Board index Barbecue Board General Discussion Fun with Lighter Fluid

Fun with Lighter Fluid

This is the place to ask your BBQ questions, share information, and more.
Post Sun Jun 09, 2013 5:06 pm
CharredGriller User avatar
BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 5900
Location: Central Alberta, Canada
Beercuer asked me in a recent thread if I was ever nostalgic for the taste of lighter fluid:
http://www.barbecuebible.com/board/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=24433

Normally I'd just say "no" and leave it at that. But today in particular I've got a bit more than that to say about it. (Yeesh, beercuer - you just had to ask....) :D

[Begin rant]

Actually, I never have the need to get nostalgic about lighter fluid because I can't seem to get away from the stuff.

You're heard Steven talk of "caveman" grilling? Well, some of my family and a few former friends still subscribe to the "Neanderthal knuckle-dragger" school of cooking - also known as the "ignorant redneck" school, of cooking.

What this means is they don't listen to reason and haven't switched from lighter fluid to a chimney in 40 years. (And they only use lighter fluid when they don't use gasoline to light the coals. ) I brought out a couple of chimneys once to show them how to light charcoal properly, and I got looks from them like I'd just landed from Mars or something. :evil:

Oh - and by the way, don't worry about these relatives of mine getting offended by the "ignorant redneck" comment, either as these folks honestly think it's a compliment. No kidding - one of them (my cousin) actually has a "dumb redneck" bumper sticker which he thinks is as cool as his truck nuts and 8-inch oversized exhaust flange. :twisted:

I had burgers and steaks over at that particular cousin's place yesterday. He called them "char-broiled" - which is his term for "black as coal, hard as a hockey puck, and perfumed with diesel fuel". When he lit his grill with unleaded gas I asked him about using lighter fluid and he said "That stuff's the same as gasoline anyway. They just call it lighter fluid so the evil, greedy gas corporations can make more money off you".

This is the same guy who once pooh-poohed chimney starters because they took too long - hence the use of gasoline. This is also the same guy who still pooh-poohed chimney starters after I lit one using his propane weed torch and had the charcoal almost fully lit in 3 minutes. :shock:

(Like I said, not just a "dumb redneck", but a downright ignorant one. But that's too long to put on his bumper sticker.)

One more thing - the "ignorant redneck" school of cooking also thinks it's cool to pour cold beer right over the food and onto the live coals as a "marinade". Of course, this means that the charcoal ash gets stirred up and sticks to the pre-sauced meat, making it taste like it was garnished with sand. Idiotic. :evil:

Suffice it to say, I took about two bites and I was done. I had to stop off at a local truck stop for a decent burger on the way home. And I'm still picking charcoal ash out of my teeth this morning.

Funny, but most of my family doesn't go to these relatives' places for cookouts anymore. My folks and I were the holdouts but that's done. :D

[End rant]

So, no, I never get nostalgic for lighter fluid. :D

Anyone else have those family members who "just don't get it"?
Unlike propane, you'll never wake up scorched and naked in another county because you mishandled a bag of briquettes.

Post Sun Jun 09, 2013 5:30 pm

Posts: 46
Omg! I could hardly read this for laughing out loud, In fact I am practically crying with it.

Thanks. I needed that :D :D :D :D :) :) :D :D :D

Ang

Post Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:05 am
ScreamingChicken BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 7572
Location: Stoughton, WI
CG, that story's so sad it's funny!

Of course, people like that aren't limited to grilling. Their way of doing whatever it is they're doing is always the "best" way even when it's not, just so they don't have to admit that sometimes somebody else has a better idea.

And so often the people that could use a little assistance and direction the most are the least likely to accept it...

Post Tue Jun 11, 2013 3:37 pm
CharredGriller User avatar
BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 5900
Location: Central Alberta, Canada
ScreamingChicken wrote:
CG, that story's so sad it's funny!

Of course, people like that aren't limited to grilling. Their way of doing whatever it is they're doing is always the "best" way even when it's not, just so they don't have to admit that sometimes somebody else has a better idea.

And so often the people that could use a little assistance and direction the most are the least likely to accept it...


True enough. These folks remind me of a customer in a bar where I worked who insisted that no good music has ever been produced since 1974, period. And he dressed the part too- bell-bottoms, an ascot, and those weird printed polyester shirts and leisure suits.

Oh - and it's 72 hours after the cookout and I am still finding the odd "gritty bit" in my teeth. :D
Unlike propane, you'll never wake up scorched and naked in another county because you mishandled a bag of briquettes.

Post Wed Jun 12, 2013 8:20 am
ScreamingChicken BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 7572
Location: Stoughton, WI
On the plus side, think of all the plaque that burger removed! :lol:

Post Thu Jun 13, 2013 8:52 pm
Andy medium
medium

Posts: 196
Location: Dane County, WI
Too funny! The lighter fluid thing reminded my of a time many, many years ago when my wife & I received some very nice Omaha steaks as a present. I had a little Smoky Joe grill which I overloaded with charcoal, then poured half a can of lighter fluid onto it. The steaks glowed as they were practically incinerated by the inferno. Well, sure enough, they looked done to me after about two minutes (black), so in front of my doubting and slightly perturbed wife, I had a bite. I smiled, and told her our Omaha steaks were excellent, while in fact, they were raw in the middle & infused with the taste of a refinery. I was in the doghouse for a bit after that stunt. :P
Andy

Weber Genesis 1000
Weber 22.5" One-Touch Silver
Weber 18.5" One-Touch Silver
Weber 14.5" Smoky Joe

Post Fri Jun 14, 2013 10:03 am
ScreamingChicken BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 7572
Location: Stoughton, WI
Andy wrote:
I had a little Smoky Joe grill which I overloaded with charcoal, then poured half a can of lighter fluid onto it.
I see endless occurrences of this in the Miller Park parking lots. It's especially bad when the wind's blowing the wrong way, because then I get to smell and sometimes even taste the lighter fluid, too! :evil:

Post Sun Jun 23, 2013 8:33 pm

Posts: 19
Location: Douglasville, GA
Wouldn't be so funny if it weren't true. I'd swear I know them and have been frustrated cooking with them recently. :bbq:
Have Smoke Will Cook

Char Griller Duo+SFB
Masterbuilt Electric Smokehouse
Weber Kettle

Post Mon Jun 24, 2013 10:38 am
ScreamingChicken BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 7572
Location: Stoughton, WI
Before I switched to a chimney I was still using fluid, but with a modified approach. I would squirt it on 1 or 2 briquettes and then pile the rest around them; in essence I was creating a starter cube and it did work OK. If I was in a situation where fluid was the only option that's the way I'd do it.

Post Mon Jun 24, 2013 12:07 pm
CharredGriller User avatar
BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 5900
Location: Central Alberta, Canada
ScreamingChicken wrote:
Before I switched to a chimney I was still using fluid, but with a modified approach. I would squirt it on 1 or 2 briquettes and then pile the rest around them; in essence I was creating a starter cube and it did work OK. If I was in a situation where fluid was the only option that's the way I'd do it.


Not so for these relatives of mine. Their best approach is to build a big pyramid, soak it with 1/3 to 1/2 a bottle of lighter fluid, light a ball of cotton or paper on fire, stand back, and toss it at the pyramid. They usually get the pyre lit after about 4 to 6 tosses.

Their second best approach is to build a big pyramid, soak it with a cup or two of gasoline, light a ball of cotton or paper on fire, stand even further back, and toss it at the pyramid. This often results in a big "whoof" sound or a bang, a small mushroom cloud of smoke, and a few scattered flaming briquettes being shot around the deck and yard.

They've managed to set their lawn and deck on fire a few times, so this has prompted their youngest kid to appoint himself as the family fire warden. Apparently he's the smartest of the bunch and he has somehow acquired a fire extinguisher, so he stands guard when the others are lighting the grill. I think I'll get him a chimney starter for his birthday. :twisted:
Unlike propane, you'll never wake up scorched and naked in another county because you mishandled a bag of briquettes.

Post Tue Jun 25, 2013 4:42 am
beercuer User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 2288
Location: Southern Californy
CharredGriller wrote:
...You're heard Steven talk of "caveman" grilling? Well, some of my family and a few former friends still subscribe to the "Neanderthal knuckle-dragger" school of cooking - also known as the "ignorant redneck" school, of cooking.

What this means is they don't listen to reason and haven't switched from lighter fluid to a chimney in 40 years. (And they only use lighter fluid when they don't use gasoline to light the coals. ) I brought out a couple of chimneys once to show them how to light charcoal properly, and I got looks from them like I'd just landed from Mars or something. :evil:

Oh - and by the way, don't worry about these relatives of mine getting offended by the "ignorant redneck" comment, either as these folks honestly think it's a compliment. No kidding - one of them (my cousin) actually has a "dumb redneck" bumper sticker which he thinks is as cool as his truck nuts and 8-inch oversized exhaust flange. :twisted:

I had burgers and steaks over at that particular cousin's place yesterday. He called them "char-broiled" - which is his term for "black as coal, hard as a hockey puck, and perfumed with diesel fuel". When he lit his grill with unleaded gas I asked him about using lighter fluid and he said "That stuff's the same as gasoline anyway. They just call it lighter fluid so the evil, greedy gas corporations can make more money off you".

This is the same guy who once pooh-poohed chimney starters because they took too long - hence the use of gasoline. This is also the same guy who still pooh-poohed chimney starters after I lit one using his propane weed torch and had the charcoal almost fully lit in 3 minutes. :shock:

(Like I said, not just a "dumb redneck", but a downright ignorant one. But that's too long to put on his bumper sticker.)

,,,


"Neanderthal knuckle-dragger" ... "ignorant redneck"? Being descended of "redneck" (Alabama) and Cherokee, perhaps I can bring some light to this unfortunate situation. Otherwise I had so wanted to leave this one alone.

First, if rednecks use this term with a sense of pride, it is used within the circle to express such identity, solidarity, and pride within the group. If someone from outside the circle uses it, it can often come across as intended to be rather derogatory.

And often times, if one resorts to the use of even gasoline (no matter how ill-advised that might be), that does not come from ignorance so much as improvisation and resourcefulness. When you are dirt poor, and you want to barbecue, and you can't justify 10-15 dollars for a chimney but have gasoline on hand... see what I'm saying? It's economics based, not idiocy or stupidity. Moreover, the use of charcoal starter fluid is also rooted in a long tradition. Some folks just happen to enjoy keeping traditions.

If someone wants to "taste the meat and not the heat," as Hank Hill would say, then perhaps one ought to consider grilling on a propane or natural gas unit instead. I personally do not find the smell of burning newspaper under a chimney too appealing. No matter how you get that charcoal going, toxins get generated. Myself, I don't taste starter fluid in my cookouts, finding those residues to burn off rather quickly, though I won't refute those who claim they do. What I do experience is the taste differential between various brands of charcoal. I appreciate the all natural hardwood over the processed kind that are laden with chemicals that burn off into one's food while cooking.

So since when is the use of a chimney the only proper way to Q? Proof positive that if one tells a lie often enough people will start to believe it. If anyone wonders, I use the chimney half the time, and starter fluid half the time. I use the chimney just to save some $ on the fluid use. I'm just a traditionalist, and I bet there are others here as well. I think everyone here is capable of determining what is a proper way to cookout, rather than feeling humiliated, dismissed, or excluded, as some ignorant... .

Anyway, the point is I would personally like to think this forum is more embracing than that. For those of you who may have had your spirits dashed about posting here, know that you are not the only one with similar roots and practices.
Got beer???

Post Tue Jun 25, 2013 7:20 pm
CharredGriller User avatar
BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 5900
Location: Central Alberta, Canada
beercuer wrote:
"Neanderthal knuckle-dragger" ... "ignorant redneck"? Being descended of "redneck" (Alabama) and Cherokee, perhaps I can bring some light to this unfortunate situation. Otherwise I had so wanted to leave this one alone.

First, if rednecks use this term with a sense of pride, it is used within the circle to express such identity, solidarity, and pride within the group. If someone from outside the circle uses it, it can often come across as intended to be rather derogatory.

And often times, if one resorts to the use of even gasoline (no matter how ill-advised that might be), that does not come from ignorance so much as improvisation and resourcefulness. When you are dirt poor, and you want to barbecue, and you can't justify 10-15 dollars for a chimney but have gasoline on hand... see what I'm saying? It's economics based, not idiocy or stupidity. Moreover, the use of charcoal starter fluid is also rooted in a long tradition. Some folks just happen to enjoy keeping traditions.

If someone wants to "taste the meat and not the heat," as Hank Hill would say, then perhaps one ought to consider grilling on a propane or natural gas unit instead. I personally do not find the smell of burning newspaper under a chimney too appealing. No matter how you get that charcoal going, toxins get generated. Myself, I don't taste starter fluid in my cookouts, finding those residues to burn off rather quickly, though I won't refute those who claim they do. What I do experience is the taste differential between various brands of charcoal. I appreciate the all natural hardwood over the processed kind that are laden with chemicals that burn off into one's food while cooking.

So since when is the use of a chimney the only proper way to Q? Proof positive that if one tells a lie often enough people will start to believe it. If anyone wonders, I use the chimney half the time, and starter fluid half the time. I use the chimney just to save some $ on the fluid use. I'm just a traditionalist, and I bet there are others here as well. I think everyone here is capable of determining what is a proper way to cookout, rather than feeling humiliated, dismissed, or excluded, as some ignorant... .

Anyway, the point is I would personally like to think this forum is more embracing than that. For those of you who may have had your spirits dashed about posting here, know that you are not the only one with similar roots and practices.


Sorry, beercuer. I wasn't referring to your rednecks. I was referring to my rednecks.

Maybe instead of "redneck" I should have used the term we use up here, which is "rig pig" because this particular cousin of mine and his sons all work in the oil patch. They use the terms "redneck" and "rig pig" interchangeably referring to themselves, but I can't find a "rig pig" bumper sticker for them yet.

Then again, I regularly refer to them as "Darwin Award nominees", and to their faces at that. So let's drop the term "redneck" in favor of "rig pig" or "Darwin Award Nominee" instead.

But I'm definitely hanging on to the phrase "Neanderthal knuckle-dragger".

Why? Because quite frankly, these relatives of mine are occasional lurkers here. They loved it when they read this post, and it totally cracked them up, as will this reply. :D

BC, this post isn't about "resourcefulness" or "traditions" at all. It's just as the title of this post says: "Fun With Lighter Fluid".

These guys are by no means dirt poor. They live on a $650,000+ acreage with enough man toys to open their own ATV and boat store, and they can certainly afford lighter fluid. Plus, they have a big, beautiful built-in natural gas grill - they just don't use it a lot.

Every one of them also knows that using gasoline to start any kind of fire is just a plain bad idea. Gasoline vaporizes at a much lower temperature than lighter fluid and it can be explosive under a wider variety of conditions than lighter fluid. (I've treated enough burns and extinguished enough spot fires to personally back this up.)

But even though these guys know it's a bad idea, they truly raise it to Darwin Award status. They actually like to oversaturate the briquettes with too much fuel and then create a small gas explosion by lighting it from a distance. Why? Because "it makes pretty awesome fireballs". :D

The phrase "don't try this at home" definitely applies here. I speak from personal experience here too, as I once turned a burn barrel into an impromptu giant confetti cannon with nothing but some shredded paper, a cup of gas and a long match. :twisted:

And I did mention the fact that they've set fire to their lawn and deck a few times? Yes, I believe I did, and I still have a few laughs with them about it, too.

As for the bit about "dashing peoples spirits"? Nah - I'm not even gonna touch that one. I'm going to join the above relatives for a beer after work and have a good laugh and maybe grill some more burgers. :twisted:
Unlike propane, you'll never wake up scorched and naked in another county because you mishandled a bag of briquettes.

Post Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:27 pm
Cactus1 well done
well done

Posts: 762
Location: Indian Head Park, IL.
ScreamingChicken wrote:
Andy wrote:
I had a little Smoky Joe grill which I overloaded with charcoal, then poured half a can of lighter fluid onto it.
I see endless occurrences of this in the Miller Park parking lots. It's especially bad when the wind's blowing the wrong way, because then I get to smell and sometimes even taste the lighter fluid, too! :evil:

Does that still go on at Miller Park. Remember the old Brew Crew days of 1980 at County Stadium ... I probably saw 40 games and tailgated 30 of them. Lighter fluid fumes all over the place that lasted until the third or fourth inning.
Lit my grill, using my chimney, a week or so ago and all of a sudden the lighter fluid odor was in the air. Lasted only about a minute. Never did figure out where it came from. Only neighbor that I know of that grills was out of town and I know he uses a chimney. I gave it to him when he first moved in, 4 or 5 years ago, and saw him lighting his charcoal with fluid. Probably some rookie that got a new grill for Father's Day. If I find him/her I will teach him/her.
* IHP Cactus Farm & Sauce Shack *
18 1/2 & 22 1/2" WSM
22 1/2" OTS
26 3/4" OTG

Post Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:31 pm
Cactus1 well done
well done

Posts: 762
Location: Indian Head Park, IL.
CharredGriller - Great post X 2!
* IHP Cactus Farm & Sauce Shack *
18 1/2 & 22 1/2" WSM
22 1/2" OTS
26 3/4" OTG

Post Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:50 am
Attrill well done
well done

Posts: 663
Location: Chicago

I can definitely identify with your situation. I have friends who absolutely refuse to give up lighter fluid, although I have gotten a few to switch to the weed burner method - because if they're into it for pyrotechnics nothing beats the weed burner!

I've actually had to fight pretty hard to get a couple friends of mine to stop throwing their cigarette butts into the smoker or grill :roll:

Next

Return to General Discussion