Jason – April 23, 2018:
For years, I used to swear by Trader Joe’s all natural Hardwood Charcoal. That stuff was the business. I could load up my basket and cook for 9 hours easily. The only odor that came off was the wood that I was using. The new stuff is absolutely terrible. The charcoal has that fast igniting ridge, that makes the coals burn out faster, which makes it lousy for long cooks greater than 2 hours. The charcoal has a distinct cigarette smell as it starts to burn, which tastes disgusting if you don’t let them completely ash over, so you can’t use lit coals to ignite new ones, like the minion or snake method. The temperature is fine and consistent for short durations, but you have to reload with great frequency. It also produces a heavy amount of ash. Maybe the charcoal available in different regions, is sourced differently, but this junk in Northern California is awful. The old bags were 18lbs and had a unique oval egg shaped briquette that burned long, hot and clean with very little ash. The new bags are 9lbs and have the typical ridged design. They burn short, fast and funky, like a vertically challenged sprinter that hasn’t changed his underwear in 3 weeks. Yeah, this new Trader Joe’s All Natural Hardwood Charcoal is garbage. It has ruined my last 2 cooks. As it appears Trader Joe’s has changed the source of their charcoal, I will now change the source of mine.
Not that bad