Friday, August 28, 2009

Product Review: Jack Daniels Whiskey Barrel Charcoal

I don't care for whiskey. I had a bad experience with Southern Comfort when I was about 18 that left me literally crawling home from a neighbor's house. It seemed fun at the time but I could never drink it again after that.

I've never even had Jack Daniels, but when I smoke with oak chips, my absolute favorite is Jack Daniels oak barrel chips. When you open the bag, the nonintoxicating sweet smell of mash hits you. It produces a fragrant smoke that is great with beef. I even use it when grilling, despite the limited amount of contact time with the meat. I think I just like the smell, to be honest with you:) These are generally available at grocery stores, hardware stores, and even Wallyworld.

Earlier this summer, Alexis brought home a bag of Jack Daniels Whiskey Barrel Charcoal Briquettes and Smoker Blocks. I just now got around to trying it because I only use lump coal in th Egg. A few weeks ago, we used the offset smoker for a cook so I took the opportunity to try it out.

The package looks very slick with the Jack Daniels black label. But it is a relatively small bag at 6.8 pounds.

The product is standard sized briquettes and generously sized chunks of oak cut from the barrels used to age the whiskey.
The bag filled one Weber chimney starter. It seemed to start as fast as any normal briquettes. The instructions call from starting the coal first and then adding the wood once the coals get started.
The coal and smoking blocks gave me a couple of hours at 225f in a small offset smoker with a good amount of smoke, bordering on too much at times if I wasn't careful with my vents.

Overall, I think that Jack Daniels Whiskey Barrel Charcoal is a quality fuel for briquette type smokers but the price is a bit steep. I wouldn't use it regularly only because it costs significantly more for a smaller sized bag then other briquettes like Kingsford with Hickory that come in a larger package. Using it for a long cook would be an expensive proposition.

But I continue to strongly recommend the Jack Daniels Oak chips mixed with lump in the Big Green Egg.