By Mike Thayer
Make no mistake, I am a charcoal enthusiast. In my humble opinion, for a grilled meal, you can't beat charcoal and a Weber Kettle.
I do like to throw some added flavor through wood in combination with the charcoal, chunks of pecan wood to do up some brats, chunks of a fruit wood for pork or chunks of oak for beef. It all depends on what you're grilling or smoking. The key is creating layers of flavor.
I recently did a review of Kingsford's Cumin Chili Flavored Charcoal and I really like it. I have to admit that I was initially skeptical of 'spice flavored smoke,' thinking, "How much spice flavor will that actually crank out?" and "Isn't that what spices, rubs and marinades are for? Talk about lazy grilling...."
I lost all skepticism I had for 'spice flavored smoke' when I dumped the chimney of that Cumin Chili charcoal. You can smell all those spice notes, it's like I was already grilling something and I hadn't even put any food on the grill yet! The aroma of the cumin and chili was enticing and it did indeed help create depth of flavor in the chicken I fired up that day.
So today, I'm reviewing Kingsford Onion, Garlic & Paprika Flavored Charcoal.
Here is the description pulled from the Kingsford website:
Garlic Onion Paprika: "Savory, caramelized flavor featuring an earthy base of garlic paired with the mildly sweet notes of onion and warmth of paprika." The flavored briquettes are hickory based.
In testing how much flavor this charcoal delivers, I did a "Celebration of Bacon," grilling up bacon cheddar brats, bacon wrapped hot dogs and bacon wrapped Kielbasa. You can't beat a brat done right on the grill and everything is better with bacon! I used to do beer brats, then I experimented with wine and doing brats in those ways are tasty, but my favorite way to do brats is to just let them pick up the smoke flavor over indirect heat and my go-to wood for brats is pecan.
How did the Garlic Onion & Paprika charcoal do?
I continue to be a fan of the Kingsford line of 'spice flavored smoke.' All of the meats I prepared on the Weber were delicious, complimented with those notes of garlic, onion and paprika. And complimented is a key word, it's not overpowering smoke, it lets the deliciousness of the meat shine! The brats had that nice crisp, snap of a bite when puncturing the skin, the sausage inside was juicy and there was that nice smoky spice flavor throughout. The dawgs, Kielbasa and bacon was all good too, but those brats were the best.
Costing me $13.99 for an 12 pound bag, I'm giving Kingsford Onion, Garlic & Paprika Flavored Charcoal 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars. It's reasonably priced and most definitely delivers another layer of flavor on whatever you're grilling! This charcoal is certainly a repeat buy and I can't wait to try the Basil, Sage & Thyme flavor! Marinade and/or dry rub (on this day it was bacon & black pepper)+ Kingsford Flavored Charcoal = Another Dose of YUM!
I take great pleasure in grilling good eats!
~ Mike Thayer