Hehe like I said they do crack and splinter, but my coals have no taste. I asked Gabe if it was normal he said yes (the GOOD OLD batches)
Gabe says that the new and improved ones won't do that anymore. I suggest getting your coals from H-C or something cuz I got one of my boxes from there. H-C coals do crack and splinter, but absolutely no taste. It does have a smell while lighting, but it is more of a woodish smell since it is wood charcoal. But when their red hot=no smell.