The Excellerator charcoal chimney review is where we will put to the test a new design of the old charcoal chimney. Our friends at One Grill have sent us a couple of their prototype 304 stainless steel charcoal chimneys to test out. The first thing you notice about this chimney is its unique inverted V-shaped design (patent pending), this is supposed to speed the lighting of your coals by as much as 60%. At the bottom where the paper goes is about as open as you can get, this is to allow as much air in as possible while the coals are lighting.
These prototypes are not fitted with the ergonomic non-spin handle that the final production units will be equipped with. One Grill claims that its chimney can light your coals in 1/3 the time as a standard charcoal chimney. If you have followed us at all you know that I am mainly a gas grill guy, my reasoning is speed and convenience. If the manufactures claims hold true this could this be the product that changes that?
My first impressions before we get into the meat of this charcoal chimney review: Just by looking at this chimney my first thought was this thing will clog up when you try to pour charcoal out of it. So the first thing I did was fill it with Kingsford Charcoal Briquettes pack it down and added even more coals. To pack the coals you just bang it down on the bottom a few times and the coals will settle, generally you can get about 10% more charcoal in your chimney this way.
Then we pour: all of the coals came tumbling out without a problem so I repeated this test 2 more times pouring a little faster each time and each time it worked perfectly. In fact the narrow opening seems to allow you more control of where your coals go when you pour then an ordinary chimney.
Now for the real Excellerator charcoal chimney review:
Lets put it to the test against my trusty old friend the Steven Raichlen Ultimate Chimney Starter. I think it is only fair to test it against one of the best chimneys on the market. First we counted out 40 Kingsford coals for each chimney, the crumpled 2 full sheets of newspaper for each (I even went as far as to make sure none of the pieces had color printing on them). I stuffed them both, then pulled out 3 small pieces of paper to light on each.
Since I could not light them both at the same time I alternated the lighting between the two. When all 6 edges were burning I began the timer. It is important to note here that the large open area on the bottom of the chimney are supposed to help the paper stay lit so it will light every time.
Within 2 minutes the One Grill Chimney looked like a factory smoke stack from the 70’s with the smoke was churning out of that thing, while it was just wafting lazily out of the other chimney. As you can see from the image to the left the newspaper is completely burned through already.
At the four-minute mark you could see some of the coals already ashing over on the top layer. From the looks of it the One Grill coals could probably be poured out at about the 6 to 8 minute mark and we could have been cooking within 10 minutes.
I let them go until 12 minutes then dumped them for the photo seen here. The Raichlen chimney seemed to catch up at the end but you can see the sheer amount of unlit coals in both piles.
I figured I would test my theory about cooking in 10 minutes when I grilled my dinner last night. I added a few less coals than in the test to the One Grill chimney and lit it with the side burner of my Char Griller Dou.
The smoke eased up at the 6-minute mark, so I poured it into the grill. The white smoke started up again but it was clear by the 10-minute mark so I was grilling our burgers within 10 minutes. Considering I heat the gas side of my grill for around 7 minutes before using it I am very impressed.
The Results of the Excellerator charcoal chimney review:
The One Grill chimney was intended for use by competition barbecuer but with the way it is designed I think every serious charcoal guy will throw away his old chimney in favor of this one. The stainless steel shell will not rust out as fast as a normal chimney so at an estimated retail of $39.99 this unit is well worth the few extra bucks. I think the only thing that this item is missing is a catchy name like rocket starter or something.
So now the question is am I ready to get rid of my gas grill yet? Not quite, but as of right now we will be cooking with charcoal at our house a lot more often thanks to this device, it has just made lighting charcoal just to cook a couple of burgers worth while. I sure hope the guys over at One Grill do not expect to get it back anytime soon.
Since this article was originally written One Grill has released 2 versions of the Excellerator (and took my advise about the catchy name I see). The professional version is made from a thicker stainless steel the original model. Both versions work just like the prototype and mine is quickly becoming my best friend
Update: Both versions of the Excellerator charcoal chimney have been discontinued and are no longer available.
We received a free product on this charcoal chimney review. However it was not in exchange for writing this review. They were prototypes that the manufacturer wanted some input on. It was not until they decided to go into production on then that we decided (on our own) to review it. We do like free stuff however.
About the author: Mike is the owner of 4thegrill.com, a Certified Food Safety Professional and KCBS member
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