i was camping then i would take a BBQ.

If i could source good quality charcoal locally then i would use it, but seeing how i cant then i use the best charcoal available to me.

-------------
Brian


14/5/2012 at 3:02pm
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Not picking on Cobb owners just thinking that it should be considered where something comes from, afterall we all like the outdoors and compain about unseasonal weather, flooding etc, which is in part due to our impact on co2 emissions. And I dissagree that "when there are probably more expensive and inferior products available in the UK" is a true statement. I am glad that I dont think that way. My default position is that the best products are produced in the UK unless proven otherwise and why should the fact that it be foreign mean its better? I do shop in a local farm shop and it has better quality produce and cheaper than Tesco and closer to home but I do happen to live in an area where there is a lot of good produce in Worcestershire. I do look at the label were veg comes from and if its Peruvian Mange Tu I get the local brocolli instead, ditto for New Zealand butter vs English butter.
There seems to be plenty of options rather than Aussie coal. One more worth trying herehttp://www.logs2u.co.uk/cocoshell-charcoal-briquettes-5kg. The Cobblestones at least come from an organic source so are sustainable. I would rather use a few more coals of a local sourced sustainable product myself and it should be cheaper but even if its not, I would get it in preference. Sorry I stepped in I was quite literally gob smacked you could even buy charcoal from Australia here in the UK. But hey people have different priorities and reasons for their own footprint but I think the important thing is we consider it.


14/5/2012 at 4:19pm
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Had another look at those Cocoshell ones. It seems the British BBQ society likes them alot http://www.bbbqs.com/Forum/index.php and says they burn a long slow burn and good for smokers. Also recommended is resturant grade lumpwood. Penn beads dont get much of a score neither does supermarket grade charcoal. Food (or indeed fuel) for thought.


29/5/2012 at 12:28pm
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This is an interesting discussion.

I have a Cobb and find it to be the most efficient BBQ-type cooker I have ever used. I would say it uses 30% of the fuel a more traditional BBQ would use to cook the same amount of food.

One point to add is that it is sensitive to the quality of the fuel. In other words it requires a relatively high quality / output fuel to generate enough heat to work at its best. In a traditional BBQ, you can get round this by varying the quantity of fuel (ie just add more charcoal), but the Cobb is restricted by the size of the charcoal basket. Hence, I believe the issue is sourcing a suitable fuel. Cobblestones (coco shell based) and heat beads are good. Cheap supermarket briquettes are not good. Locally sourced charcoal might be good, but it is difficult to know until you try it. Most people like to use what they know they can rely on. If a UK sourced product exists that meets the standards of Heat beads (and at a competitive cost), I would be very happy to use them. At this point in time, I am just not aware of any.

Nevertheless, I would argue the case that a Cobb produces relatively little CO2 per KG of food cooked than a traditional BBQ. Of course, I would also argue that the amount of CO2 I contribute to the environment through the use of my Cobb is less than negligible compared to heating my home, and living the usual western lifestyle that I do, so I am not going to treat it as much of a priority


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15/3/2013 at 4:51pm
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Quote: Originally posted by elanman on 10/5/2012
Am I the only one that thinks its outrageous to buy burnt wood shaped into squares all the way from Australia! Thinks of the carbon footprint. I try to get local charcoal and burn it in my Webber go anywhere feeling content that although I am emitting some CO2 while burning it I am not burning up twice as much getting it to me. Doesnt anyone else think about stuff like that???


Not at all mate.  The world is full of liberal do-gooders like you who go on about things like carbon-footprints and climate change. 

We live in a global village.  It's normal to buy goods of all kinds from all countries of the world these-days.  Are you sure that the charcoal you buy is 'local'?  Maybe it is - but how about your wine rack at home?  No Australian, or Chilean, or Argentinian stuff in there?  All English wine is it?

The reason why some of us buy things like "Aussie" heat beads is that they are FAR SUPERIOR to anything else - including the Weber briquettes. And as for Penbeads sold by B&Q they are garbage.  The Aussie Heat Beads give off more heat and burn for much longer. I regularly cook a sunday roast on the Weber kettle barbeque. I bang the meat on the grill and leave it to slow cook for a couple of hours - it's perfect.  And the Aussie Heat Beads are still hot for a good hour or so afterwards.

Tell me a "local" charcoal briquette that gives me that kind of performance and I'll change tomorrow. I've tried dozens of different types and i'm afraid nothing compares with the Aussie Heat Beads - so stuff the carbon footprint and let's crack open another bottle of Aussie Red as well whilst we're at it?

 

 



16/3/2013 at 3:56pm
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I agree with these comments. I use Heat Beads when I can get hold of them on the basis that the Cobb only requires six briquettes to cook my food (not half a bag like other bbq's). Surely, the fact that the Cobb uses so little fuel does offset the miles the fuel has travelled? All this aside, if I could buy the same briquettes made in the UK then I would. The Cocoshell briquettes would be great and are more sustainable as far as I am aware but I can't get them for love nor money.

I guess that when you go the supermarket you don't buy potatoes from Cyprus and herbs from the West Bank then and various other examples of food that has travelled across continents?

I grow my own herbs and try to buy as many local products and British produced items as I can - Henry vacuum cleaner, Barbour jacket, some British Wine etc, however, whether I like it or not, products from overseas will still be imported. To be quite honest, I like my Chilean red wines and my French Champagne. Maybe we should ban all products from other countries and ban bbqs whether it be ones that use gas or charcoal and that would sort it out wouldn't it?

Whilst we are at it, let's ban the car as well and then everyone would be stuffed and there would be no point at all in this forum because nobody would be able to go camping

-------------
Suzanna


16/3/2013 at 4:22pm
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I don't own a BBQ so have no idea about the fuel but if you really wanted to reduce your carbon footprint you should stop putting meat on those BBQ's


16/3/2013 at 5:36pm
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That's very true. I don't eat steak or lamb but eat chicken, ostrich and things like that. I also do eat sausages - farm shop/farmer's market sort so very local but again, I am not sure how this bodes environmentally. I am not sure what impact these animals have on things. I do eat a lot of vegetables too and like my potatoes in the flavour well - I prefer Cornish potatoes if I can get them.

It would be a shame to ban everything though because it wasn't environmentally friendly. That would be cars, woodburning stoves, bbq's patio heaters, flying, train travel, food that has done any food miles, it goes on. Even the tents we buy and the wellies we might wear whilst camping. The clothes we buy, it all has an impact environmentally. I think what has failed to be acknowledged here is that everyone is different and, whether rightly or wrongly so, some people aren't concerned with things like this and others are.

I would love to buy all things British all the time but some things are extremely expensive and I can't afford to. Other things aren't - Camel Valley wine for example, award winning wine at a great price. Bizarrely, it is easier for me to get hold of wine from Chile than it is to buy wine from Cornwall. There hangeth the tale!

-------------
Suzanna


17/3/2013 at 6:18am
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I tell you what I do, to "reduce my carbon footprint" - I avoid stepping in soot for a start.

But I also try and use my local shops wherever I can. I buy my fruit and veg there rather than from a supermarket. OK! Hands up! I don't ALWAYS buy everything locally - but for some things I do. What I've found is that fruit and veg bought locally from the little greengrocers stays fresh for a good week or so - whereas the supermarket stuff goes off in a couple of days.

I'm very particular about meat. Nothing to do with all this horse-meat palava. My uncle was the butcher in the village where I grew up and my father used to help him - this was at a time when many people kept their own pigs and livestock. We always had good quality meat on the table at home. My father would insist on it. This was in the days before your big supermarket chains were piling it high and selling it cheap. He taught me what to look out for and about the various cuts of meat. So I almost always buy meat from a top quality butcher. We have one of the "Real Meat Company" franchises near us - and they are worth checking out - they have a few shops across the U.K. Their meat is guaranteed to be not only organic and free range but free of any additives whatsoever. You pay more for it - so some people won't appreciate it. But if you're the kind of person that does - then it's worth checking out.

I occasionally buy from farm shops as well. We're lucky in so much as we have the Chatsworth Estate on our doorstep. They have a good farm shop in the village of Pilsley.

Back to the topic though and I do agree that, if you can, it's better to try and not add to worsening eco situation. But I also believe a lot of this is blown out of all proportion and used as a stick for political purposes.

If we shrink-wrapped the ocean that would have more effect on the eco-climate than banning all cars in the world.

It might be easier too?



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