Secrets on the Grill

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Preparing the Briquette Ingredients

In a previous post, I mentioned how paper should be prepared as a briquette ingredient. Two other ingredients I use on a regular basis are crushed dried leaves and sawdust.

Sawdust need not be broken down further. Just ensure that wood shavings and chips that typically come from wood planing processes are removed. Dried leaves need to be really dry and brittle that they break up when crushing with your fingers. A really neat tool is a mortar and pestle setup like the one below that's big enough to crush and grind huge amount of dried leaves into smaller suitable pieces. Of course a hammer mill would be convenient, but we're just talking of simple and no-cost tools here.

All three ingredients can now be mixed. Add the sawdust and shredded leaves into the pail that contains the paper slurry and mix thoroughly. For mixing the ingredients, I just use an old three-pronged garden cultivator. This tool looks like a very small rake.

How much of each of the briquette ingredients? A good mix would be 1 part sawdust, 1 part dried leaves and 2 parts paper. You could experiment on various mixes and that will definitely affect the quality of the briquettes. Here's how the mixed slurry will look like.

Cover the pail and let the mixture soak for 3 days or so. Depending on the "ingredients" you used, the mixture may start to smell a bit after a week and invite flies so be sure to cover the pail.

The next post in this series discusses the briquetting workplace.