he takes 4 weber starter cubes, lights them, and puts them on the stand and then presses some button. me thinks the 4 cubes by itself would start it just fine (I never use more than 2). not sure what the base does. maybe pumps air? $60 they are charging for these things! wow. I'd be one thing if it lit the coals itself. I'd suggest you save your money and just put the weber starter cubes at the bottom of the chimney rather than below it if you want to get your coals going fast.
They do take more effort, (much more actually) to light than the timber based charcoal you use in the USA. A full chimney of heatbeads (and no way they will light using newspaper) lighting with 2 to 4 cubes, will take up to one hour to fully light.
But they do seem to last much longer. I am not a charcoal expert, so hopefully someone else here can step in.
The main ingredient is actually Brown Coal.
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 ferro-alloys 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 firelighters. 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."
I did a Pork Butt for easter in the mini, probably only used half the Heatbeads fuel I loaded after 9.5 hrs (windless day at 225F cooking temp)
Thanks for you thoughts guys . I've only had my wsm for a week the guy in the shop said heat beads are what I needed . Did some ribs at the weekend used a full chimney and half a chimney to lite . Temp was at 225 all day ribs took 6 hours I left the wsm on for another 6 hours and there was still unburnt coal in the pan . Think I'm going to stick with them they seem really easy to use.they cost me £21 for 16kg . Not going to use as many next time I do ribs
Oli - its a close run thing between Heat Beads and Weber Briquettes here in the UK - people fall one side or the other.
I'm a Weber guy - can keep my WSM 'in the zone' for 12 hours + on one set of briquettes
I used to be a Weber guy, but have turned to using the Heat Beads. (The main reason being that I can set my Bullet up the same way every cook. Plus, there is next to nothing broken briqs & minimal dust).
I saw on the heatbeads website that BBQ galore sells them. I may call to see since I have one a few miles from my house but I'm really happy with lump charcoal now. It lasts longer than all my cooks and I end up reusing it next time. I do love trying new things though, even though I really don't need to.