Weber Charcoal Chimney


Tom Barineau

TVWBB Super Fan
Over twenty three years ago when we first got married, my wife and I got our first Weber Kettle Grill (22.5") with S & H Green Stamps. We've always started our grill with charcoal starter fluid--I must have cooked a thousand steaks that way.

When I ordered my WSM, I also ordered a charcoal chimney. Have used it every time I've used the WSM but used it yesterday with the kettle for the first time when we cooked a couple of bone-in ribeye steaks. Best steaks that I've ever cooked.

Hard to believe that no charcoal starter would make that much difference, but it sure does appear that way!!

Well, it's not that hard to believe for me. Petroleum distillates and food don't make a great combination in my book :)

The smell alone of burning lighter fluid nearly makes me ill. Everytime I smell it my neighborhood (which is rare due to all the gassers people use) I feel like running down with a charcoal chminey and weber starter cube to show them The Way.

BTW, I love the Weber starter cubes. One is all you need to get that chimney roaring. No more crumpled paper or paper ash everywhere.

Totally agree about the smell of lighter fluid. Even though I only discovered real BBQ a few months ago, I have been using a chimney starter for years.

I was at my in-law's for dinner 2 weeks ago, and my father in-law dowsed coals in lighter fluid and lit up his smokey joe that way. I almost gagged, but I figured I'd keep my mouth shut. At least I now know what to get him for Christmas! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif
I actually was surprised by the difference. I thought that by the time the charcoal was burning good, the fluid had burned off or they wouldn't let them sell the stuff. Live and learn, huh?

Ed & Bruce--thanks for the tip on the Weber Starter Cubes. I'll try them.

Jason--I've already ordered one for my daughter--they do make a good gift. I sure wish that someone had enlightened me sooner.

I've found them at Sears, Home Depot and Lowe's. I've also ordered them direct from Weber when getting other items. In fact I frequently order from Weber rather Amazon because I prefer their service. However, I do make donations to this site because it certainly deserves our support.

"Grill Out Times" put out by Weber advertised a case which is 12 boxes of 24 cubes each for $20. Shipping was $3. If that's still the price, it's pretty good - $1.92 per box - ph # 1-800-999-3237.

While ordering another item from Weber, I checked on the cubes. They can no longer be ordered because of flammable issues.

All I really know is the box says "flammable" in three different languages - I'm a lawyer, not a chemist /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif . However Chris describes them on this site as "paraffin".

Being rather new on the block, I wasn't going to say anything, but while searching for a source for the Weber starter cubes, I ran into a site which said that the cubes were "better than charcoal lighter fluid--but not by much".

While I trust those who express their opinions and experience on this board, that did kind of raise a question in my mind.

I don't particularly like the flying ash that comes with lighting with newspaper, but the pronounced difference that I think I saw between a steak cooked on charcoal started with paper as opposed to one cooked on charcoal started with a "distillate product" of any kind has me grasping a little bit. Now I'm somewhat unsure of
the cubes.

Anyone else have input? I'm still curious.

I use the Weber cubes occasionally. They're convenient and a little less hassle than newspaper. They also are ripping hot and burn for several minutes, so I think the coals get started a bit faster.

It never dawned on me that parrafin wax was a petroleum product, but sure enough it is. The cubes do put off a smell and black soot for several minutes, but I've never tasted any off flavors in my cooking when using them. Then again, I can't taste any off flavor from using Kingsford, either. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

That's true. I never thought about the cubes being petrolleum either. At least it only takes one little one to get it going and like Chris says, they are hot and burn fast. But, I don't smell it like lighter fluid and only the flames hit the coals. But, that's a weak argument I know. Maybe I'll try a comparison with paper starters and see if I can taste or smell a difference.

I love the cubes and use them for both grilling and smoking on my kettle. I doubt that they produce any bad effects on the food since they are done burning long before any food goes on the grill. I have done both newspaper and starter cubes and haven't tasted a difference. Maybe I just don't have as finely honed a sense of taste, but I think they are fine.

As far as the lighter fluid, I kind of miss it (not that I would cook with it). I have so many fond memories growing up that are brought back by smelling lighter fluid. It is the good old days when there were no harmful effects from anything and people always put the fluid on even after the fire was burning. Who could resist especially when the directions warned against it.
3 years ago, a local Lowe's had a close out sale on the lighter cubes they had in stock. I bought several boxes, so many that I just finished using them up! I've never had an off taste from using them. They are alot better than newspaper, but newspaper is cheaper.
The majority rules!! I'm convinced!! Now if I can just get some of them. Paraffin, huh? Just for kicks, anybody ever try to make one? They wouldn't be about the size of an ice cube, would they?

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Tom Barineau:
[qb]They wouldn't be about the size of an ice cube, would they?[/qb] <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>They're a little smaller. See this photo.