Stainless Steel Chimney Grill Starter - Your Burning Questions
A stainless steel chimney grill starter is a simple yet effective tool for starting your grill. So why don't you have one yet? Maybe because you still have some burning questions about how it works and why it makes grilling easier. Here goes...
I'm used to using lighter fluid to get my grill going. Do I need any with a chimney grill starter?
No, it's not necessary. When you light the newspaper or paper towel under the pile of coals, the upward air flow will bring the fire up into the coals and light them. So relax - you can totally avoid that awful chemically smell of lighter fluid coming up from the coals as you grill.
How big of a starter do I need for my grill?
You'll need to check the size of the starter and take note of the recommended grill size. You want to match the sizes well so you can be sure to have enough coals ready all at once. If you have an over-sized grill, two smaller ones may be necessary.
The starter looks big enough to hold a big piece of meat steady in the grill while it cooks. Could I use it as a cooking rack inside the grill?
Nope! It's just for getting your charcoal ready. There are dozens upon dozens of grill accessories designed for just about any type of outdoor cooking you can think of. A grill starter is not made to handle any other task besides starting up the coals. So let your starter do what it does best and figure out another way to get that piece of meat cooked.
Does it matter what kind of charcoal I use?
Some people prefer lump or natural hardwood coals. Others prefer commercially made briquettes. It really matters what you are most comfortable with, but lets take a quick comparative look at the two.
Lump charcoal is made from hardwood, which can add particular scents and flavors to food. It also can burn hotter than charcoal, which can make a difference with the meal your are cooking. However, the pieces are often not as uniform and there tends to be excess dust. Those two things can make it tricky
to keep consistent air flow at the start. So for some, lump charcoal can be a little more fussy but worth the effort.
Charcoal briquettes can be found just about anywhere, which is one of its great advantages. It is a consistent product, which can make it easier to cook with regardless of the items being cooked. However, some are concerned about the extra unnatural ingredients used to make the briquettes. Plus, burned
briquettes create more ash than natural lump charcoal. For briquette fans, the extra mess and additives are outweighed by the benefits of great heat control and product availability.
In the end, your understanding of how to work with your preferred type of charcoal is what matters most. Both types need a starter flame and good air flow to get things going, and the design of a chimney grill starter is suited for either one.
I've heard some people say it takes 10 minutes for the starter to get the coals ready, others say 30 minutes. What gives?
Humidity can play a big factor in how long the starter takes to prepare the coals. If the newspaper is bogged down by moisture, it can take longer to burn or not burn as well. Plus charcoal briquettes are very absorbent by nature. They will take on the humidity from the air and will burn more slowly or
even not light at all.
Air circulation can also cause uneven or slow heating of the coals. Good air flow (oxygen) is necessary for efficient burning. Here are a few tips for increasing the airflow in your grill starter.
Have more questions? Take a closer look at some of these chimney style grill starters shown below and decide which one works better for you. (And if you click on the images below, Amazon might pay me a tiny sum of cash - hope you found this information to be helpful!)
Outset QS10, Chimney Grill Starter (stainless-steel/5 lb capacity)Rosle Silver Stainless Steel Charcoal StarterCompetition Charcoal Chimney Starter- USA MADE - Heavy-Duty Stainless Steel - Designed For Use With BriquettesWeber 7416 Rapidfire Chimney StarterLodge A5-1 Charcoal Chimney StarterOutset Q110, Chimney Grill Starter (zinc/5lb capacity)