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Jan 22, 2008 12:45 PM

Charcoal BBQ equipment

I just ordered a char-griller bbq because i get too frustrated using my fancy weber OVEN.

Now I need to find a starter chimney and a source for charcoal/hardwood (try different things).

Does anyone have a suggestion either online in canada or in toronto area (west?)

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  1. For the chimney, you should be able to get it at any place that sells barbecues. Now, for getting wood-try they will most likely have what you need to start you off. both the use of lump charcoal and the use of woods(for heat, and flavour) are personal preference.I hope this helps

    Also, this is a long shot, but you could get onto and ask for some ideas. There is a lot of knowledge there. Sorry if this is a plug, but I am not affiliated with them in any way, just enthused by the fact that there are people in Canada doing BBQ the way it is meant to be..."low and slow"


    2 Replies
      1. re: tlaneyyz

        I purchased my original Weber chimney starter @ the Home Hardware at Bayview & Eglington, they also stock replacement parts and accessories for all the Weber BBQ's. They are also a Weber dealer. Also saw some at Walmart Super Centre and Canadian Tire.

      2. I got my chimney starter at Canadian Tire.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Wahooty

          Its a wrangler unit from home depot $150 with cast iron, optional side box and adjustable grill height. I don't smoke and don't really subscribe to the expensive bbq thing

          1. re: marcharry

            I use a similar unit, different make, and am very happy with results.

            Have you considered an electric starter instead of the chimney? I've used the same one for over 20 years - simple, safe and effective.

            You can use any hardwood, so you don't even have to be concerned about dryness as with a fireplace. So you don't need a commercial or retail source for wood. I save prunings and "found" wood - maple, crab apple, apple, pear, oak whatever. In fact, humid wood gives off best smoke.

            You say you don't smoke, but the sidebox should give you terrific results using a combination of charcoal and hardwood sawdust or chips - much, much better than a kettle smoker.

            I also trim maple suckers and twigs from shade trees encroaching on the roof or eaves into inch lengths and toss onto the hot charcoals during cooking. Amazing results.

            If you haven't done so, I strongly urge you to get the rotisserie as well if one is available.

            You should be able to get extremely high temps from your coals - far greater than with conventional units. You will have excellent heat control by venting, banking the coals, and placement on the grill when using the sidebox.

            Marcharry, your summer just became very interesting. Cheers.

        2. Have you tried Sobies in Willowdale?

          What type of unit have you ordered?

          4 Replies
          1. re: DockPotato

            The last time I was at Sobie's, say late summer 2007, it appeared as though they had gone through a change of ownership. Normally I recognize the staff. This time not a single face. The wood chips I purchase there (you try foraging for wood in downtown TO) which have always been the perfect size and quality for the smoker box were rough cut and awkwardly chunky. Even the appearance of the wood suggested it was of poor quality.

            I have always thought Sobies had high standards in terms of what they were willing to sell. Any ideas what's going on?

            1. re: Googs

              You may be right. I was last in Toronto in September of last year and one of my stops was Sobie's to buy a cover for my char griller which I had purchased there some years ago. They didn't have one and my griller was no longer offered. There was only one staff and I didn't recognize him, but the manager seemed familiar. I did remark to myself about a different feel however.

              As to wood, I remember Sobie's and any other retailer as being silly expensive. I don't know what your situation is Googs, but if you're grilling, you must have a yard and hopefully some shade trees. At this time of year I'd be out in the backyard pruning my maples, crabs and fruit trees. They'd be nicely dried come good weather. Neighbours also made donations from their prunings and wind damage. Collecting and dealing with the wood was and is a big part of my fun.

              1. re: DockPotato

                Good to know it isn't just me.

                I bbq on the rooftop deck of my condo. If I had trees I would indeed gather as I do at the family farm. Collecting the fallen from downtown parks just wouldn't work. Too much traffic dropping all manner of waste and I'm sure there's some kinda by-law. Thank you for your suggestion though. Expensive... yes. Worth it... you betcha.

              2. re: Googs

                There was a change in both ownership and focus. Sobies was originally an appliance repair business that found a niche with high end BBQs. However, they continued to carry a large stock of applicance parts, as well as parts for virtually every BBQ around.

                Under the previous owners, Sobies was a low pressure, high expertise (albeit often expensive) shopping experience. Under the current owners, it is the opposite: high sales pressure and largely uninformed (at times ignorant) information. Prices are still very high.

                As to the wood, it remains a good resource for those of us downtowners who lack sources of interesting, free wood. Most hardware stores and some supermarkets now sell hickory and mesquite. Sobies has a much better selection and is often a bit cheaper. They usually have at least three variants of most woods (chunks, chips, sawdust).

            2. The Home Hardware on Roncesvalles carries charcoal throughout the winter

              1. Ontario Gas BBQ will have pretty much everything you'd ever want BBQ wise.


                Check out their site for their hours of operation, in the winter I think they're pretty much only open week days, and fairly limited hours then.

                Sobies is good too and they're more centrally located.