Most chimney starters have a plate or grate with several holes welded horizontally inside the cylinder about 3″ from the bottom. The chimney has large holes drilled around its circumference below the grate. This is to allow air to flow up underneath the charcoal. Most models have insulated handles that not only protect your hands from being burned by hot metal but also serve to get a solid grip on the device and safely pour into your grill.
The chimney starter works by placing a few loosely crumpled pieces of newspaper underneath the grate and lighting them on fire. This fire rises through the holes in the grate and sets the charcoal alight. It is commonly used in situations where the use of charcoal lighter fluid is inappropriate or you simply don’t want to use toxic lighter fluid.
Overall, a Chimney Starter is used to start and maintain a fire in an outdoor grill……and is very handy when extra hot charcoals are required when slowly cooking something for many hours. When used along side these incredible STARTER CUBES, starting your grill with a chimney is a breeze.
Is it worth It? ~ Weber’s RapidFire® Chimney Starter
~ Product Review…
In the past, the options of lighting a charcoal grill have been limited to either dousing coals or lump hardwood with petroleum-based lighter fluid or purchasing pre-soaked, easy-to- light coals. Neither option is ideal as you are introducing a nasty chemical, taste and odor into your food. The only major alternative was to patiently attempt to light your charcoal without the assistance of liquid fuel via kindling wood, newspaper or with starter sticks or pellets. There was no highly efficient, concentrated way to start and quickly get coals up to uniform high heat to produce a long-lasting fire.
It’s no secret that the Chimney Starter is not brand new to the market. However, one major problem is that the charcoal chimney starter competitive market has quickly become flooded with poorly made, mass produced tin tubes.
Weber has addressed the problem by developing an incredible lineup of charcoal chimney starters of which the Weber Rapidfire® Chimney Starter 7416 is their most popular offering. In fact, these are their words….
“Place the Chimney Starter with coals on top of lighter cubes or crumpled newspapers and light. It’s that easy!“
The Weber Rapidfire® retails around $15 – $18, features a top-swinging second handle and a ‘cool to touch’ main handle reinforced with a heat shield. Approximately 7 1/2″ in diameter. 12″ high.
- Pros ~ The product has several great characteristics. First of all, the Rapidfire® directly addresses the problem of lighting charcoal efficiently without the use of toxic lighter fluid. It also has the unique safety feature of a swinging handle that helps to stabilize the chimney while pouring hot coals into your grill, keeping your other hand away from the hot tube.
- Cons ~ There are two quirks that you need to be aware of. These are inherent of all chimney starters and not specific to the Weber Rapidfire®. You will have to be very careful where you place the chimney starter to light it as the ash and heat will damage many materials it is placed on. The safest place is to start the chimney on the grill grate on the grill itself. Otherwise you’ll have melted asphalt, burned sod, exploding cement and a burned deck! The Weber Chimney Starter does not feature any type of directional scoop at the opening of the top which may help in directing the hot coals into smaller spaces such as a smoker chimney port door or smaller grills.
The Conclusion ~
Out of most of the chimney starters on the market today, the Weber Rapidfire® Chimney Starter is probably the best bang for your buck! At less than 20 buckaroos you can’t go wrong with this product! When grilling on a budget, this chimney starter is sure to tickle your fancy.