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Grilling over an open fire is the oldest method of cooking known to man. On the western frontier, it was the only way to feed hungry cowhands. Frontier food was prepared over glowing wood embers and was characterized by its hearty flavor and inviting aroma. It was over those traditional fires that “Cowboy Cuisine” was born.
Over 100 Years of Experience & Passion
In the early 1900’s Jess Rollins was known to his fellow Southern Ohio residents as the community collier. A collier was a person who burned charcoal. It was common in those days for farmers to cut and clear trees in developing their land. They’d stack or place the wood in pits for burning into charcoal. Jess, the foremost authority on the subject, would make his rounds lighting and burning various farmers’ piles. After several weeks of inspection and cooling, the farmers could sell the charcoal to local markets as a cash crop.
In the late 1930’s Roland Crace took a different approach. He combined efforts with a local Ohio brick kiln operator and made charcoal by a production method. Stacking, setting and burning kilns under controlled conditions allowed for year-round, scheduled productions and the development of a local market.
In the early 1950’s after running the West Virginia plant, brothers Don and Joe Crace decided to expand. For 15 years, Pioneer Charcoal operated several plants in the southeast enjoying a dominant market share. Then in 1970, Don and Joe started Hickory Specialties. The company initially made liquid smoke flavor but within several years, they added charcoal briqueting. Over the next twenty years, until it was sold in 1992 to Bob Evans Farms, the company had developed many product lines and marketed them to a worldwide customer base.
In 1992 Cowboy Charcoal was formed to specialize in natural lump charcoal. The company built a state-of-the-art, environmentally compatible, wood-retort plant in Albany, KY. For over a decade, Don Jr. and Sam Crace produced and marketed hardwood lump charcoal to a wide range of industrial, food service, wholesale and retail accounts.
Cowboy Charcoal Company is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Duraflame Inc. Duraflame is committed to continuing the authentic heritage of the Cowboy Charcoal brand, and enhancing grilling experiences for barbecue enthusiasts around the country.