Some grill masters claim the secret to tasty recipes is a sauce, spice or the meat itself.
However, David Griffin, founder and owner of Meat Head Charcoal, said the key to good grilling is the source of the heat.
“The flavor of your meat always comes back to the foundation of your heat,” said Griffin. “When you start with that good wood, that very dense, South American wood, that’s what ultimately provides you with that best burning charcoal.”
Meat Head Charcoal is crafted from the Quebracho, or axe-breaker, wood grown in the forests of Paraguay. Griffin said the wood creates charcoal that is unlike any other on the market, with no popping or sparking and a consistent burn.
In addition, each 22-pound bag of charcoal is filled to the top with large chunks that can last through several burns.
“When you carbonize [the wood] and make it into charcoal, it still remains very dense and creates a very consistent charcoal and provides for that very even, long-lasting burn,” said Griffin. “You can do a quick burn, close your grill up and when you come back it will still be big chunks of wood that you can just freshen up your fire a little bit for the next time and light it up and go again.”
Griffin said the wood is sustainably sourced in accordance with environmental regulations and only trees that were previously cut down for other purposes are used for the charcoal.
An avid griller himself, Griffin said he and a friend first began looking for a way to make their own charcoal roughly three years ago. The two men started with a couple of 55-gallon drums in their backyard, then ordered a custom kiln.
In order to learn more about the science behind making charcoal, a process called pyrolysis, they consulted a variety of sources. They met with professors at the University of Georgia and the University of Hawaii; they also had a few run-ins with the local fire department.
Eventually, they found the “right recipe.”
“We honed it in to exactly what we wanted and were ultimately able to provide what we set out to do, which was the best, clean burning, consistent charcoal on the market,” said Griffin.
Griffin said the company’s supplier in Paraguay sends him one or two containers each month, filled with 2,000 bags of charcoal each.
But he does not have a hard time finding a place for the product. Through word of mouth and a committed customer service team, Meat Head Charcoal has made its way to 65 vendors.
Griffin said these vendors are spread out in Hall County and North Georgia, as well as in surrounding states like North Carolina and Tennessee. There are a couple of vendors in Virginia and one as far as Nantucket.
“We call all of our vendors on Mondays to ask them if they need any more or if they would like a new delivery…we want to be sure that we’re always checking in with the customers and nobody is looking for us,” said Griffin.
More information about Meat Head Charcoal, including recipes and a list of local vendors, is on its website.
Small Business Spotlight is a periodic feature highlighting unique small businesses in AccessWDUN's 10-county coverage area. Have a business that you would like to see featured? Email the author at [email protected]!