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Hibachi style grilling advice needed

free sample addict aka Tracy L Mar 30, 2009 12:35 PM

Not sure if this is the right board, but I assume it will be moved to the correct board if need be. I live in a condo complex that restricts grilling outdoors to designated barbeque areas. The "barbeques" are basic hibachi style grills that you find in parks. They will not allow us to BYO Weber or other barbeque devices. First question I have is what should I use to light the charcoals? i used to use a chimney, but they are also prohibited by the assn. There is no electrical source so I can't use an electric starter. I don't want to use charcoal lighter fluid either or coals pretreated w/lighter fluid. Second, are there any recommendations on the grill plates as the ones provided are very dirty? I have an old camp style grill that folds up but am thinking of buying one that will fit the barbeque. Should I buy cast iron or are other products that are durable yet easy to clean. Lastly, are there any grilling tips that will make grilling more efficient? I primarily want to grill chicken, the occasional steak and veggies. I mastered my big Weber kettle with several heat zones but now I am at a loss. It's a little bit of a schlep from my condo to the barbeque area so if I am going to invest my time I want to do it right. Thanks for reading all of my questions.

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    chokeartichoke RE: free sample addict aka Tracy L Mar 30, 2009 04:45 PM

    Without a chimney I've filled a cardboard six-pack container with newspaper and charcoal (the "Cowboy" stuff w/out starter, etc) and that worked.

    And Lodge makes a cast-iron grill plate that looks good. You could just put that on the existent grill... Cast iron is great for grilling, I've had great luck.

    1. monku RE: free sample addict aka Tracy L Mar 30, 2009 05:54 PM

      For camping I picked up a grill screen about 2'x3' for when I use one of those pits. I just throw it on top of those bbq pits you're talking about. Its made of 1/8" steel and has a diamond grid pattern and it came in a 1/2" thin flat box so when I'm done I just wipe it down and slide it back in the box and so thin it stores easily anywhere. Got it at a camping store. If I find a picture I'll try and attach it or a link.

      As far as starting you might look into those fire starter kind of sticks that you light with a match.

      1. monku RE: free sample addict aka Tracy L Mar 30, 2009 06:21 PM

        Found it. (see the picture)
        It's called "expanded steel".
        They take a sheet of steel, cut slits into it and stretch it to make the diamond pattern, then roll it flat.

        Again, the one I bought at a camping store was made for bbq'ing. You just throw it onto the top of those grundgy public grills and only your personal bbq grundge touches your food.
        Or maybe you can find a metal shop that can cut you a piece that will fit those grills.

        Or get yourself something like this: Not sure what size it is.
        http://www.rei.com/product/670616

        Fire starters
        http://www.rei.com/product/619851

         
        1 Reply
        1. re: monku
          free sample addict aka Tracy L RE: monku Mar 30, 2009 08:01 PM

          Thank you for the links and picture.

        2. paulj RE: free sample addict aka Tracy L Mar 30, 2009 11:10 PM

          Webber sells waxy starter cubes that work pretty well. All you have to do is figure out a way of stacking some charcoal on a grate above a burning cube.

          I have also used gelled alcohol as a lighter fluid.

          2 Replies
          1. re: paulj
            Joe Blowe RE: paulj Mar 31, 2009 10:34 AM

            Dryer lint and Vaseline works also. Just sayin'...

            1. re: Joe Blowe
              free sample addict aka Tracy L RE: Joe Blowe Mar 31, 2009 12:11 PM

              Ha! That's efficient. The laundry room is in close proximity to the barbeque/pool area, so there's a steady supply of lint. I sort of had this plan of cooking my dinner, doing my laundry and going for a dip in the pool. I love it when a plan comes together.

          2. MikeB3542 RE: free sample addict aka Tracy L Mar 31, 2009 02:46 PM

            Also you could try an egg carton -- put briquettes where the eggs were and light it up. So dousing the whole schmear with petro distillates is safer than a chimney starter? Perhaps someone with the association works for the lighter fluid people.

            The grates probably aren't as bad as they look -- we bring a wire brush and that's gets thing pretty reasonable. We also bring along a small shovel to remove old food remnants, trash, and animal "debris" before loading with charcoal. There are any number of "backpacker grates" out there.

            If you improvise with expanded metal grate (or any other hardware store alternatives), make sure that the metal is not galvanized (plated with zinc), or coated with paint or epoxy.

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