Sunday, June 24, 2007

Chimney Starter

If you're not using a Charcoal Chimney Starter to light your charcoal, you need to stop everything and buy one right now.

Never again will you have to experience the petroleum overtones of lighter fluid in your hamburgers. The chimney starter produces red hot, uniform coals in about 15 minutes instead of waiting forever to get a pyramid of coals to light and the roasting your knuckles as your redistribute the coals. Just dump the chimney into the firebox and they pretty much spread themselves out.

You can use newspaper as a starter -- a little bit of olive oil on the newspaper will keep things burning longer -- or you can put the side burner on your gas grill to good use and place the chimney right on the burner. That's the fastest way to start a fire.

Why use both charcoal and gas? For one thing, in many situations charcoal produces better flavor. And unless you've got one of those newfangled IR gas grills, a hot charcoal fire will give you better heat for searing. My rig consists of several grills -- I keep a charcoal grill next to the gas grill. Use the charcoal for a hot sear and nice flavor, then move it to a medium/low gas grill to finish.

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