Monday, May 15, 2017

Review: CampMaid's Charcoal Chimney

I love cooking, and I love fire. cooking outdoors is always so satisfying, especially when done over fire. BBQ's a re primal, an whilst LPG or propane is fast and convenient, its not quite the same. However. getting a fire going takes time and effort and can be fiddly and messy, not to mention frustrating if you're running to a schedule.

I came across a tool to assist In the starting of briquette bbq's on Kickstarter, and thought it would be a good investment. Camp Maid make a variety of camp-fire cooking tools, mostly focusing on cast-iron Dutch oven type cooking tools, but their Kickstarter project for a collapsible charcoal chimney caught my eye.

CampMaid's Charcoal Chimney is a unique twist on the traditional concept to quickly heat charcoal for outdoor cooking! The twist being that the sides of the chimney are hinged so it folds flat for storage and packing. Designed to fit inside the lid of a 12" Dutch oven to keep all your sooty-gear together!

The principle is pretty simple. Up to 45 briquettes at a time are loaded into the top of the chimney, onto the fold-down grill that creates an air-space under the coals for you r kindling or solid-fire-starter cubes. I typically use the fire-Cone starter and kerosene from the big old tank on our property (a hold over from the redundant oil-heating system the house was built with. Once lit, the Quickly heats charcoal in about 7-10 minutes and you're ready to grill.

A handle on the side assists with placement and emptying once its hot and ready to go. The handle is supposed to be heat-safe. However, id recommend wearing gloves. and take care. my handle melted and caught on fire! Once the plastic sloughed off and burned away, it was fine but be aware.

Both the body of the chimney and the handle fold flat for easy of storage, though I found once fired, it took some manipulation to get it fully flat. The inner grill needs to be folded up but the inside of the chimney has space for it.

Also it can be used as a hobo stove. with the internal grill down, pretty much any solid combustible fuel can be placed in its burn chamber, and the rigid sides act as a base for a pan or pot, or even to hold the skewers for your rat-on-a-stick. For camping, tailgating, scouting, backyard, beach, survival the CampMaid Charcoal Chimney makes for a simple, dependable, portable fire pit you can leave in the trunk of the car.

So, it's a simple enough piece of kit, is small enough to slip down the back of a backpack (when cool, and maybe even rinsed off). It not only gives you a contained fire-pit, and a chimney for rapid charcoal lighting.

The fact that the handle melted and caught on fire was a bit distressing, but it's loss has been inconsequential to its ongoing use. One thing to note is hat they do rust, especially after firing. This has made the hinges a bit stiff, but a dose of WD40 should fix that. I've thought of painting the whole thin with a fire-tolerant paint but its probably unnecessary. I might cut some notches into the upper lip to give my skewers some purchase but again, not essential by any means.

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