By Zach Mussotto
The first thing I noticed when I opened my bag of Fire & Flavor Olive Wood Lump Charcoal and looked inside was the huge chunks of wood! Some of the pieces were bigger than my fist, which is really rare compared to some of the other lump charcoal I have used. As I put the charcoal into my Akorn Smoker, I was amazed at the lack of dust and tiny broken pieces you see in most bags of lump charcoal. This is a huge testament to the quality of this charcoal already, and we haven’t even lit it up yet!
Lighting the FIRE
With charcoal of this quality, you absolutely do not want to ruin that beautiful aroma and taste with any type of lighter fluid or chemicals. I highly recommend using either the Fire and Flavor Biomass Fire Starters or Wood Wool Fire Starters; both are fantastic and all natural. I opted for the Biomass Fire Starters. To get things started, I placed two fire starter cubes under the charcoal and lit them with a match. They catch fire quickly and have a slow, consistent burn. It took just a few minutes for the charcoal to start to catch and get smoking. Instantly, I could smell that light olive-wood aroma filling the smoker.
Once the charcoal was lit, it didn’t take long for my smoker to get to my desired temperature. The coal was burning very evenly and producing a super-clean, light-blue smoke.
Using such a mild wood like olive, I wanted to pair it with poultry or fish. I opted to do a spatchcocked chicken so I could make my cook last a little longer. I seasoned the chicken up with some Fire and Flavor Chicken Seasoning and initially kept the temperature on the smoker to about 250 degrees, to get some good smoke flavor on the meat. After about 1 hour, I opened up the damper and increased the temperature to about 350 degrees. The charcoal gained momentum and got hot very fast, still burning very clean. I added vegetables to the grate once my chicken was nearly done. I also got the charcoal to catch fire for some quick roasting action. I roasted my veggies and the chicken for about 10 minutes, and then it was time to eat!
First off, I have to admit I had never used Olive Wood Lump Charcoal. I was intrigued as to what flavor it was going to give this chicken. The chicken was super juicy when I cut into it, with a nice smoky aroma. There was a small smoke ring on the outer part of the chicken. When I took a bite, the flavor was very subtle and mild, which is perfect for meats like chicken, lamb, or fish. It was a very welcome addition to the meat, and I couldn’t have been happier with the results. If you’re trying to eat more lean meats and stay on the healthy side of BBQ, you don’t have to sacrifice flavor! Using Olive Wood Lump Charcoal added great flavor to this chicken, and I can’t wait to throw down some salmon next time.
The last thing I noticed, while cleaning out my ash bucket, was how little ash there actually was. With the charcoal burned so clean, it left behind very little ash. Clean up was easy! All in all, this will be my new go-to charcoal because of its premium quality and delicious flavor. Happy grilling!