Recent wave of Japanese casual dining style sweeping America has given boost to a familiar genre of Japanese foods: YAKITORI and YAKIMONO, consisting of chicken, meats, seafoods and vegetables, skewered and grilled over hot charcoal. Just like Sushi and other popular Japanese cuisine, there’s an element of artistry over these grilled foods which call for the freshest ingredients, skillful preparation, and mindful attention.
The KEY to Yakimono foods is the heat source which sears the foods to seal every bit of flavor and cook them to perfection. That KEY is BINCHOTAN, the white charcoal that in itself has risen to become chefs’ favorite grilling source.
BINCHOTAN is the traditional charcoal of Japan. It is carbonized wood made through a heating process that dissipates water and other gasses, heated in a kiln within the confines of a low oxygen environment. The result is a very lightweight material that burns long and steadily at a high temperature, ideal for grilling.
UNIQUE QUALITIES: NO SMOKE & FAR INFRARED RAYS
Binchotan charcoal releases very little smoke, and does not transfer unpleasant flavors or aromas, thus does not alter the foods they’re cooked with. Whereas versus natural gas, since it’s flameless, there’s less worry over charred foods. Its strong and steady heat source sears the foods to seal flavors and moisture.
Yakitori shops grill with Binchotan for a particular reason: Far Infrared Rays (FIR), an electro-magnetic wave that is easily absorbed and penetrates organic materials, therefore is capable of heating foods evenly, from within. Natural gas or other charcoals would cook the exterior, while the interior remains raw.
Binchotan ( Shiro Zumi or white charcoal ) are alkaline activated carbonized charcoal, which are dense and very hard, resembling a metallic character. The best come from the old Kishu region, present day Wakayama Prefecture. Seven to eight year old holm oak yields a metallic-like, hard consistency which has a long burn time, and is abundant in the much prized Far-Infrared Rays.