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BBQ problem

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Post Tue Jun 15, 2004 1:36 pm
lclea raw
raw

Posts: 2
I searched for this problem, but couldn't find it, sorry if it is a repeat. I just purchased an 22" Weber Kettle grill and after years of gas grilling am attempting to move back to charcoal. My problem is I have been using a chimney, newspaper and hardwood charcoal, and while it lights and gets red and ashy, it isn't very hot and gets cold quick, like under a half an hour. I fill up the chimney, my vents are open and I put the lid on after I pour them out. The charcoal doesn't even burn all the way through.

You all look like such experts, I just tried the Weber help line and they didn't know how to use a chimney and had never used hardwood. I go to briquettes if that would be better,
Thanks,
Leah

Post Tue Jun 15, 2004 1:57 pm
RichD medium-well
medium-well

Posts: 280
Location: New Jersey
I use either briquettes or lump in my chimney and have not experienced the problem you describe. However, it sounds to me like you are dumping the chimney too soon. You may also want to try something other than newspaper to start your chimney. I know some of the guys here use a parafin starter. I think you can get them from weber. Another alternative is to use the propane burner of a turkey fryer. You set the chimney directly over the burner then light it and adjust it so that the flame is coming up under the chimney (not around the outside edge of it). You will get a nice hot starter fire using this method. Of course it requires you have a turkey fryer.
Welcome to the board and I hope that helps a little.

RichD

Post Tue Jun 15, 2004 2:17 pm
Bob-BQN User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 12904
Location: Texas
lclea it sounds to me like it may be one of two things.

First, as mentioned, your hardwood charcoal may not be fully lit before dumping it into your grill. This will cause it to cool off rapidly.

Second, if the vents on your grill are close it will starve the fuel of oxygen. This will also cause the fire to cool off and eventually put it out completely.

I have recently switched to using paraffin starters as RichD mentioned. The ones I am using are homemade and they work great. No more ashes flying around from the newspaper. I cut them in half and they burn for 6 to 8 minutes. So far the wind hasn’t blown one out.

I’ve used the chimney starter to light chunks of hardwood (cut up logs, not charcoal) and it worked great. To get them started I placed 10 charcoal briquettes in the bottom of the chimney and then filled it the rest of the way with wood chunks. The paraffin starter (or newspaper) lights the charcoal and the charcoal in-turn lights the wood.

If you’re using a lump hardwood charcoal, it should light easily and burn all the way through to a very fine ash. Make sure it’s well lit before dumping and gets enough air to keep burning.

Hope this helps and welcome to the board! :D
Image

Post Tue Jun 15, 2004 3:14 pm
RichD medium-well
medium-well

Posts: 280
Location: New Jersey
Bob you mentioned that your parafin starters are homemade. If you are making them I would be interested in knowing how you do it.

RichD

Post Tue Jun 15, 2004 3:27 pm
Bob-BQN User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 12904
Location: Texas
RichD the link to the discussion where I covered making the paraffin starters is: help with chimney starters on page 3. They're real easy to make!
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Post Tue Jun 15, 2004 3:30 pm
SmokeyJ rare
rare

Posts: 11
Location: Idaho
That's all good advise. I would just like to add that the problem may also be with your fuel. Briquettes and other fuels, if left out in the elements, can take on moisture and make them hard to light and cause them to burn poorly. I keep my fuel in a galvenized trash can with the lid tightly secured at all times.

I also use a "gas assist" with my chiminy. However, I do like that idea of letting the briquettes light the hardwood.

SmokeyJ
I like mine with lettuce and tomato,
Heinz Fifty-seven and French fried potatoes.
Big kosher pickle and a cold draft beer.

Post Tue Jun 15, 2004 7:49 pm
BBcue-Z well done
well done

Posts: 3062
Location: Atlanta-GA
I use the side burner on my gas grill to start charcoal. I remove the pot ring, place the chimney on top of the burner for few minutes, and wait for the coals to light up. Once the bottom layer is lit, I place the chimney on the ground and allow for the rest of the coal to light up. I found this way to be the cheapest, cleanest and most effective way to light up the coals. I don’t have a turkey-fryer burner, but the grill side burner works Just as well.
Image

Post Tue Jun 15, 2004 8:17 pm
Vinsect well done
well done

Posts: 576
Location: Middle Tennessee
Hey, there's another good use for a sideburner.
If it aint broke, Break it!
Then rebuild it better.

Post Tue Jun 15, 2004 8:29 pm
lclea raw
raw

Posts: 2
Thank you so much for the ideas. We are hitting the grill again with Father's Day this weekend, so I will try it again. Maybe I was just dumping them too fast, still on the gas grill time.
Thank you,
Leah

Post Wed Jun 16, 2004 6:46 am
DarkRubiTJ medium-well
medium-well

Posts: 221
Location: Livingston, TX.
I recently tried using "Starter Sticks" I've never been pleased with my Cheapo Chiminey. It's smaller capacity than a Weber and the coals are almost all done when fully lit. I went to the local supermarket to get some charcoal and was looking for parafin cubes or an alterative to lighter fluid. On the top shelf beside the fluid there were "Starter Sticks", commonly sold to start log fires, better known as "Fat Wood" a very resinious piece of pine kindling. I threw a few pieces of charcoal on the grate and using standard Boy Scout technique I built a teepee of starter sticks over them and threw some charcoal on top of them. They work great, fire got going in a hurry and there is no residue. They are my starter of choice now.
Image
Weber "Q", Weber Performer, Weber 22.5" Bar-B-Kettle

Post Thu Jun 17, 2004 12:24 am
Vinsect well done
well done

Posts: 576
Location: Middle Tennessee
Fatwood is easy to find out in nature. Find a fallen pine tree thats mostly decomposed. The fatwood is the hard wood at the center that doesn't crumple away after everything else is mushy.

Just remember though, fatwood comes from pine trees and you don't want that pine resin in your food.
If it aint broke, Break it!
Then rebuild it better.

Post Thu Jun 17, 2004 5:32 am
CharredGriller User avatar
BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 5918
Location: Central Alberta, Canada
Fatwood also comes from fire-killed pine. You can find it in the unburned sections of the log. It's my firestarter of choice on camping trips, and it also makes incredible shingles for a cabin. Out in the bush we even render tar from it to build birch bark canoes.

Just remember to only use it for starting a fire. If you use it for actual cooking your food will look and taste like the surface of the George Washington Bridge.

Post Thu Jun 17, 2004 9:12 pm
Vinsect well done
well done

Posts: 576
Location: Middle Tennessee
Wow!
Welcome to the group CanadaBBQguy.
If it aint broke, Break it!
Then rebuild it better.

Post Fri Jun 18, 2004 11:14 am
SmokeyJ rare
rare

Posts: 11
Location: Idaho
Yuck! I can't say I've ever licked the GW Bridge so I'll just heed Canada's advise.

SJ
I like mine with lettuce and tomato,
Heinz Fifty-seven and French fried potatoes.
Big kosher pickle and a cold draft beer.

Post Fri Jun 18, 2004 1:18 pm
smoknbrew

I use a Weber Performer that I have had since March. This does not require a chimney as it has a gas starter for the charcoal.

One thing I have noticed is that sometimes I "forget" (see second half of username) to open the vent on the hood of my grill. If I do this even with the bottom vents wide open my fire burns out. Another thing which has helped me is if the fire still needs a little time to heat up I give the coals a stir and leave the hood offf for a few minutes to get things heated up. Finally, I believe you may need more than one chimney full of coals to really get a hot fire in the full 22.5 inch kettle. i have the charcoal baskets, but have recently begun to just pile the charcoal in the middle of the grill in a greater amount than what my baskets hold.

I would reccomend getting the fire going in your chimney, dumping it in the grill and adding some more coals on top of that, leaving the lid of for a few minutes, then putting on your cooking grate and the lid to get it heated up.

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