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