A few years ago, I bought an Outback Combi Gas & Charcoal BBQ. Basically, you have one side that is gas and one side that is charcoal. I have always preferred charcoal BBQ’s and the reason I went for this dual option was that I love cooking mid-week after work, but if just cooking a steak or piece of fish it is lots of effort to go through to cook a small amount of food. If I had discovered the chimney starter before then I think I would have purchased a different BBQ.
I think for anyone who is going to BBQ on a regular basis this is a total essential item. It allows you to avoid the nasty instant light briquettes or charcoal, and will really get you ready to cook quickly.
The chimney starter makes it incredibly easy to start a charcoal or briquette BBQ. You simply fill the chimney starter with the coals you want to use, light a firelighter on the base of your grill and place the chimney starter directly over the firelighters. Almost immediately, smoke starts billowing from the chimney starter as the flames get sucked up through the chimney and it starts to heat your coals.
I have used with the Weber briquettes and I would estimate you are ready to cook in around 25 minutes, so not a great deal slower than gas. The Australian Heat Beads take a little longer, probably nearer 30-35 minutes until they are ready to cook with. Using charcoal is much much quicker with ready to cook in 10-15 minutes.
If you want to speed up the time to cook even more you can pair this with the Padamo Quick Starter, which approximately halves the time it takes to then be ready to cook.
Once the coals are heated through (turning white) you simply pour out the coals and arrange in the base of your BBQ depending on how you are planning to cook.
I would encourage anyone that does not have one of these and who enjoys a ‘natural’ barbecue to go out and buy one of these. They cost between £15-£20 but again are one of those purchases that you will wonder how you ever did without them.
Weber has a good article on their site with a little more detail on using the chimney starter, which is worth reading if you are thinking of investing in one of these: HOW TO USE A CHIMNEY STARTER