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snowmonkey

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Our subject today is lighting charcoal grills. Two of our favorite

charcoal grill lighters are named Mark Luetger, and Joe Jared,

(really!!), a couple of computer programmers in the Fidonet 1:103

engineering department.

Each year, Mark and Joe hold a picnic in Mile Square Park, Fountain

Valley, Ca. for Region 10 SoCal Fidonet engineers. There they cook

hamburgers and hotdogs on a big grill, for the Region 10 Fidonet

engineers and their friends and families.

Being engineers, they began looking for practical ways to speed up

the charcoal-lighting process as the newspaper + match had failed to

do the expected job in a reasonable time. Mark and Joe put their

heads to the task of speeding up the process of infighting the

charcoal...

"We started by blowing the charcoal with a hair dryer," Mark told me

about last years picnic. He said,"Joe borrowed his mates five speed

Sassoon cordless hair blower". He continued, "Then we figured out

that it would light charcoal faster if we used a vacuum cleaner with

the hose in the air exhaust port."

If you know anything about (1) engineers and (2) Computer nerds in

general, who have their head in a computer or software for it, you

already know what is going to happened: A couple of beers later the

purpose of the charcoal-lighting shifted from cooking hamburgers to

seeing how fast they could light the charcoal.

From the vacuum cleaner, they escalated to using a propane torch,

then an acetylene torch. Then Mark and Joe started using compressed

pure oxygen, which caused the charcoal to burn much faster, because

as you recall from chemistry class, fire is essentially the rapid

combination of oxygen with a reducing agent (the charcoal).

We discovered that a long time ago, somewhere in the valley between

the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, in Fidonet's infancy, (or somewhere

along those lines). I think it was way back when George Peace was

the Fido IC. The Egyptian pyramids were still one of the eight

wonders of the world.

By this point, Mark and Joe were having a pretty good time. But in

the world of competitive charcoal-lighting, "pretty good" does not

cut the mustard. Thus, Mark and Joe hit upon the idea of using -

get ready for this *** Liquid Oxygen ***!

This is the form of oxygen used in rocket engines; it's 295 degrees

below zero and 600 times as dense as regular oxygen. In terms of

releasing energy, pouring liquid oxygen on charcoal is the

equivalent of throwing a live hand grenade into a 50 gallon vat of

150 proof White Lightening.

What followed was the most impressive charcoal-lighting I have ever

seen, featuring a large fireball that, according to Joe, reached

10,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The charcoal was ready for cooking in, *

this has to be a world record *, 3 seconds.

Will the 3-second barrier ever be broken? Will engineers come up

with a new, more powerful charcoal-lighting technology? It's

something for all of us to ponder NEXT summer as we plan the R10

SoCal picnic!

Basically, the grill vaporized," said Mark. "We were thinking of

using Ol'WDB's Gas BBQ next year... it has wheels and we may get it

up to speed in as little as 3 - 4 minutes with automatic lighter,

and water sprayer to cool the fast ignition of the meats".

 

TheAxeman

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I had to laugh because an acetylene torch is what I use because I never seem to have any lighter fluid around....

 

KSFJR

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Not quite liq. oxy. and starting charcoal but a friend of mine has a pontoon boat down at Table Rock Lake, MO. A few years ago a guy in a houseboat a few slips down spilled gasoline on his houseboat and luckily he had a wet vac to clean it up. Guess what, not a good idea. Caught his boat on fire, a brand new expensive dock, several boats, one of which was a classic restored wooden sailboat.

 

rockwells

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Good one! Guess I'm waaay to conventional, just using lighter fluid in copious quanities. Must have been a pretty cool show!

 

Sherman

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No kidding: I light the lump charcoal in my Big Green Egg with a MAPP torch. Sparkly!
-BD
I have a BGE too! What type of lump do you like?

Best ribs ever.

Their forum used to be great, but I have trouble with it now.

I use those sawdust/was starters - takes about 20 minutes to start. Enough time for beer no. 1.

Bruce

 

dean

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No kidding: I light the lump charcoal in my Big Green Egg with a MAPP torch. Sparkly!
-BD
I have a BGE too! What type of lump do you like?

Best ribs ever.

Their forum used to be great, but I have trouble with it now.

I use those sawdust/was starters - takes about 20 minutes to start. Enough time for beer no. 1.

Bruce

where do you guys get your wood for your smoker? i made one of alton brown's terra cotta smokers, and the pork shoulder turned out great, but i only had enough hickory pieces for that maiden voyage.

 

Sherman

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You can get hickory and Mesquite at Wall-Mart. I have oak from projects here, and I got some apple and cherry from friends.

Just start looking around. The Home Depot and Menard's have chunks also (no chips please.)

Always use lump charcoal instead of the briquets, and get a Big Green Egg when you can.

If you can afford an FJR, you should be able to afford an egg. The ceramic cookers make it easy to control temps and they don't waste fuel like Webers or other metal cookers. I can slow cook 3 pork butts, for pulled pork, overnight on the egg and hold 235 for 16 hours no problem - try that on a Weber.

My .02 anyway.

 

dean

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You can get hickory and Mesquite at Wall-Mart. I have oak from projects here, and I got some apple and cherry from friends.Just start looking around. The Home Depot and Menard's have chunks also (no chips please.)

Always use lump charcoal instead of the briquets, and get a Big Green Egg when you can.

If you can afford an FJR, you should be able to afford an egg. The ceramic cookers make it easy to control temps and they don't waste fuel like Webers or other metal cookers. I can slow cook 3 pork butts, for pulled pork, overnight on the egg and hold 235 for 16 hours no problem - try that on a Weber.

My .02 anyway.
the terra cotta smoker can't match the quantity your big green egg can, but i don't know that i have the need to smoke 3 pork butts at once. other than that, the terra cotta does a superb job; watch that episode of good eats with alton brown and you'll understand. it's not really a matter of affordability, it was just something cool and different.

the amount of hickory i want, i've not seen at wal-mart/home depot. they sell those little dinky bags of chunks of hickory. i want double-digit pounds of it.

 

Sherman

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Find a local saw mill and ask for scraps.

Or maybe a small mfg of wooden products.

Any orchards nearby? Ask for trimmings.

There are some on ebay, but I haven't tried those.

Cherry and apple are the best.

Anything for a fellow misty.

 
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