Most of the time when you’re grilling, you don’t think about the history behind it – just how delicious the food is going to taste when you’re done. I explored the history of Kingsford charcoal and was surprised to find a rich history, interestingly tied to Ford Motors.
In the 1920s, Henry Ford learned about a process for turning wood scraps from the production of Model Ts (yes, the car) into charcoal briquets – who would have ever associated Model Ts with grilling? He built a charcoal plant and invented Kingsford charcoal. Since its development, Kingsford charcoal has been made with the same high quality, using real wood to make charcoal briquets and producing the real taste and smell of charcoal grilling.
The Kingsford Company was formed when E.G. Kingsford, a relative of Ford’s, brokered the site selection for Ford’s new charcoal manufacturing plant. The company, originally called Ford Charcoal, was renamed in E.G.’s honor.
Today The Kingsford Products Company remains the leading manufacturer of charcoal in the U.S., with 80 percent market share. More than 1 million tons of wood scraps are converted into quality charcoal briquets every year. Kingsford also embraces the “green movement” by manufacturing charcoal products in an an environmentally-conscious way – whether it’s converting wood waste into useful fuels, reusing combustion gases to generate heat for use in production water or containing process water to be reused for the next batch of charcoal.
So next time you grill with Kingsford charcoal, you can appreciate the history behind it AND the delicious meal it helped you create.