Heat Beads® have become common practice for a reliable heat source for camp oven cooking, but do you know what’s in them, how they are made or the quality control they go to to provide the user a quality product?
1. Heat Beads® is a brand, not a product!
Commonly Mistaken but Heat Beads® is actually a registered brand name, and the BBQ briquettes that you light is one of their products.
What are Heat Beads® BBQ Briquettes made of and how are they made!
The high quality of Heat Beads® BBQ Briquettes is because of the unique raw materials base used – a blend of hardwood charcoal and mineral carbon.
The mineral carbon is made by carbonising brown coal sourced from the La Trobe Valley near Melbourne, Australia at high temperatures to remove the volatile matter to give a high-quality carbon with low impurities.
- The coal has first been dried in a cogeneration plant using waste steam from a nearby power plant.
- The coal is then heated to around 900°C in an oxygen-free environment in a process known as ‘carbonisation’. This heating process results in a high purity carbon called char, which produces a long-burning and high-quality product. No external process energy is required.
- This product is sold as a reductant, not as a fuel, for high-value metallurgical applications; the production of silicon metal and ferroalloys in Scandinavia; and for activated carbon used in water filtration.
- The fines are used in BBQ briquette manufacture.
The charcoal used in Heat Beads® BBQ Briquettes is the leftover fines from the production of high quality Eucalyptus hardwood lump charcoal, and would otherwise be waste.
Heat Beads® BBQ Briquettes also contain a binder, an oxidising agent and a filler. Each of these materials has a very specific purpose.
- A binder is used to hold the briquettes together in the traditional pillow shape. The binder used is food grade starch –a high-quality material that is responsible for ensuring the briquettes are hard and don’t crumble, making them burn for longer.
- An oxidising agent is used to make the briquettes easier to light. Without it, the briquettes would take a long time to light and require more fire lighters. The material used is a naturally occurring mineral that is slightly refined to remove impurities. It is entirely consumed in the light-up process – once the briquettes are fully alight (ashed over) the oxidising agent has burnt away.
- A filler is added to our BBQ Briquettes to provide a thermal mass to hold the heat generated by the carbon burning. It is a naturally occurring mineral that undergoes no change during the burning process, but helps ensure Heat Beads® BBQ Briquettes burn hotter for longer.
Australian Char then blends and presses (briquettes) the char, charcoal and other ingredients into a superior barbecue fuel, tailored to the specific needs of the barbecuing public.
How does the Heat Beads® brand ensure consumers get a great bag of briquettes? High-quality raw materials, controlled production process and lots and lots of testing.
We test briquettes using real BBQs to simulate customer experience; we want to make sure every cooking experience is a good one.
We do over 1200 BBQ tests a year, with thermocouples in the BBQ tracking heat and performance over time.
Raw materials are tested on a daily basis for a range of things including moisture, size, and density.
We conduct these tests to our raw materials over 200 times each month.
Each BBQ test provides data that shows us whether the product meets our performance standards. We want to make sure the briquettes remain hot for over 5 hours:
The presentation is important to us! Product bags are checked inside and out every single day.
Firelighters are a preferred product for many Heat Beads® users, and we regularly test the performance of different firelighter products, including the reliable Heat Beads® Firelighter product. If the firelighters are not great quality, lighting the briquettes will be more difficult and time-consuming:
We test Head Beads® briquettes using an International standard BBQ test, making sure we make not only the best BBQ briquette in Australia but also in all the countries we export to: