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Starting charcoal w/o a chimney


snowangel
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Use a LARGE coffee can with top and bottom cut off. Punch holes around one end of the can with a can opener for air. Place in your Weber, add newspaper and fill with charcoal. Light as usual.

It's a little awkward, but it worked for me.

* use oven mitts when removing can :hmmm: *

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You can make your own starters, if you get eggs in the cardboard cartons or even the flats.

divide the tops from the bottoms or cut the flats into sections.

Buy a brick of parafin, melt it carefully (in a double boiler to be safe)

Then pour about a tablespoon into each depression in the bottom of the egg carton

and spread some over the inside of the top.

Make up a stack and keep them in a place well away from fire.

Place one of the pieces in the bottom of your barbecue, pile the charcoal on it and light one or more corners. By the time the parafin has burned away the charcoal will be well started.

Parafin burns cleanly with very little odor.

As someone who once had two boys who were surfers and went through a lot of parafin melting, I can recommend a small, cheap crockpot as the perfect way to melt the stuff.

I used to use starters like this to get a fire going in my fireplace, outside in the barbecue and in a hibachi.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I assume you're in something of an emergency situation. I mean, if I could get parrafin, well, I'd get a chimney instead!

Sprinkle (don't douse) two or three full-sized sheets of newspaper with a neutral vegetable oil. Crumple it up (just enough to give it structure) and set it on the charcoal grate of your grill, with the vents wide open. Make a sort of grate over the crumple with thin sticks and twigs. Gently place a layer of charcoal on the twig-grate. Light the newspaper.

The oil turns the paper into a sort of wick, lengthening the burn time and giving the twigs a good chance to ignite. Once the layer of charcoal has gotten started, you can add more on top and around the edges.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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I still top my jellies and jams with parafin so always have it on hand.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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You can also make an improvisde chimney out of aluminum foil - it will hold together long enough to get the charcoal going, then carefully remove it using tongs.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Do you have a propane blow-torch, or an acetylene cutting torch? Those work wonderfully.

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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You can also make an improvisde chimney out of aluminum foil - it will hold together long enough to get the charcoal going, then carefully remove it using tongs.

Very carefully! I did this once with hardwood charcoal (as opposed to briquets). The foil melted. I had no idea how hot that stuff could get.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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How does Santa get in at your place?

Did everyone on the East Coast hear the groan I just let out?? :rolleyes:

The first two times I fired up the Bullet I had yet to purchase a chimney. Oddly enough, I used the box it came in and some liquid parrafin to get things going.

A.

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How does Santa get in at your place?

He knocks politely at the door. I also have a double-barrel, 10-guage over-and under shotgun for anyone who might visit unexpectedly in the middle of the night.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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It's kinda pricey, and, much like paraffin, it's probably not something you have on hand, but grain alcohol works wonderfully. It burns perfectly clean. Don't try it with vodka, though- the proof just isn't high enough. Just soak the lump charcoal in grain alcohol and light.

I know Dave mentioned using twigs in combination with an oil sprinkled crumpled newspaper, but I think if you had enough twigs (and a decent sense of pyrodynamics), you could get away with only using twigs. Dry bark is extremely flammable- twigs give you lots of bark surface area. I'd create a mesh of intercrossed twigs/bark on the lower shelf and place the coals on the higher. It should work.

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I use a simpler version of Dave's above. If you have a double grate grill (like a Weber kettle, say), just place crumpled newspaper under the bottom grill, place the charcoal on the grill, open the vents, and light the newspaper. Fifteen minutes, tops. I've been doing this for twenty years and haven't had a problem once.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I once had an electric starter, and it worked very well. The glowing coil will get a few coals burning in 5-8 minutes, and your away. I see these in second hand stores for a few dollars.

If I have nothing else around, as in a park setting, I'll light a pyramid of corrugated cardboard. When is is burning very hot, I put a handful of coals on it, and it will keep burning until they light.

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How does Santa get in at your place?

He knocks politely at the door. I also have a double-barrel, 10-guage over-and under shotgun for anyone who might visit unexpectedly in the middle of the night.

According to Mrs. Claus, Santa's arthritis necessitates a side-by-side. Save him some of the grappa.

Edited by jamiemaw (log)

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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I used the three lb. coffee can method until I bought one of the electric wands. I recommend them highly. Heap your charcoal on top and plug it in. 8 to 10 minutes and you have it started. Just don't leave it too long.

I've also used the pile of twigs method and the egg carton with paraffin.

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I started a large amount of charcoal with gasoline years ago.  Once I got all the burning cinders out of what was left of my hair and clothes, it was a pretty good fire.

Typical Manhattanite...??? :smile: Although I suppose this would really be a badge of honor! It would be even more exciting if you told us this occurred on a tiny NYC balcony, thirty stories up with a Hendricks martini in hand...

edited to add: After a few glasses of wine and a certain detente with recalcitrant dampish charcoal the best idea a group of hungary chemists came up with was to use nail polish remover... I think no lashes or eyebrows were missing. :smile:

Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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I started a large amount of charcoal with gasoline years ago.  Once I got all the burning cinders out of what was left of my hair and clothes, it was a pretty good fire.

Typical Manhattanite...??? :smile: Although I suppose this would really be a badge of honor! It would be even more exciting if you told us this occurred on a tiny NYC balcony, thirty stories up.

Or on a fire escape.

Want lethal though? Don't use white gas, whose flame is invisble in daylight.

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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