60 Second Charcoal Starter Blasts Hot Air

Hammacher Schlemmer is selling this "60 Second Charcoal Starter," essentially a heat gun that blankets briquets in 1,300 degree air. Stick the heat gun in the charcoal, wait until it sparks, and then leave the blower on for another 60 seconds. There's one clear benefit of the $80 device: no nasty tasting lighter fluid on your briquets. On the other hand, a chimney starter can usually be found for ten bucks or so at the hardware store and doesn't require electricity and attendance next to the grill for a minute. Now I'm hungry. Only a couple more months until it's barbecue season! Catalog Page [Hammacher.com via Dvice via Uberreview]
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8 Responses to 60 Second Charcoal Starter Blasts Hot Air

  1. jimjam says:

    The real problem w/ a chimney starter is they tend to shoot sparks out of the top of the chimney, especially if you’re burning natural wood charcoal. It can be bad if you’re in an area like Texas where burn bans occur regularly. I end up spending the first 10 minutes after lighting the chimney insuring that I don’t set my yard on fire.

    $80 is a lot of money for this device. Still, the idea of Farenheit 451ing my charcoal while not having to worry about torching my place is kind of worth it.

  2. Jamshid666 says:

    Why are you waiting for a specific season to barbecue? There’s nothing like playing with fire while standing on a sheet of ice during a snowstorm. And with enough antifreeze (beer/vodka/whiskey), you won’t feel the cold anyway.

  3. Halloween Jack says:

    Lighter fluid doesn’t leave a taste as long as you let the briquettes burn it off. (That, of course, doesn’t apply to the briquettes that are impregnated with starter, which end up making your food taste like hydrocarbon ass.) Plus, you get to pretend that you’re that crazy colonel that Robert Duvall played in Apocalypse now: “I love the taste of napalm in the evening…”

  4. Anonymous says:

    Of course, there’s always the old standby — electric BBQ starters (a simple resistive heating element, shaped like a hoop). You bury it under the coals, plug it in, and 10 minutes later they’re lit. No starter-fluid needed, and it’s under $20.

  5. gouldina says:

    A hair dryer works pretty well for this job I find. You only need the tiniest amount of fire (say by using newspaper first) and then apply the dryer to it and watch the sparks fly (that’s the best bit but obviously make sure no-one’s the other side).

  6. thechicgeek says:

    It’s always barbecue season!

  7. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Eagle Provisions and Jubilat, which both make their own fresh kielbasa every day, are just up on 16th and 17th streets and Fifth Avenue in Brooklyn. I’ve got a couple of imported bottles of Arthur Bryant’s sauce I’ve been saving for the right occasion. I’ve also got two big bags of natural oak charcoal, and I’ve got a chimney starter and I’m not afraid to use it. Come on, spring!

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