Boston’s Latest Flavor Booster: Charcoal and Ash

The concept of using charcoal in food is nothing new; vegetable ashes, for example, have been used in bread and cheese making for hundreds of years. What is new is that Boston chefs are actually putting charcoal and ash on their plates — and serving it to customers.

Chef Brian Poe calls the taste the “Dorito effect.” He uses charcoal to enhance the grill flavor at his Beacon Hill restaurant, the Tip Tap Room, but only after safely testing the recipes on his own backyard barbeque.

“With actual charcoal, nothing brings to mind rustic outdoor cooking like letting meat slowly cook, roasting a sweet potato in charcoal, or searing a raw piece of charcoal-rubbed tuna,” Poe told the Boston Globe.

His latest foray is charcoal-roasted jalapeños at Poe’s Kitchen at the Rattlesnake.

While consumers seem to like the flavor charcoal and ash lends to dishes, they also love the way it looks on their plates — and even take it to social media sites like Instagram. Read more