I just came in from stacking apple wood in my backyard and I got to thinking, it should would be nice to learn how to make my own charcoal. I waded through about 10 videos for you guys and found this very talkative fellow who showed a fairly easy method that appeared to be very efficient when compared to others.
It seems there are 2 basic methods to making charcoal:
- The indirect method: In this method you don’t burn the wood but rather place it in some sort of container like a 55 gallon drum and then cook it with an outside fire source. Most of these methods seemed silly to me as it seems most people are using propane burners as their fuel source. I’m sorry if I was going to do that I think it would be more responsible of me just to buy a bag of Kingsford. Other videos showed people making massive bonfires to cook their charcoal, again this doesn’t seem very efficient to me as your burning twice the fuel that you are creating.
- The direct method involves starting a small fire in a container and then adding your charcoal material to that container. Once you get the fire going you restrict the airflow to the fire, at this point you wait for the wood to dry out and then you cut off the air flow completely. Wait about a day and come back and you have charcoal.
- dig a hole the size of the bottom of a metal drum
- compact the dirt in the hole
- drill a bunch of holes in the bottom a metal drum using a 3/4 inch bit
- place the barrel on the hole
- Fill it full of flammable stuff
- light it on fire
- take a bunch of split wood and throw it on top of your fire
- take a metal lid and place it on top
- slide a slim branch under the lid to prop it open some
- Wait until the smoke stops being white and starts being more blue (2 to 3 hours)
- Wack the barrel a bunch… (to stir it up I assume?)
- Wack the lid down to seal the barrel
- clamp the lid
- come back in 24 hours
If you don’t feel like watching these 2 videos I took some notes while watching
How to make charcoal
Watch the videos