Wood charcoal


Traditional Korean wood charcoal (sut: soot) is a made of sections of Korean oak with all the water and vaporous elements removed through heat. It has no oil or anything else added, and as a result it burns very purely and cleanly. For this reason it’s the preferred charcoal for use in BBQ, and used at the best Korean restaurants.

korean wood charcoal (sut: 숯)

It’s surprisingly hard to find outside of Korean grocery stores. When I needed some to make doenjang years ago, I searched all over Manhattan trying to find wood charcoal, but didn’t have any luck. Many people thought that I was looking for charcoal briquets, those uniform lumps of charcoal made of wood, binders and additives.

Eventually I found it in a Korean grocery store. These days, more Americans are using wood charcoal, which they usually call “lump wood charcoal.”

korean wood charcoal (sut: 숯)

Recipes that use wood charcoal (sut):


  1. saladspork Tanzania joined 9/17 & has 1 comment

    I’ve hoping to make doenjang soon, but struggling to find korean branded charcoal, as no korean stores anywhere near me! but have found 100% natural oak and lump wood charcoal, is this basically the same?

  2. Chris4tourism Brooklyn, NY joined 3/16 & has 4 comments

    Hi Maangchi,

    I took your advice and went to HMart but it was sold out. I was able to find the wood charcoal at a store in Queens. It had a multitude of Korean household, clothing, and beauty products.

    New Korea Town Plaza
    159-10 Northern Blvd
    Flushing, NY 11358
    (718) 661-0990

    In two weeks I will be taking down my meju blocks and starting the second heating process. I will make sure to take a lot of pictures to document this amazing experience and enjoy the smell of the meju blocks while it lasts.

    See full size image

  3. Chris4tourism Brooklyn, NY joined 3/16 & has 4 comments

    Hello Maangchi,

    I live in Brooklyn and I am trying to find the traditional Korean wood charcoal so I can finish making the fermented soybean paste and soy sauce. I walked along Norther Blvd. yesterday to Korean grocery stores but they did not sell the traditional Korean wood charcoal. Is there a store in NYC that you know still sells them? I have really enjoyed watching your videos and trying your recipes. They always come out so delicious.


    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

      Hi Christopher,
      I’m very excited about your doenjang ganjang project! I thought wood charcoal is easily found at any Korean grocery store. Check out the store on 32nd street in Manhattan. I got my wood charcoal there. http://www.yelp.com/biz/h-mart-new-york-2
      Good luck with making delicious doenjang and ganjang. Let me know how yours turn out and save some photos if you can. I’d like to see them. : )

      I am about to hang my meju blocks soon. This year I double the recipe because the doenjang tastes so addictive!

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