Posts Tagged ‘barbeque’


Using old cooking oil on New Year’s Day

January 1, 2011

Yeah, I know. I don’t care. I have a life too, you know?

Broke out the barbeque for the first time this summer, on New Years’s Day. It’s a charcoal grill, so that means a certain amount of boy scout ingenuity is required to get a good fire.

I’ve never liked firelighters or lighter fluid for this purpose. They smell funny, and although I suppose all the petrochemicals have burned off by the time you put the meat on, I find the taint of plastic off-putting and inappropriate.

Hitherto I have used crumpled newspaper and kindling to lay a conical fire in the approved manner. This can be a bit slow and I find it a little nerve-wracking. Today I had a brainwave. I have egg cartons, and I have old cooking oil. (Of course I have a jar of old oil from frying chicken in the fridge. Who doesn’t?) What would happen if I put a half centimetre of crummy rancid friend chicken oil in each egg cell, built a charcoal pyramid atop it, and lit the carton?

What happens is that you have a damned good fire. That’s what happens. How virtuous. Better than recycling it this way.

Oh yeah, don’t put fat down the drain either.


A bit of frugal bodging

February 8, 2009

So I barbequed a chicken (bought on special, naturally) yesterday. For some time, I’ve been thinking I should make a charcoal lighter.

A charcoal lighter is a metal cylinder with a grate and draught holes at the bottom and a handle. You pack it with charcoal (or briquettes), and light some crumpled paper underneath. The whole lot soon goes, and when the charcoal has a light ash covering you tip it into the barbeque. This has several advantages over building a fire directly in the barbeque grate:

  • no lighter fluid required
  • you can add more fuel for something long and slow-cooking without smoky flames from fresh fuel tainting the food
  • all the fuel ignites pretty evenly, leading to hotter/more even/less wasteful fire (boyscout method fires always have unburnt fuel on the outside when the middle is ready)

You can actually buy these things, and they go for $40 or $50.

Or you can do what I did, and take an old tin, and a coat hanger, and make one yourself.

I didn’t actually follow the instructions here, which I googled up after the event, but they’re pretty much what I did.

I think it took about 20 minutes all up, about half of which was hunting for my Leatherman. The result is not pretty, but it does the job just fine. I don’t think I could drive out to the hardware shop and buy one that quickly, never mind make one.

Add your own moral tale below.