Starter Cubes


 
Tony,
I filed the charcoal chamber with briquettes and chunks of smoking wood and then lit 3 starter cubes in the center on Memorial Day. It worked out very well. I’m going to use the natural fire sticks next time.
I've used the method Jeff is describing here and really like it. It's really easy to do and a little bit safer than using a chimney in terms of dropping hot embers on/into places where you might not want them. If you want to start a hotter/faster fire on your WSM, you just light 3 places in the charcoal bed rather than 1. I also prefer this method when using a stoker because I just light as Jeff described, wait about 10 minutes, assemble the WSM and then let the stoker (in my case, a Thermoworks Billows) bring the cooker up to temperature.
 
Three sheets of paper towel and a teaspoon of canola oil have been the latest hit for me! I pi up a cheap pump oiler from Amazon and give the paper towel a couple of shots bingo! Virtually NO flying ash, nothing. I’m hard to change but, this just works really well!
 
Three sheets of paper towel and a teaspoon of canola oil have been the latest hit for me! I pi up a cheap pump oiler from Amazon and give the paper towel a couple of shots bingo! Virtually NO flying ash, nothing. I’m hard to change but, this just works really well!
Yes! Same as my method, but without the oiler. And three half sheets. Was my goto until I decided to try the starter cubes. Going back to the paper towel/oiler. Cubes are too much trouble. And, for me, unreliable unless you use at least 3.
 
Publix sells the little tumbleweed cubes that I like. They are cheap, reliable, and come like 40+ to a bag. I usually use x2 at a time. Tried the ones from Royal Oak but they smoked so bad I thought someone was going to call the fire department, including the someone’s in my own house.
 
I posted a time-lapse video called ‘Firestarter Showdown’ to Facebook in the Weber Kettle Giants group as well as to a few others:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/209313286320816/search/?q=Firestarter showdown

I compared a tumbleweed, a starter cube and a homemade PTO (paper towel and oil). The PTO lasted about 50% longer, at over 11 minutes, though they were a bit tougher to start. The time varies depending on how saturated the paper towel is. I’ve since used less oil, which cut the time down to about 7 minutes, but was easier to start. I can make a dozen in about 5 minutes for under a dollar. Many who tried liked them. Of course, I got some negative replies from the haters. What can you do?
 

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To light a big chimney, I now use a 5 ounce Dixie cup. Stuff it full with all manner of flammable stuff. Paper towels, napkins, veg oil, fire start gel, bacon grease, fire starters, etc. Whatever is around.

Burns really strong and long. No ash like with newspaper. Cup sets nice and flat on the grate and holds all the flammable stuff together.
 
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I've been trying the junk mail method, in a chimney, for starting a fire for almost 7 years. There's too many times where the mail gets lit on fire, then burns out without lighting the charcoal.

I want to try something else.

Should I try a starter cube, a starter square, or a tumbleweed?

What would be the easiest, and also allow me to need only one?

I posted a time-lapse video called ‘Firestarter Showdown’ to Facebook in the Weber Kettle Giants group as well as to a few others:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/209313286320816/search/?q=Firestarter showdown

I compared a tumbleweed, a starter cube and a homemade PTO (paper towel and oil). The PTO lasted about 50% longer, at over 11 minutes, though they were a bit tougher to start. The time varies depending on how saturated the paper towel is. I’ve since used less oil, which cut the time down to about 7 minutes, but was easier to start. I can make a dozen in about 5 minutes for under a dollar. Many who tried liked them. Of course, I got some negative replies from the haters. What can you do?

Can you post the video on this forum? The link didn't work for me.
 
I use Rutland brand starter squares for starting charcoal and fires in general, they are available locally. I use one square on a grate to light a charcoal chimney.
 
I've been trying the junk mail method, in a chimney, for starting a fire for almost 7 years. There's too many times where the mail gets lit on fire, then burns out without lighting the charcoal.

I want to try something else.

Should I try a starter cube, a starter square, or a tumbleweed?

What would be the easiest, and also allow me to need only one?

Can you post the video on this forum? The link didn't work for me.
So you persevered with an unsatisfactory method of lighting your chimney for 7 years? I don't know what to say about that, except that you must have the patience of Job. Personally I would have tried something different after the first 3 years. :unsure:
Stick two tumbleweeds/cubes under a full chimney, wait 20-25 minutes. Then stick a fork in it.
It's really not that difficult...trust me.
 
I saw someone mention using cotton balls that were soaked (squeezed out) in rubbing alcohol. I tried them recently and they work really well. I keep them in a mason jar so they don’t dry out.
Alcohol works good but be careful because you can’t always see the flame.
 
I just put my chimney on top of a fish fryer.... Never fails to light. Even in strong wind.

Ive used cubes and newspaper...... It's not worth the hassle..... Sometimes those fail.

At one time I had a chimney that I modified so I could stick a propane torque in the side of it and it shot flame up the bottom.... That worked too.... But I had to stay in there doing that for a couple of minutes. The fish fryer is no fuss.
 
I use a sheet of newspaper with a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil under the grate in my chimney starter.

Maybe using vegetable oil, instead of dry newspaper, would have helped me.

So you persevered with an unsatisfactory method of lighting your chimney for 7 years? I don't know what to say about that, except that you must have the patience of Job. Personally I would have tried something different after the first 3 years. :unsure:
Stick two tumbleweeds/cubes under a full chimney, wait 20-25 minutes. Then stick a fork in it.
It's really not that difficult...trust me.

Sounds good, I'll do that, thanks.

There were times when it worked the first time, and each of those times I kept thinking I had figured out how to do it right, the first time, for the future.
 
Just do cubes or tumbleweeds, pretty similar performance.

Just drop one or two on the lower grate, light them up, chimney on top.
 
I have never used Tumbleweeds. Not sayin' that they're not a good product, just that I've never used 'em. Same with oil, bacon grease, or rubbing alcohol.

I've been using Weber cubes since I first saw them on the competition circuit. I will tell you that, in my experience, you can get by using 1 cube with a small chimney. When I was competing, I was primarily cooking on my WSMs and was using the minion method so I wasn't even lighting a full small chimney.

If you are using a large chimney, I would think that you would likely need 2 cubes. But, you can order them on Amazon for less than 25¢ a cube. To me that's a small price to pay for the convenience.

But to each his(her) own . . .





BD
 
I stop using all that stuff. I found a $10 (at the time) an ordinary heat gun. I see them for about $15 to $19 now. When I smoke on the WSM, I fill the bottom of the WSM charcoal basket up and hold the heat gun on-top of the middle coals. In the matter of 3 min or so there are about 4 or 8 coal lite. Which is about what I use for the minion method. If i am cooking on the kettle and want to light a chimney to use in the vortex or to bank the coals on the sides of the kettle. I put just enough charcoal on the bottom of the chimney. Stick the heat gun in there and get those coal nice and hot. It takes about the same time 2 to 3+min or so. Then i fill the rest of the chimney up and do the same thing with the heat gun from the top. So I would say in the matter or 8 to 10 min they are ready to pour into the vortex. Now of cause, if you don’t have access to Electric outside this would be useless For you.
 
Weber Starter cubes work for me. I use 1 in a chimney. Take out the top 3 or 4 coals. set the cube in the chimney. Light it Put the 3 or 4 coals over the lit cube. 20 minutes it's ready. If I want faster I get the electric leaf blower out. That really moves it along
 

 

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