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It's been a long day, and I want to smoke a hookah. I'm out of coals, but I've got an idea... Tell me to stop.
March 11, 2008 4:40 PM   Subscribe

So I've got a bag of "natural hardwood lump charcoal" that I use for grilling. Do you think it would be a bad idea to use a little hunk of this stuff? I'm pretty sure it would get the job done... It can't be much different from the manufactured coals I've been buying from some weird factory, right? ps. I'm smoking shisha out of it so no "are you chuffin the chumbus" comments, k? ;)
posted by Glendale to Health & Fitness (13 answers total)
 
If by "use" you mean "smoke", this is a terrible idea. Don't do it.
posted by cog_nate at 4:48 PM on March 11, 2008


I don't want to smoke the charcoal. I want to smoke shisha. A hookah requires a charcoal to heat the shisha so that it can be smoked... My question is, would using a piece of hardwood lump charcoal be any different from using a fabricated piece of "hookah charcoal" that I would buy in a store?
posted by Glendale at 4:50 PM on March 11, 2008


I googled the phrase "can you use regular charcoal in a hookah" and this was the third hit.

From that link: "Barbecue charcoal, when compressed, can release several harmful chemicals which should not be inhaled, whereas good quality hookah charcoal should contain no added chemicals."

So I'd say that it's very different from the manufactured caols you've been buying from some weird factory. I think it would be a bad idea to use a little hunk of that stuff.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 4:50 PM on March 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've smoked out of hookas with a piece of foil over the tobacco with the coal on top of that. Take that route.
posted by sourwookie at 4:52 PM on March 11, 2008


Yes, but this is different from Matchlite or some crap like that. It's just a piece of compressed wood. There are no additives, etc... Did you ever see that Dirty Jobs episode where he went to the charcoal plant? It's just a chunk of burned wood..
posted by Glendale at 4:53 PM on March 11, 2008


Sourwookie: That's exactly what I'm talking about...
posted by Glendale at 4:54 PM on March 11, 2008


"Barbecue charcoal, when compressed, can release several harmful chemicals which should not be inhaled, whereas good quality hookah charcoal should contain no added chemicals."

I'm fairly certain that's referring to compressed briquettes, like Kingsford, not natural lump charcoal. Not that I'd recommend putting any kind of bbq coals on your shisha, but I don't think that information is necessarily applicable.

Do you know the brand of the "natural hardwood lump charcoal" you've got? You could try comparing it to the labels on these natural charcoals made for hookahs.
posted by jewishbuddha at 4:56 PM on March 11, 2008


Wow. Thanks JewishBuddha. Apparently those coals are made of compressed coal dust. I can't see how a hunk of wood can be any worse! I'm gonna go smoke this thing...
posted by Glendale at 4:58 PM on March 11, 2008


I think you can do it no problem. People didn't understand your question because you explained it in the "title" which is not visible on the ask.mefi homepage. So yeah, blaze on. That's just wood. Never smoke hookah from bullshit charcoal briquettes. I wouldn't eat offa those either (at least not by choice -- don't worry, I'll still come to your BBQ! And not be a dick! I'll bring beer), for the same reason.
posted by zpousman at 5:10 PM on March 11, 2008


The traditional method is to have a lump of burninng hashish I think....

People also don't understand your question because they don't know how hookahs work.
posted by RustyBrooks at 5:52 PM on March 11, 2008


...a fabricated piece of 'hookah charcoal' that I would buy in a store

When I lived in Egypt I smoked a helluvalotta shisha, and the coals used there weren't fabricated. They were just tiny chinks of carbonized log. If this is what your 'natural hardwood lump charcoal' is, then I believe that's exactly what you should be using to smoke that shisha.

And no, RustyBrooks, the traditional method of lighting a hookah is not to slather it with flaming hash.
posted by mumkin at 7:16 PM on March 11, 2008


Seconding Mumkin. When I left Egypt I brought a giant bag of natural charcoal pieces back with me, since the regular self-lighting stuff has got to have something bad for you in it.
posted by awenner at 8:31 PM on March 11, 2008


To summarize: real charcoal is wood that has been partially combusted by heating in a sealed container. Charcoal Briquettes are all kinds of weird shit (sawdust, coal, borax...) held together with some kind of binding agent. At a guess, the real charcoal (natural hardwood charcoal like you have) is the stuff you want to use to heat your inhalants.
posted by agentofselection at 10:18 PM on March 11, 2008


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