This Coconut Charcoal Works Wonders for Marathon Grilling and Smoking

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This is Highly Recommend, a column dedicated to what we’re eating, drinking, and buying. Here, Alex Beggs shares her new favorite accessory for grilling and smoking.

Coconut charcoal isn’t that new of a product—it’s just extremely new to me, a person who could clearly be reading more barbecue subreddits. However, this discovery was huge. My friend was grilling a marathon of meats in his backyard and testing out logs from Blazing Coco, which cost $27 for a 20-pound box on Amazon, about $10 more than I pay for hardwood charcoal. But the value is, you don’t need a lot and it’s consistently hot for a long time. My friend had begun grilling at five-ish, and when we left at 10:45 p.m. the grill was still hot enough to cook on, but nobody wanted a bedtime steak.

Blazing Coco Premium Coconut Shell Charcoal Logs

Edo Cohen, a co-owner of Blazing Coco, told me that he’s from Israel, and there, the best charcoal for hookah is coconut charcoal. “The Middle East doesn’t have a high supply of trees [for hardwood],” he pointed out. Fair. Coconut is the optimal choice for hookah because it allows you to taste the tobacco, not charred wood. (The other charcoal option, he said, is olive pits. Who knew?) The same is true for when you grill or smoke with the coconut charcoal—that smoky flavor is more subtle than when you use hardwood coals.

Blazing Coco’s factory is in Mexico, using coconuts from Mexico. The coconut shells get cleaned, burned in ovens, and made into tidy logs that surprised me when I took them out of the box. They’re popular at restaurants, where the same logs can last from lunch service through dinner. And there’s also a sustainability angle, because no one’s clear-cutting forests to make this stuff.

My partner used almost half of our box of Blazing Coco—maybe too much—to make a nine-hour smoked pork butt for pulled pork, a Franklin Barbecue recipe, from whose cookbook I also recommend the potato salad. It stayed at a near-perfect 270 degrees Fahrenheit for that entire time, which, damn. Our Big Green Egg was still hot when we took the pork off, so we threw in a few sweet potatoes after, and I loved how lightly smoky they tasted, not like a campfire in your mouth. (Though, there’s a time and a place.)

If you’re not smoking things, you might find coconut charcoal a godsend during a long barbecue when you need to have hot dogs and burgers going all day long for a crowd. If neither of these scenarios are relevant to you, it’s so nice that you’re still with me! I hope you’re cooking something tasty this weekend.

For those who are about to press that sweet, sweet BUY button, I need you to know one thing. It typically takes 30 to 40 minutes for the coconut charcoal to heat up in your chimney before use, compared to hardwood’s usual 15-minute period. While I have you, make sure the majority of the charcoal has turned white before you dump it in the grill. But it’s worth the wait, I promise.

Blazing Coco Premium Coconut Shell Charcoal Logs