Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Weber 7416 Rapidfire Chimney Starter
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on April 10, 2008
I'm a big food Network fan and my favorite guy is Alton. What I saw on one of his shows was the most awesome advice for this device. Take ONE, that's right, ONE piece of newspaper and sprinkle a few drops of vegetable oil on it; then put it under your chimney starter (outdoors, please, eggman if you're reading this) and fire it up with a full can of any kind of charcoal. You won't believe how well this works. One more thing; DO NOT set a chimney starter on a gravel driveway when you start it. For some reason, the heat transfers much easier through gravel than concrete. Just put the thing on your grill grate and wait for 20 minutes. You'll have smokin' hot coals that will be almost too hot for smokin' food. I even saw Alton searing tuna on top of one of these things.
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on April 13, 2008
This is the absolute best way to get your grill going. Unlike the little chimneys sold at Lowe's, this holds a lot of charcoal, enough to fill an entire kettle grill, and the airflow through it is very efficient. Two sheets of newspaper and a match, and your briquettes will be ready to go in 10-15 minutes.

The aluminized finish on this resists heat and rust quite well. Other reviewers have commented on the helper handle, but the really key feature of this chiminey starter is the conical wire grid inside that holds up the charcoal. Unlike perforated metal plate inside the no-name chimeny starters, this wire grid lets all of the flame from the newspaper through to the charcoal, resulting in the charcoal lighting in half the time.

All of that, and it isn't any more expensive that the no-name brands. Bigger, faster, and more durable. What more could you ask for?
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on May 26, 2013
We were pleasantly surprised with this chimney starter not knowing what to expect when we used it the first time. It was ready to go in about 10 minutes. We only filled it halfway the first time and used a brown paper sack as starter. It only took one match to get it all started. I've attached user photos for this. It smokes quite a bit to begin with, then some ash floats around. It truly is a chimney as it superheats the charcoals and sends up smoke and intense flame. Be sure to treat with caution and have a heavy duty oven mitt handy. It poured easily onto the grill grate and we were immediately ready to grill. Note the discoloration on the side in one of the photos from the intense heat. It doesn't affect the performance of the chimney but does remind you how hot it can get. We love it! Can't wait to use it again.
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on May 22, 2008
I usually cook in small batches, so I have a small Weber Smokey Joe. Since the grill is so small, I figured I could get away with using a perforated coffee can as a chimney starter to save the $13. I took the can, removed both ends with a can opener, and made a bunch of holes along the bottom with a bottle opener. I then put a sheet of newspaper inside, pile the coals on top, and light it. The can worked, and I used it for over a year, but then I finally decided that this starter was cheap enough that I should give it a try.

The difference is night and day -- my coals start in half the time with the Weber, are much hotter when started, and, if I need to, I can start a LOT more coals at once. When they call this "Rapidfire" they mean it. If I had known what I do now, I never would've gone the coffee can route. This thing is so cheap, and works so well, that everyone with a charcoal grill should have one.
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on June 27, 2010
I've had several of these. They are great. Word of warning when done dumping coals look into the chimney to be sure all coals are gone. In the process of transporting my chimney to bare ground, I hadn't noticed that a small piece of coal dropped out and rolled near the house on my deck out of sight. Dog woke me up at 2AM my deck and house were on fire. Got it under control and repaired. Very thankful to my dog and that my home is brick. Since then I have seen coals stuck in the chimney grate after pouring. Please be careful folks. I was fortunate to have a persistent dog. Still use one today.
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on August 18, 2008
This worked just as all the reviews have said. Durable and FAST!

Definately a great buy. Just one word of advice...if using in semi-windy conditions, be aware the newspaper ash will fly out from the bottom of the chimmney.
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on July 25, 2012
This thing is just flat out cool! I have a Weber charcoal grill with a propane ignition system, and this chimney starter works great with it, but you can actually light it with just a couple sheets of newspaper placed under it too!

At first, it seems like very little is happening aside from a lot of smoke coming out of the top of the chimney. Within a few minutes though, even the top coals start showing tiny specks of white ash, and 25-30 minutes from initially lighting it, your coals are ready to use!

The unit is well built (Weber really is hanging in there with product quality), and I can't find any major problems at all with the design. One minor change I'd make is to make the side ventilation holes slightly larger to increase air flow inward and upward from the sides once it gets going, but I don't think performance would be more than marginally improved by doing so, and I certainly don't think air flow is insufficient as it is out of the box.

Both handles stay surprisingly cool, but do wear a glove or mitt when using it anyway, as the top unprotected steel wire handle does get a little warmer than most people will be comfortable with on bare skin. No such problem with the main (bottom) handle.

The bottom of the unit is made of heavy steel wire, which allows for much faster ignition than similar items with a bottom made of sheet metal with slots cut into it, and the well thought out design makes pouring your lit charcoals precisely where you want them a breeze.

I bought this just to see if I'd been missing anything all these years, and I've concluded that I have indeed, just for the amount of hassle and messiness handling charcoals has involved. I wish I'd have bought one of these years ago, this is a much easier and cleaner way to get that grill sizzling!

I hope some of you find my review helpful in making a more informed buying decision. Peace and happy grilling :-)
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on July 27, 2008
This starter is bigger than I thought it would be when I ordered it. It is big enough that I have never filled it more than about halfway with briquettes. Even at about half-full it is enough to supply two dutch ovens (12 inch and 14 inch, stacked) with enough firepower to cook a good meal.

I really like that this requires no lighter fluid and will start the charcoal faster than the lighter fluid ever could. Applying a little cooking oil to the paper you place in the bottom does seem to start the charcoal faster, although it will temporarily smoke a bit more. Without adding oil I have found that I sometimes need to wait 10-12 more minutes longer or add more paper to the bottom before the charcoal is fully going.

To stress again the size of this, filling the starter completely as shown in the picture would probably use between one-quarter and one-third of a 20 pound bag of charcoal.

By consistently filling my it to approximately the same level (between the second and third holes on the side) my starter has developed a nice dull ring around it from the oxidation of the aluminum at high temperatures. Yes, the can was red hot (actually glowing). This does not in any way affect function and is almost certainly the reason for the aluminized steel, since this layer of oxidized aluminum will help to prevent oxidation of the steel (rust). I suspect that this would extend to cover the whole can after several years of use or a few big barbecues where the whole can is filled.
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on February 19, 2011
I've had a Weber chimney for about three years now. Although I store it outside in humid Florida, there is no rust or other deterioration on it. I have owned other brands (the cheaper ones painted black) and the bottom grate rusted out of them after a year or so. One chimney will cover about three quarters of my Char-Griller with a single layer of nice white-hot coals after about 30 to 45 minutes. This was enough to grill two rib-eyes and a lobster tail quite nicely last weekend.

Now, as to starting the coals (use plain ol' Kingsford or Cowboy:) I do not recommend sitting the thing on the ground to get it started. The air vents at the bottom do not allow enough air to maintain the flame long enough to get a hot enough flame to get the coals started. When I do this, I find it takes three or four attempts which gets pretty frustrating. I have the best results by bunching up some paper on my fire pit grate, lighting it, then sitting the chimney on top. This allows for lots of air flow which produces a nice hot flame to get the coals started. These things to get hot so be sure to wear gloves when handling it, especially when dumping the coals on your grate.

Paper: newspaper is a bit chemically smelling, which may affect the coals a tad. That brown shipping packing paper is the best.

This is a must-have grilling accessory. If needed, I will replace it with a Weber again!
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on January 16, 2013
I bought this in April, 2012 and I still use it at least twice/week (every time I fire up my charcoal grill). It's January 2012 now and this thing is still irreplaceable for me.

Very easy to use, fill up the main section with charcoal, crumble up newspaper and stuff it into the bottom and light. Give it a few minutes and you've got hot coals to pour out into your grill and start going.

A few tips/info:

1) It smokes a lot at first, just be prepared. It is paper lit on fire, after all.
2) Don't over stuff with paper - too much paper doesn't allow enough air to circulate around the bottom and it won't work as well.
3) Don't use glossy paper like with some junk mail you receive. Be careful only to use plain paper, throw away the glossy stuff because it has chemicals and burns differently - you don't want to use that.
4) The whole point of this thing is to not have to use charcoal fluid, at least in my case. Don't add fluid to your charcoal or use the type of charcoal that has fluid included in it - those chemicals are added to the flavor of your food, trust me don't do it.
5) After the coals are hot there can still be some paper or ash underneath. Lift up the unit with 2 hands (one on the main handle, one on the hinged top handle) and shake it (while still upright) into the grill a little to get that stuff out of it. Otherwise, you may drop some paper or ash on yourself or nearby where you don't want it. Not a big deal, but it can happen.
6) Keep the coals going in the unit until you see red near the top. That's when they're ready to go - not every coal has to be red, just make sure that MOST of them in there are glowing.
7) ONLY light this while it's in the grill, don't do it on the ground or on a shelf (especially a wood one) attached to your grill. Just do it on the grates inside.
8) Flip it quickly, then slowly lift up so you have a nice pile of coals. Lifting it too quickly spreads them out more and usually means they'll burn up faster, same with "pouring" them out slowly.
9) If you are smoking wood with your coals, don't add wood chips or chunks to the coals until after they are in the grill.
10) Once you have emptied the coals out, the unit will still be hot! Make sure you have a safe place to put it - again not on your wood shelf or on the ground usually. I put mine on top of the grate under the grill itself, where it can cool quickly.

Like I said I use this constantly. It's still bright silver, barely looks used. Very high quality product and a must have for real charcoal enthusiasts.

UPDATE 3/21/13: Still a great unit, still used every time I grill. The metal has very slightly warped in shape, you can only tell if you're looking straight down from the top and it doesn't affect the unit in any way. Of all my grilling tools and gadgets this is one of the few that I absolutely cannot do without.

-D
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