Review – Coshell Charcoal
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If you didn’t read my interview with Shawn from Coshell Charcoal be sure to jump over there and have a look! I had to hit a couple of places but I finally found some at the local Albertson’s here in Queen Creek.

Coshell’s website claims that their charcoal burns “Cleaner, Hotter & Longer” and also that it is “petroleum free” and “better tasting”. I wanted to see if there was a difference between Coshell’s product and my usual product.

I used this charcoal to smoke my Christmas Day Turkey Breast. It was kind of a cold day with a brisk breeze that was coming and going. It took a bit to get the charcoal lit in my chimney starter but once I got the smoker rolling, I must say – I was impressed.

Normally on a day that cool, I would’ve struggled to keep the temp up. Not so that day. Also, for a 4-5 hour smoke, I usually would add some charcoal at least once. That day I didn’t need to. That tells me that for my review at least, their charcoal did burn “hotter and longer”. Also, there was really no odor whatsoever from the charcoal. I guess that satisfies “cleaner” too.

I must say that overall, I was happy with the Coshell’s charcoal! The price was about the same as competing brands of “regular” charcoal. It burned hotter, but not crazily so. There was no odor at all. Plus, there is the added satisfaction of using a more environmentally-friendly product. I think this might be my new “go to” charcoal.

ThermaPen Review
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I really need to thank Jesse from for sending along a Superfast Thermapen for me to try out.

According to the Thermoworks website:

Made by Hand in England, the Thermapen is faster and more accurate than any other cooking thermometer on the market. Competitors have tried to copy the Thermapen with mass-produced products made in China and have flooded the housewares market with slower, less-accurate knock-offs. However, when compared to true competing commercial thermocouple thermometers, the Thermapen is not only faster and more accurate, it’s also less expensive!

The Thermapen’s speed and accuracy will reveal more about food and cooking techniques than you ever imagined. You’ll learn that temperatures are always changing; a roast is never the same temperature throughout while cooking. If you want to know what’s really going on, get a Thermapen.

I can tell you that indeed, this thermometer is superfast – it’s almost instantaneous. I compared it side-by-side with another thermometer and there was no contest. The other thermometer took about 20 seconds to get a stabilized reading. The Thermapen took less than 3 seconds! This particular model runs about $90 and boasts the following characteristics:

3-second readings!
High accuracy to ±0.7°F (±0.4°C)
Water-resistant design
°F to °C reconfigurable
Auto on/off—no buttons!
1,500 hour battery life

The probe on this unit easily wipes clean.It folds up conveniently to protect the probe and comes in a bunch of cool colors. It seems to be tough (I inadvertently dropped it, with no apparent ill effects) and it shuts off automatically. It comes with an extensive (and very interesting!) User’s Manual and even a Certificate of Calibration. This is a professional instrument that won’t break the bank.

What an awesome product!

Cranberry Brined Turkey Breast
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So Christmas was fast approaching and I was wondering what I was going to make. Digging around in he freezer, I found a big ol turkey breast I had purchased when it went on sale. Like most of you, I keep an eye out for ribs, brisket, corned beef (for pastrami) and those giant turkey breasts. When they’re on sale, I snatch them up!

I decided I was going to make brined, smoked turkey breast for Christmas. I thawed the turkey a couple of days prior, then I made the brine using 1 cup of Kosher salt, 2 big bottles of cranberry juice, and some poultry seasoning. Using a 2-gallon freezer bag, I brined the turkey breast in the fridge for 24 hours. WARNING – It turns purple!

On Christmas Day I got the charcoal going (Coshell, by the way), and dried off the turkey breast. I rubbed it down with EVO and some chicken rub I had here and it was all set to go!

The rest was easy. I kept the smoker purring along at 225ish, and took the breast up to about 180 degrees or so. If memory serves correctly, it took about 4-5 hours.

The rest of the fixins for Christmas Dinner were more traditional but the turkey was a hit! Really juicy, great flavor!

Holiday Libations
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Not that I am advocating the consumption of strong liquor, but…. I know that during the Holidays many of you like to entertain. Here are some great punch recipes, associated with my military background. These recipes were all pulled from the message board

Artillery Punch

1 qt strong black tea
1 qt rye whiskey
1 bottle red wine
1 pint Jamaican dark rum
1/2 pint brandy
1 jigger benedictine herbal liqueur
1 pint orange juice
1/2 pint lemon juice

Combine all the ingredients in a large punch bowl with a block of ice. If found too dry, sugar syrup may be added. Decorate with twists of lemon peel.

and another..

Served by the Officer’s Mess of the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada:

ATHEL BROSE (loosely translated “nectar of the gods”

1 lb honey 2 1/2 c steel cut oats (NOT rolled)
2 c. water
1/2 gallon scotch

Mix all ingredients( but scotch), warm gently on low heat only until blended. Remove from heat, let cool and stir in scotch. Allow mixture to soak overnight w/ secure cover. Strain oat mixture from liquid and discard (or use for bread). Place liquid in glass jar and swirl (or roll) daily for 2-4 weeks.Several months if you can stand it ! Try not to open the container as you go to keep contaminants out.
The longer you wait the smoother it gets! Strain one last time and serve to all!

How about some “moose milk”? (This is my absolute favorite!)

Moose Milk

40oz Lambs Dark Rum
40oz Kahlua
40oz Vodka
4L Vanilla Ice Cream (the good creamy expensive kind)
4L eggnog

Mix all together, breaking up the ice cream a bit. Sprinkle nutmeg on top if you so desire. Stir occasionally as the ice cream starts to melt. Enjoy!

Bull’s Milk???

Both the Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess and the Officers’ Mess of The Lincoln and Welland Regiment serve versions of “Bull’s Milk” or Moose Milk on New Year’s Day. There are at least two recipes:

Hot version. Heat slowly until warm:
• 80 oz Dark Rum
• 40 oz Brandy
• 40 oz Rye Whisky
• 12 qt Egg Nog

Cold version. May be kept cold by adding a block of ice after mixing:
• 120 oz White Rum
• 26 oz Brandy
• 26 oz Kahlua
• 3 or 4 gal Ice Cream (Chocolate, Vanilla or Neapolitan)
• 2 or 3 gal Milk or Egg Nog
• 1 qt Whipping Cream
• dash Vanilla Extract
• dash Nutmeg

Not so sure about this – not for the faint of heart:


What you need.

- 1 very big pail, or small garbage can ( clean ), or crock pot – and a ladle
- depending on the size of bucket used, buy about 4-5 frozen fruit punch mix – throw it in
- buy lemons, and limes, and strawberries etc and cut up and put in the bucket
- add about 1 bottle vodka, 1 bottle white rum, 2 bottles tequila ( basically whatever you want ) ( bottle generally 40 pounder)
- Stir up until the boat gas eats away at your ladle
- serve to a friend first and watch for negative effects. Usually let the “lab rat” sit for 5 minutes. If all checks out, go nuts. Enjoy the evening.

The fruit adds flavour, but also when all the booze is gone you can eat the alcoholic fruit, that way when your wife/girlfriend asks you if you actually ate anything healthy at the party ( or does that just happen to me? ) you can say “yes dear, i had fruit”

and finally…. “Windex”

“Windex” (later named “Prop Wash” by a rigged vote in the mess, damn those Air Force rotters … !)
- one part vodka
- one part white rum
- two parts Parfait D‘amour (a blue-coloured liquer by Marie Brizzard)
- dilute with Seven Up to suit your taste … while your taste buds are still functioning … (supposedly, 7Up is better than Sprite)
- makes a delightful, uniquely-coloured drink that will lift floor tiles (yup – I wouldn‘t make that one up) and will leave a mildly radioactive glow on your glassware (which we discovered at our wedding reception … )
- Theyd serve it to unsuspecting guests, and when they‘d ask about the blue colour we‘d explain that we‘d used Melita coffee filters and Windex … whereupon their faces would turn a shade of blue to match the drink!

Enjoy. I’m not responsible for you not drinking responsibly

Coshell Charcoal Briquettes
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I’d really like to thank Shawn from Coshell Charcoal for taking some time out from his busy schedule to answer some questions about these cool briquettes. Look for a review in the future. ~DRR

1) So how did this concept come about?

The idea was born on my many trips overseas seeing locals using coconut shells among other materials for heat and cooking. It was then that I began working on a prototype and soon after a factory.

2) How long have you been in business? How are sales?

We introduced Coshell Charcoal to the USA market in 2010 after approx a year of preparation . Sales have grown each year with great success.

3) What has the biggest challenge been? Biggest surprise?

The biggest challenge is consumer awareness and misconceptions. One of the questions I have heard is, Does Coshell make the food taste like coconut ? And the answer is Coshell does not impart any coconut flavor to your food just that great BBQ taste!

Biggest surprise has been acceptance by retailers and consumers alike in short order. As you know this is a KIngsford dominated category for a long time and what we have found is a consumer will try Coshell because it is made from coconut and is an alternative to all wood based charcoals in the market.

4) Are their advantages to coconut shell charcoal? Disadvantages? Heat and burn time comparable to “regular charcoal”?

Customers who try Coshell keep coming back because Coshell burns longer & hotter with less carbon emitted in the environment, No harmful additives just pure coconut shells and vegetable starch , less harmful smoke and the ash waste is a natural fertilizer and can be tossed on the lawn, so no messy cleanup!
Coshell burns at a sustained high heat double the amount of time of Kingsford Briquette . One of our greatest success we have had is BBQ Competition teams from all over the country switching to Coshell from Kingsford , Hardwood or lump charcoal to Coshell . Because the burn times are so significant with Coshell people find the consistency of the briquette along with no harmful additives in our charcoal is a better way to go instead of Hardwood and Lump Charcoals and certainly Kingsford.

5) How does the cost compare?

We are the best value on shelf , Coshell is a greater savings pound for pound over Kingsford and others.

6) Available anywhere? Best way to buy?

Available in many supermarket chains and Hardware Chains like Wholefoods, Albertsons, Lowes Home Improvement, Sprouts, Shop Rite, Acme, and many other regional supermarket chains. Available online at, and others.

Follow Coshell on FACEBOOK

Learn more about Coshell at their WEBSITE