Charcoal Chimney Starter for the Grill: Does it Work? - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Charcoal Chimney Starter for the Grill: Does it Work?

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(KFVS) Some say Memorial Day marks the unofficial start to grilling season, so how about trying something new this year?

If you've never used a charcoal chimney starter, let me 'try it before you buy it.' I enlisted the help of a grill master, K103 Radio Host Kent Crider.

He has used charcoal chimney starters before, and says it should live up to its promise of eliminating lighter fluid and fast-lighting. "Nobody likes the taste of that lighter fluid, when it doesn't burn off well."

The charcoal chimney starter promises you won't be dousing the flames with fluid any longer with this contraption.  "Especially when it rains," explains Kent. "A lot of people douse the fluid on there to keep the fire going."

Kent Crider of K103 isn't your average weekend griller. He's been actively barbecuing and grilling for the last several years now, frequenting BBQ competitions and the like so, it's no surprise he has a method to his masterpieces, starting with the way he lights the grill.

His first step. roll newspaper - not the glossy inserts - into the bottom of the chimney starter.  Don't wad it up.  Kent says that'll allow the flames to burn more evenly.

Pour the charcoal into the top, till its about three-fourths full, and light away. Kent even has a trusty lighter to do the job he calls Pyro the Pig.

All laughs aside, do be careful not to put this Chimney Starter on a wood deck or other burnable surface.

In about ten minutes or so, the charcoals should spark and our flames should be ready. We take the break to let the grill master share one of his grilling "secrets". Kent says good charcoal is key. He prefers Kingsford, especially the new briquettes with bits of hickory added in.  He also likes the bigger lump coals which he says burn longer and hold more heat in.  Plus, their bigger size means you don't use as many, which can be cost-effective.

Back to the task at hand, the flames are flaring and the charcoal's smokin'. "You try to catch 'em when they're glowing." We did and now it's time to pour the coals into the pit. And again there is no need for lighter fluid. "This way you can control it and not have to douse it and end up getting rid of that flavor."

Kent adds you might wear a sleeve or thermal glove because this contraption does get hot. Another ten minutes later, our hot dogs are grilled to perfection without sans the lighter fluid taste. "I give it an A plus. Normally, it's ten dollars for these, so if you like to grill, you need one or two!"

So why not go with the grill master.  The $10 Charcoal Chimney Starter from Wal-Mart grills to perfection earning a coveted A+ on this Does it Work test.

By the way, you can catch Kent Crider weekdays on K103 mornings and also his weekend oldies show!

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