Burner Firestarters

We were sent samples of this new product by a distributor. The product comes from Denmark and is slowly making its appearance in North America. We were immediately interested due to their unique packaging. As you can see in the photos below, individual packets contain the starter material. The packet itself burns, so there is no fuss, no muss.

Front view of Burner Starters Bag
Package front view
Rear view of Burner Starters Bag
Package rear view
View of Individual Burner Starter
An individual starter

According to their product literature, Burner Firestarters have the following advantages over other starter products on the market today:

  • Low controlled flame that burns amongst the charcoal/wood, concentrating the flame within a confined area.
  • Large surface , which increases the amount of heat and prevents the firestarter from choking itself in the ashes.
  • It will light even if it has been exposed to humidity/water.
  • Product is completely odorless.
  • The sachets have a high inflammable point (> 65 degrees Celsius/> 150 degrees Fahrenheit), so no flammable warnings are required on the packaging.
  • Safe and easy to use and will not self-ignite.
  • Burner Firestarters are environmentally friendly and classified as non-hazardous and non-poisonous.

So, we decided to do a little experimentation to see how we liked this new product. As you can see in the photos below, the material contained in the sachet looks remarkably like the material in a Weber firestarter. The residue left after it burns also strongly resembles the residue left after a Weber firestarter has burned:

Closeup of sachet contents
Sachet contents
Contents burning
Contents burning
Contents burning
Contents burning
Residue left after burning
Residue left

Size-wise, each starter sachet measures about 2.5 inches square and each sachet weighs about 8 grams. For comparison, a Weber starter cube weighs anywhere from 8 grams to 15 grams, but they average out at about 10 grams. We burned a sachet side-by-side with a 10-gram Weber starter cube and they both burned about 8 minutes with a flame large enough to consider it helping to start the fire. They both burned for a longer time, but the extra time was irrelavent since the flame was too small to worry about. Both brands smoke slightly as they burn and give off just the slightest smell.

Next we took 2 pounds of Rancher charcoal briquettes and lit a single burner starter underneath the charcoal in a Weber Smokey Joe. At about 8 minutes into the test, we realized that the single starter wasn't going to produce a wide enough flame to ignite the entire pile of charcoal, so we added a second starter to the side of the first one. Here is what the fire looked like at the times indicated:

5 minutes into test burn
5 minutes into test burn
10 minutes into test burn
10 minutes into test burn
12 minutes into test burn
12 minutes into test burn
15 minutes into test burn
15 minutes into test burn
20 minutes into test burn
20 minutes into test burn

Price-wise, the Weber cubes cost between 16.5 and 21 cents each. Burner firestarters can be found for about 18 to 25 cents each. You may be able to find a lower price-per-starter if you can find the larger bulk containers. You may also be able to find these starters under the Char-Broil label. But, while they are more expensive, they are ever so more convenient to use than other starter methods. No bottles of fluid, no electric cord, no big metal chimney to lug around. If you were going on a cookout, you could just toss a few of these into the lunch basket or wherever. There's no mess like with Weber starter cubes, which get white flakes of the starter material all over everytime you pop one out of the 24-cube tray. So, we think these are a welcome addition to the arsenal of tools that cooks have for getting their charcoal started.

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