Ono Kiawe Charcoal - Oh No!
Back in July I promised a review of Ono Kiawe Hawaiian charcoal. Well here it is. And when you've finished reading, hate it. Hate it as much as I do.
You know you're off to a bad start when three quarters of the charcoal is so massive, it's unusable. The Ono charcoal cannot be poured into your grill. Well, it can, but it won't burn. So don't waste your time. Grilling with Ono Kiawe charcoal requires one extra unorthodox grilling tool: a freakin' hammer.
I thought the first large branch was just a fluke, as I smashed it into more usable bits. It was kinda fun at first. I guess. Then it grew tiresome as I continuously pulled useless monstrosities from the bag day after day.
If that were the only problem with the Ono Kiawe charcoal, I could live with it. But it's not.
Popping and sparking charcoal is crappy. TRES crappy. You don't want sparks popping into your food. Ok, I'm sure there's one guy out there going "Yes I do you dick!" Well, ok fine. You're right. Go buy some Ono Kiawe dude! It's the best!
When I lit the Ono charcoal, it popped and sparked until the end of time. Yes, I'm writing this from the future (thanks, DeLorean!) and it's still popping and sparking. (And this season's Survivor is being played on Mars.)
Finally, and this is just a personal thingy here, I found the smell and taste a little too strong. I felt like it overpowered the food. Some people might love it. It definitely has a distinct flavour.
These are pretty big problems in my opinion. Then again, money talks! Nearly any problem can be overlooked if the price is right. So how much did I pay? Guesses? I think I heard five bucks! I wish. A 20 lb. bag cost me about $30 with tax. At that price the problems are unforgivable. Thirty dollars is the price a of a premium charcoal. A charcoal that shouldn't have any problems.
The only way this charcoal could be improved is if Jesus descended from the ashy skies above my grill and, like, kissed it or some junk. Unless you've tried everything else and are simply curious, avoid it. If a mass riot broke out tomorrow, (which is possible, I'm in Canada after all) I wouldn't even steal a bag.