Charcoal is the lightweight black carbon and ash residue hydrocarbon produced by removing water and other volatile constituents from animal and vegetation substances. Charcoal is usually produced by slow pyrolysis — the heating of wood or other substances in the absence of oxygen (see char and biochar). The advantage of using charcoal instead of just burning wood is the removal of the water and other components, which allows charcoal to burn to a higher temperature, and the fact that the product of its combustion is mainly carbon dioxide, resulting in very little smoke (regular wood gives off a good amount of steam and unburnt carbon particles – soot – in its smoke).