Heat Beads- Review by Christine Dale

Heat Beads are the number one best seller in Australia. One of our supporters Heat Beads UK offered the team a bag of briquettes to try out and review, as I had never used them before I said I would do it. I have seen a lot of people saying that Heat Beads are their favourite briquette. I live in Northern Ireland and haven’t seen anywhere that stocks them locally, this could well be an opportunity for someone.

The bag is 4kg in weight and the briquettes when I opened them were smaller than the Weber ones I usually use (see picture below), they did however seem much denser and were heavier. Briquettes are my fuel of choice if doing low and slow as they provide a more consistent heat than lump wood. The exception to this is in a Ceramic BBQ where I always use lump wood.

I decided to use our baby Bristol Drum Smoker and the minion method to see how long they would last. I set up the fire basket and only used half a bag. I had heard that they were hard to light so I put a bit of lump wood in the mini chimney and a few heat beads on top. I used a wood wool starter to light. In about 15 mins they were well lit and I tipped them into the drum. I put in the deflector plate and set up the IGrill to monitor the temperature (Our kitchen is on the first floor so this saves a lot of running up and down to check the temperature) After about 15 mins the bbq was coming up to temp, this is slightly quicker than the weber ones, that can take 20-30 mins, I closed the two side bottom vents and left the middle one fully open, and the top vents to half closed and on went the pork shoulder. The bbq sat quite happily between 220°F and 250°F  with a few tweaks now and then on the vents, this is very similar to the Weber briquettes but the Weber ones need a bit more babysitting. You can see this on the graph in the picture below, the top line is the drum temperature.  At around the 7 hr mark the temp started to drop and as the pork was ready to wrap, I wrapped the pork and added a few more briquettes as the fire basket was down to a handful of unburned briquettes, this brought the temp back to the desired range and after another 2 hours the pork was ready. The Weber briquettes would last a similar length of time in the Baby drum although in the slightly bigger fire-basket in the Weber Smoky Mountain I have got 13 ½ hours but obviously this was using more briquettes. I have no doubt the Heat Beads would do the same.  I need to try Heat Beads in the Weber Smoky Mountain.

I still have some left and I plan to do a Rotisserie cook with them, I am sure they will work equally well at the hotter end of the temperature spectrum and their density will make them long lasting too.

The briquettes give off much less ash than others I have used and this is great as this means there is less chance of them snuffing out. I will try and source these briquettes although delivery charges may be a killer. That’s one of the joys of living in Northern Ireland some people think we are in Outer Mongolia.

In summary, 7 hours on half a bag in our baby drum is an excellent result, much longer than the 4 hours they claim to last and I can certainly recommend these briquettes. Good consistency and heat throughout the cook.

Heat Beads are distributed in the UK by


Competition Style Pork Spare Ribs

Competition Style Pork Spare Ribs

  • Prep Time30 min
  • Cook Time4 hr
  • Total Time4 hr 30 min
  • Yield2 Servings
  • Cooking Method
    • Indirect & braise


  • 1x Rack Pork Spare Ribs, trimmed St. Louis style
  • American style mustard or olive oil.
  • BBQ rubs of your choice, I used a light layer of Meat Church BBQ "Honey Hog Hot" and a top layer of Killer Hogs "THE BBQ RUB"
  • 50g Brown sugar
  • 25g Runny honey
  • 25g Unsalted butter
  • 25g of Kansas City Style BBQ sauce mixed with 25g White wine vinegar.
  • 50g of Kansas City Style BBQ sauce, warmed through at the end of the cook to glaze.
  • Kitchen foil.



Allow ribs to reach room temperature.


Check the ribs and remove and sharp pieces of bone or flappy bits of meat that will burn.


Remove the membrane off the back side of the ribs, this is easily achieved by sliding a blunt knife under the membrane and pulling off with kitchen paper.


Apply a small quantity of american style mustard or oil on one side of the ribs.


Apply a light coat of the first rub, don’t rub the rub in the ribs let it tack up itself.


Flip the ribs over and repeat.


When the ribs have tacked up apply the second layer a little heavier, then flip over and do the other side.


Leave the rubs to do there magic whilst you prepare your Smoker or kettle with a lid, aim for 250 / 275°F (121 / 135°C)


Put the smoking wood on the coals about two chunks of fruit wood, i prefer apple, pear or cherry.


After 30 mins lift the lid and quickly spritz the ribs with water, and keep spritzing every 30 mins or so.


Whilst you are waiting lay 1 large sheet of kitchen foil down and place 50g of sugar 25g of butter in a line down the foil, then drizzle the honey evenly over the sugar and butter.


At the two hour mark remove the ribs and place meat side down on the sugar, butter and honey, pour the bbq and vinegar over the backside of the ribs straight down the middle.


Wrap the ribs well making sure the bones dont pop through.


Return to grill smoker meat side down, check again after a hour, the bones should have about 13mm pull back and the back of the ribs will have degraded. if not cover up and remove when they are.


When removed open the foil to let out the steam and slow the cooking process down, leave for 15 minutes then discard the foil and juices and pop the ribs back on the smoker or grill and a apply the bbq sauce as a glaze.


Leave for 15 mins and remove, allow 15 to 20 minutes to relax and enjoy.

Free Recipe Card

Competition Style Pork Spare Ribs

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