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Keeping charcoal briquettes going

scamandrius

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Mods, feel free to move. 

I have been purchasing Jerusalem type briquettes for a while now.  The problem that I have been having is that I often seem to get a whole package that just seems to peter out after a few minutes.  I don't load a lot of the incense on top of them and there is a constant air flow as I leave the hand censer open.  Is there a way to keep the briquette going for a longer period of time?  Or is just luck of the draw?  Should I consider going to a different brand?  I use quarter size briquettes because of the  size of my hand censer.  THanks.
 

hecma925

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I have good results with Three Kings. The kind I have is a little larger, so I break it into four pieces. The key is to fully light it until the whole thing grows red and starts to ash over. For me, it burns completely and lasts about 45 minutes, more than enough for evening prayers.
 

Richmond

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Have you considered propane?
 

Ainnir

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I have good results with Three Kings. The kind I have is a little larger, so I break it into four pieces. The key is to fully light it until the whole thing grows red and starts to ash over. For me, it burns completely and lasts about 45 minutes, more than enough for evening prayers.
I guess that requires tongs? I neglected tongs in my recent censer purchase... :(
 

hecma925

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Yes, those would help. You could just leave it and blast it with a torch or BBQ lighter, but if you have a metal censer, like I do, it would get too hot to be able to handle and cense your home.
 

Ainnir

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Yes, those would help. You could just leave it and blast it with a torch or BBQ lighter, but if you have a metal censer, like I do, it would get too hot to be able to handle and cense your home.
It's not for carrying around, so no worries there. But the BBQ lighter doesn't cut it.
 

hecma925

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Kitchen torch (used for something like Crème Brûlée) might be up your alley.
 

JTLoganville

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Three Kings is good...smaller size is perfect for Vespers. But the self-lighting material degrades after a few years so buying a large box is generally not a good idea if your use is occasional.
 

hecma925

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Three Kings is good...smaller size is perfect for Vespers. But the self-lighting material degrades after a few years so buying a large box is generally not a good idea if your use is occasional.
Yeah, I have an old box. It takes a few minutes, since I use a candle to light it. I did have some old small briquettes (no idea of the brand) and they were explosive, lit very well and quickly...but the smell was awful. To me, Three Kings doesn't smell as bad, fresh or old.
 

Aram

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I have good results with Three Kings. The kind I have is a little larger, so I break it into four pieces. The key is to fully light it until the whole thing grows red and starts to ash over. For me, it burns completely and lasts about 45 minutes, more than enough for evening prayers.
Three Kings is the best brand, it seems. I've never had good luck with the small, round charcoals, especially if you've had that package open longer than a week. They don't light all the way through, and more often then not they go cold really fast.

My go-to are the larger discs separated into triangles, the ones that come in larger trays with the plastic wrap on top, like this:


Little tip, though: If you break charcoal into segments, the left-over go bad rather quickly because the interior of the charcoal is exposed to more air. Unless you're going to use the other half that same service, don't break them up.

As for fire source, your best bet is just a standard BBQ lighter like you buy at the hardware store. Nothing fancy and it's easy to poke into a censer on the fly if you need to goose the charcoal mid-service. Plus it gives that classic altar "click click click" noise we all know well.
 
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