Let’s face it. Grilling food over a bed of coals is about the most basic and satisfying cooking method, right?
But getting that bed of coals going in a timely manner is probably the biggest impediment to satisfying that primal urge to play with fire. Sure, there are lighter fluids that may satiate the pyromaniac among us, but that smelly petroleum aftertaste and odor takes away from the finished product.
What’s a griller on a deadline to do? (We’re not talking gas grill here …)
There’s a new tool on the market for the grillmaster who wants a quick fire without the oily residue. It’s called the Looftlighter. Basically it’s a hair dryer on steroids (and no, it’s not for your favorite campsite, unless it’s wired for 120 volts. Sorry.) It’s made in Sweden and is for sale in 22 countries.
To get the charcoal glowing, pile it up in the center of your grill, plug in Looftlighter, point it at the base of the pile and push the button. A muted whirring begins and hot air shoots out the business end just like a hair dryer. Hold it close to the charcoal until you see some sparks, then slowly pull it back and away.
Briquettes take a little longer than the wood charcoal, but you’ll have a glowing pile in minutes. Go about your business of making dinner and the coals will likely be ready before you are.
No fuss, no mess, no smelly fumes, no conflagrations, no explosions. Nice. And you can use this tool for starting a fire in your fireplace indoors.
The folks at Looftlighter have some tips for you. “You can decide whether you want to start grilling instantly or if you want to wait for 30 minutes, depending on for how long you use the Looftlighter when starting the barbecue.
“If you want to put your barbecue on hold, use a lid. Then use the Looftlighter to start the live coal again when you are ready.
“Put the grill grates on the barbecue once the charcoal is lit. This way the grates will be cleaned by the intense heat [pyrolytic cleaning]. You can continue using the Looftlighter through the grill grates.
“Always use charcoal or briquettes of good quality, made from hard wood. Charcoal of lesser quality will burn out faster and cause sparks.”
The lighter is about 18 inches long and has a 9-foot power cord and an integrated bottle opener, so you won’t get caught with a dry throat while watching the coals glow.
Price: About $70.
For more information, check out www.looftlighter.com