REVIEW – Ever since the beginning of the human race, the ability to make fire has been a key ingredient to our survival and progress. Fire (and the heat it produces) makes food safer and better tasting. There’s no better illustration of using fire to cook than the backyard barbecue. It satisfies that primitive desire to make fire! Barbecuing has evolved from using charcoal to gas to electric. Yet, many will swear that charcoal is still the best method (I agree). It’s not as eco-friendly or as convenient as gas or electric, but it yields the best-tasting results. The problem is that using lighter fluid or a charcoal chimney with crumpled newspaper can affect the flavor of your favorite steak. Which brings us the Barbienado Boost Charcoal Accelerator Chimney and Barbienado Wand from our friends from down under. Barbienao claims to be three times faster than conventional charcoal lighting. Is it?
What is it?
The Barbienado Boost Charcoal Accelerator Chimney and Barbienado Wand are two separate devices (gadgets?) for preparing charcoal for outdoor grill cooking. The wand can be used separately but works best when combined with the chimney. The wand requires electricity to use.
Barbienado Boost Charcoal Accelerator Chimney
- Rust-resistant 304 stainless steel
- Wooden handle
- 1500 Watts
- 650° C (1200° F)
- 500 litres/min air movement
- 110-120 V
Design and features
The Barbienado Boost Charcoal Accelerator Chimney and Barbienado Wand are a simple solution to an age-old problem—lighting charcoal in a quick, consistent, and reliable manner. Barbienado succeeds on all three, but with some caveats.
Let’s start with the wand. I’ve never used a wand-style lighter before. It’s an interesting experience holding a giant wand that reaches 1200° in your hand.
The intense heat from the wand creates what’s called a “firenado” effect—a natural phenomenon (controlled in this use) seen in deadly wildfires. This swirling firenado lights charcoal much faster than more conventional methods. Is it three times faster? Depends. In our tests, the charcoal was ready to cook in 15 minutes on a dry, cool (50°) Florida late afternoon. That’s almost twice the speed of our Weber Chimney that uses crumpled, burning paper at the base to light the charcoal. And the wand/chimney combination was much faster than just piling charcoal in a mound and soaking it in lighter fluid—even if it did lack that fun “whoomph” effect when a match is dropped on coal drenched in lighter fluid.
Using the wand was simple, especially when paired with the separate chimney. The two fit together perfectly. However, the wand’s on/off switch must be held in the “on” position the entire time it’s used. Due to safety regulations, there is no “on” locking mechanism. As soon as the switch is released, the wand shuts off. This makes perfect sense when pointing it at a pile of charcoal. But when combined with the Barbienado chimney, this “safety” decision becomes over-reaching. No one wants to stand there holding the wand switch while the wand and chimney work together. So, my solution to this “safety” feature was to tape the switch in the on position and just unplug it when I was done using it. It’s a bit kludgy, but it worked great! Barbienado states they hope to remedy this non-feature with future wands equipped with a locking switch.
When starting the process, just fill the chimney with charcoal (and wood chunks if desired) and set the filled chimney inside a grill. Insert the wand, plug it in (to turn on) and watch the magic. Almost immediately, wisps of smoke begin to drift up the chimney through the charcoal. Within five minutes, the bottom of the chimney begins to glow red from the intense heat. It got so hot and bright, I thought the chimney might melt—but the instructions say that’s normal. Just don’t touch it! It became mesmerizing watching the chimney glow with fire shooting out the vent holes drilled into the sides.
Within 15-20 minutes, the charcoal was ready to cook. We (my son and I) unplugged the wand and set it down in a safe place—it will remain dangerously hot for a few minutes. We dumped the charcoal into the grill and then set the chimney down in a safe place because it too remained hot for minutes afterward.
Once the food is ready to cook, the Barbienado Boost Charcoal Accelerator Chimney and Barbienado Wand have done their job. And done it well. By the way, the pork steaks tasted great, without a hint of any lighter fluid or paper ink taste or odors coming from the charcoal.
What I like
- Easy to set up and use
- Works as advertised
- Makes charcoal prep consistent every time
- Affordable—less than $100 for both the chimney and wand
What I’d change
- Both the wand and chimney can remain dangerously hot for many minutes after use
- The on/off button has no locking function
The Barbienado Boost Charcoal Accelerator Chimney and Barbienado Wand have made cooking on our deck much easier and fun—especially watching how the fire and heat make the chimney a beautiful orange-red. If you want to return to the best method of grilling—but have consistent results—give both the Barbienado Boost Charcoal Accelerator Chimney and Barbienado Wand a try.