Japanese Barbeques

How To Light Binchotan For Your BBQ

March 10, 2012 10 Comments
lighting binchotan

Binchotan is the king of charcoal. Unlike regular hardwood charcoal Binchotan will burn for 3 – 5 hours, it can be extinguished and re-ignited 2 – 3 times and burns with an even constant heat which quickly seals in the natural flavours of your produce. Learn more about Binchotan here.


Fire up your binchotan until it’s glowing hot

Lighting your binchotan

1. Place charcoal in a charcoal chimney (pot with holes in the bottom) or directly over naked flame (Example: on a portable gas burner) to ignite for approx 25 minutes. It should be consistently glowing. Do not use a synthetic fire starter or you will end up with unhealthy and distasteful chemical fumes.

firing up binchotan

Use a chimney starter over a naked flame

2. Make sure all the charcoal is lit properly before placing it in the konro.
3. Use tongs to evenly place charcoal in your barbeque. If you are only using half your barbeque, stack binchotan evenly on one side only.

binchotan, konro

Use metal tongs to evenly fill your barbeque

4. Once stacked, leave the charcoal to burn for about 15 mins to build the heat. Reshuffle the logs to get a more even heat.

konro barbeque

Ready for barbequing

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.


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Spencer Yu May 18, 2015 at 4:14 am

Where can I get your version of the Chimney Starter. I like the large size. Other Chimney Starters have a concave bottom to accomodate newspaper to light. Those don’t work because the flame is too far from the binchotan.

Also, where did you get that grate. My konro came with those cheap flimsy wire grates.


Chef's Armoury August 6, 2015 at 4:04 pm

Barbeques Galore for both.

Lien May 24, 2015 at 11:33 pm

Do I need to fan the binchotan as i’m grilling to remove the ashes?

Chef's Armoury August 6, 2015 at 4:03 pm

No need to remove the ashes. Wait until you’ve finished barbequing. After you’ve extinguished the charcoal separately, wait until the konro is cold and you can sweep the ashes out with a dustpan.

jason August 31, 2015 at 3:27 am

how do i put out the charcoal to reuse it? just h2o?

Steph September 14, 2015 at 10:15 pm

Put it in an old metal pot with the lid on to starve it of oxygen. Alternatively put it in a metal bucket of water, but it must be completely dry to reuse.

Annie April 7, 2017 at 5:15 pm

I just bought Konro today. Can you please explain how to light all the binchotan over a naked flame? My Konro will hold about 3 kilos>

Steph April 7, 2017 at 7:01 pm

Hi Annie,

Have a read of this info page https://www.chefsarmoury.com/pages/how-to-light-binchotan

Give us a call at the store tomorrow if you have any questions.


Liz November 12, 2017 at 4:10 pm

How do you break large pieces of binchotan?

Steph November 13, 2017 at 7:03 pm

Just hit it with the back of a knife (thick part of the knife, not the edge), it is quite easy to portion


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