Innovation at Thaan Charcoal

Innovation at Thaan Charcoal

One of the primary reasons for visiting the high deserts of Chihuahua last fall was to memorialize quality standards for our Oak Large Lump Charcoal..  Our overarching goal is for Thaan customers to have the absolute best experience cooking with live fire, and that happens when we put only the best charcoal in the package.  Together with Raul, our fantastic and committed business partner, we decided on a screen size of 2"-6" for our Oak Charcoal.  This means that only pieces larger than 2" and smaller than 6" in any dimension make the cut.  This ensures that the bags are clean and the charcoal burns more consistently for a longer duration.  A better experience for you.

The down side is that almost 40% of the charcoal produced doesn't make it into the bag.  This was a dilemma for all of us.  We can't compromise on quality, but it is not sustainable to waste almost half of this incredible, time-intensive product.  


It wasn't the charcoal itself that was a problem.  It was perfect in every way except that it was too small to be used as lump charcoal.  We also didn't have quite enough of it to do anything on a large scale.  This was a tricky problem to solve.  

During our trip, we talked a lot about the region we were in.  Chihuahua is a beautiful and intense place.  We learned about the economy, and the tenacity of its people.  We learned that Chihuahua is the largest producer of pecans in Mexico.  In 2023, the state of Chihuahua was estimated to produce almost 142,000 metric tons of pecans.  

We started to get more context, and our gears started turning.  We talked about experimenting with juniper charcoal, which was something Raul and I had both been thinking a lot about.  In Oregon, and similarly in Chihuahua, juniper becomes overgrown on pasture land, and is a challenging wood to work with.  It is often simply burned in the fields.  Such a waste.

We came away from our trip without all the answers, but with a commitment to solving the problem of our oak leavings.  We wanted to grow the business together in a manner we could be proud of.  After several follow up calls and some near miss ideas, we stumbled upon a solution that felt exciting:

High Desert Blend Charcoal Briquettes - A blend of our oak charcoal leavings, charcoal made from pecan shells, and balanced with juniper charcoal.  Oak charcoal has a smooth smokiness, the juniper gives a subtle, floral aroma, and the pecan rounds it all out with a gentle nuttiness.  Each is a sustainable resource of Estado de Chihuahua, and they come together in perfect balance.  The High Desert Blend briquettes have a pillow shape that is familiar to most, but they do not contain any accelerants to affect the flavor of grilled foods.  They are the most unique charcoal we've tried, and we are excited to share them with you all.

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