The Matriarch and my sister heard some startling news while they were in Calgary.  Once I started looking into it I found several articles on this topic including  ” This is a rumor that just won’t die!”.

“I had heard that wheat was used in charcoal as a filler, but I didn’t really know much about it, so I researched it. According to the Texas Wheat Producers Board And Association, and The Kansas Wheat Commission, wheat starch is used as a binder in most commercial charcoal briquettes. On another site, I found the Kingsford charcoal ingredients listed as follows: Wood Charcoal, Lignite Charcoal, Anthracite Coal, Limestone, Starch, Borax, Sawdust and Sodium Nitrate. This list does not specify where the starch comes from, but at an allergy site, more information about Kingsford Briquets was provided: “Both corn and wheat starches are used in this product, but they predominantly use cornstarch. They do not make any food products that do not contain gluten. This was confirmed by the company.” There is a positive note to all this. While reading about charcoal in general, I learned that if you allow your coals to burn to a complete ashy surface before you start cooking, any glues and additives will burn off before you start cooking. Hope this helps. ”

~CONNIE SARROS – Clan Thompson’s Celiac Site‘s Forums post:  “Kingston, though, has  changed the 80 year old recipe in the fall of 2006 and  looks to be GF now ( Posted fall 2007). “

Reference Number: 4811332
Dear Mr. AZcarnivore

Thank you for contacting us about Kingsford Regular Charcoal Sure Fire Grooves. We always appreciate hearing from our consumers.

Our new formula does not contain gluten or wheat. If you notice any other packaging changes, feel free to check back with us on this information.

Again, thank you for contacting us.


Hal Frankford
Consumer Response Representative
Consumer Services

and again in 2010;

Dear Mr. AKLAP,

Thank you for contacting us about Kingsford Regular Charcoal. We always appreciate hearing from our consumers.

All of charcoal is gluten free. We use a corn starch binder in producing our briquets.

Again, thank you for contacting us.

SO, still wanting to be on the safe side? Options?

Natural, mesquite & other real wood charcoal!  These are easily found in hardware stores and department stores like Home Depot, Walmart and Canadian Tire.

2 thoughts on “BBQ Charcole / Briquettes use Wheat as a Binder?

  1. Thanks so much for researching this in more detail. I must admit that I was completely shocked to even consider GF and charcoal briquets in the same manner.

    But, I am back to preferring my steak on the charcoal grill!!!! They really do taste different.

  2. I find it really facinating how many completely unexpected places gluten and wheat in general keeps popping up in.
    Never in a million years would I have suspected this one. I am really pleased to see that they don’t use wheat anymore. Mind you corn allergy people still need to stay alert.

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