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Cool Tool: Chimney Starter

Fine Cooking Issue 73
Photo: Scott Phillips
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Lighting my charcoal grill used to require a lot of time, a little luck, and an unsavory dose of lighter fluid. The chimney starter put an end to that. It’s just a metal canister with a wire rack inside, but it works brilliantly. Stuff a couple of sheets of crumpled newspaper in the bottom, pour the charcoal in the top, set it on the grill and light the paper. Without fail, the charcoal ignites. When the coals are covered with ash, you pour them into the grill.

If you grill with charcoal and haven’t yet tried a chimney starter, do yourself a favor: Buy one. Get the biggest one you can find, like Weber’s extra large chimney starter (model 8788); it holds enough charcoal for a 22-1/2-inch kettle grill. Hardware stores usually carry chimney starters. The one shown here is $13 at TheGadgetSource.com.


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