Kingsford Charcoal Woes
I have been having issues with Kingsford Charcoal briquettes lately. I usually pick up a double pack of charcoal while I am at Costco getting some meat to BBQ. On a recent trip, I come to find out that my local Costco only carries the Kingsford Match-Light Instant Light Charcoal. I’m not a big fan of the Instant Light because all of the chemicals that will make your BBQ taste funny, so I had to press on. All that I wanted was my regular Kingsford briquettes.
Plan two was Smart & Final, I already had to go there to pick up some BBQ supplies. I found a double bag of what seemed like the old favorite with one significant difference, it had ridges, or what Kingsford refers to as “Sure Fire Grooves.” What the heck is a Sure Fire Groove? I wasn’t exactly sure, but after further research, I come to find out that these grooves are a standard feature across all of Kingsford charcoal products.
These Sure Fire Grooves supposedly allow the charcoal to be lit faster (in fifteen minutes) and burn more evenly for a longer time. Now this is really messing with my mind because I never had a problem with the way the old charcoal worked. Why would you even think about changing a winning formula? It has worked well all these years why change it? Lighting it was never a problem in a chimney starterâ€¦ BTW, why doesn’t Kingsford make a charcoal chimney starter? Duration was never a problem with the old charcoal and I have yet to find that the Sure Fire Grooves to burn longer. It actually seems as though they don’t burn quite as long. Now, that is just an opinion, but it seems that way. I wish I could get a hold of some of the old stuff to put it to the test, but it is no longer available.
One thing that I have noticed is that this new briquette design becomes much more fragile as it burns. So, if you are someone who likes to adjust your charcoal briquettes after they are lit you might find yourself dealing with a pile of lit ash. This also poses a problem if you are the type of person who uses these briquettes for outdoor dutch-oven cooking. Nobody likes briquettes that fall apart once they are lit.
I am not sure what Kingsford was thinking when they decide to change this age-old designâ€¦ it was probably some market research guy who wanted to be known as the person who reinvented the charcoal briquette. There have been some arguments against using briquettes because of the additives that are used in their productionâ€¦ believe it or not charcoal doesn’t naturally come in perfectly formed little briquettes. But, I was willing to use the briquettes for the strong and steady heat that was produced by them. It was one constant in the world of BBQ that you could count on again and again. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case and I might have to start using more lump charcoal.
Sure Fire Grooves courtesy of Kingsford market research.
Top view of the Sure Fire Grooves