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Char-Broil SureFire Electric Charcoal Starter
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- UL Listed
- Provides hot coals in minutes
- No lighter fluid taste
- Stainless steel sheath with heat resistant handle
- 120 volts, 500 watts
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|Sold By||—||Southfork Homecenter||DBROTH||Amazon.com||World of Artcraft||Amazon.com|
|Item Dimensions||1.63 x 5.50 x 18.00 inches||5.50 x 1.50 x 21.00 inches||6.22 x 4.33 x 18.90 inches||13.00 x 7.50 x 12.00 inches||18.25 x 2.75 x 3.50 inches||10.50 x 8.00 x 5.75 inches|
Electric Charcoal Starter; Provides Hot Coals In Minutes, No Light Fluid Required, 120V, 500 Watts, UL Listed, Stainless Steel Sheath With Heat Resistant Handle.
Read all instructions and warnings before attempting to use this product. Do not use with self igniting charcoal. Do not remove grounding prong. Do not immerse in water, use to heat water, or clean with water. Do not leave in charcoal more than 8 minutes.
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Despite the excellent job that this product does, there are a couple of warnings and issues that I have with this, that caused the one star deduction. I complained about the safety of the lighter fluid, but honestly, this thing is pretty dangerous too. After your remove it from the coals, you need to have a dedicated space to put it that is out of the reach of children, pets, or accidentally bumping it yourself. This thing gets very, very, very hot -- and it will do serious damage to somebody.
Additionally, you have to be very careful where you store it. I have an enclosed area in my backyard that I keep most of my yard tools, etc. I put this on one of the shelves, but the morning dew one morning permeated the plastic housing on the handle, and shorted the item. I had to buy another one. This needs to be stored somewhere that is completely protected from the elements. It also seems to me that intense cold may also have an adverse effect on it. I now let mine fully cool, clean it off, and then bring it inside for storage.
Ultimately, I still like this significantly more than using lighter fluid, and recommend it to anyone looking to get away from it.
Downside: Dealing with a very hot heating element while it cools down after you take it out of the grill.
I've been using lighter fluid or newspapers, with and without a chimney since I was grilling with my dad as a kid. With practice, it works well every time. Especially if you carefully mind it, blow on the coals to get the embers really started, you know the drill. I ran out of lighter fluid yet again and happened to be wandering through YouTube late at night and stumbled across electric charcoal starters. Some look like hair dryers and sound like them too, and some were simple heating elements, like this one. I'm not going to trust a hair dryer to be left unattended, but I could walk away from a heating element for a minute or two. Popped over to Amazon and saw the prices and decided to give it a shot.
It's a fantastic tool. Put down a few briquettes put the starter on top, leaning the plastic handle against the edge of the grill, bury that element with the rest of the briquettes and plug it in. You need an extension cord to get to your grill, two prongs is fine. Set a timer for 8-10 minutes they say (I stick with 10 so far) and don't let it stay longer than that because it can get hot enough to damage the product! You will need a place to lean the handle and attached metal stand to allow the heating element to cool, so keep that in mind if you have pets or kids out with you. Once it's cool, I just toss it in with the bag and the rest of my unused briquettes and put them in the basement.
You can see a little smoke trail after 30 or so seconds. I never see giant flames like I do with lighter fluid, after my 10 minute timer I just see the red hot smoldering embers like you're supposed to see after the lighter fluid burns off. I do like to leave the coals to burn a while after I take it out to make sure that the burning has spread as much as possible.
This is a 500W heating element, which puts it at more power than your vacuum cleaner but less than your microwave, so it's not likely to trip your circuit breaker.
Buy the Grill Dome Rapid-Lite 600 Watt Electric Charcoal Lighter on Amazon. You can pile your charcoal above and below it and it has 2 coils for bigger quicker lighting. It's about $40 on Amazon, you can find it cheaper. They have lasted about 18 months for me. I use my BGE about 4 nights a week year round.
The electric starter corroded and broke after less than a year of use. That, plus the fact it took 10 minutes & more to get the coals ready to grill, caused me to change the way I start my grill.