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BBQ Chimney Starters

I looked in about four hardware stores over the weekend and couldn't find a chimney starter anywhere. Does anyone know where I can find one, preferaby downtownish? Thanks in advance.

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  1. FWIW my friend used to partake in charcoal-lighting contests in college and the fastest way to get your charcoals burning is a small vial of liquid oxygen.

    Failing that, you just need to move more oxygen to the charcoal. The way the chimney works (as i understand it) is it creates air movement as heat escapes through the top of the chimney and more oxygen is then drawn through the bottom; unfortunately hot air only rises at a certain speed, and you can do better if you have some way to provide more oxygen to the charcoal instead of the chimney.

    He recommended some sort of fanning (I guess to functions like a bellows) to provide oxygen faster than a chimney will.


    3 Replies
    1. re: gegtik

      Forgot to answer the question at hand:

      if you can bum a ride up to vaughn mills area, these guys are supposed to carry them: http://www.bbqs.com/

      1. re: gegtik

        Thanks for the response...I'm having a hard time finding a chimney starter so I'm not sure how easily I can track down liquid oxygen though.

        1. re: gegtik

          A hair dryer would probably work...

        2. Try the Home Hardware on Roncesvalles - they have a decent BBQ section. I picked up my Weber chimney there, and they had a lower priced version too (you may still want to call before heading over).

          1 Reply
          1. re: dxs

            I actually did try there since it's around the corner and no luck. The Canadian Tire at the Eaton Centre was a no go too.

          2. Ontario BBQ (the place gegtik posted) should definitely have them. Sobies will also probably have them, they're at Willowdale and Sheppard.

            IMO, it's worth it to get the Weber version. I bought a cheap one the first time, and the handle was sketchy, to say the least. The Weber also has a second handle that makes dumping the coals easier.

            I'd call Sobie's to see if they have the Weber, if I recall correctly, I bought the cheapie one there...

            1. Lowes is the place to go. They carry the Weber chimney starter for $20. It has a larger capacity than most others. I'd call to make sure they have stock before you go though.

              2 Replies
              1. re: LUV_TO_EAT

                The Weber one at Lowes is $10 cheaper than anywhere else. Of course, you can buy something other than a Weber, but why? Go with the best. I've use mine the last two nights and it works great.

                1. re: LUV_TO_EAT

                  I'm with ya on the Weber. I had a cheaper version before and it's kinda fallen apart. It's also about half the capacity too.

                  What I do with my chimney is two pieces of newspaper sprayed with cooking oil (Pam). Load them on the bottom and in the top I put lump first with briquettes on top of that. It's going strong in about 15 minutes.


                2. I got my Weber starter from CLASSIC FIREPLACE & GOURMET GRILLS INC on Rylander in the east end near Port Union. However you can purchase no name brands from Canadian Tire, but as others have said the Weber is the cream of the crop. It starts the charcoal WITHOUT fail every time and on 1-2 sheets of newspaper. I wouldn't go any more than 2 sheets as you can over heat the thing and kinda melt the handle a tad bit. Yes I was new at it and thought more paper meant better starts... I still have a very functional handle, just sort of bubbled and blackened in some spots. Try the Lowes. Charcoal just makes bbq taste like summer.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: scarberian

                    More paper means less air flow.


                  2. I bought mine at RONA (Eglinton and Warden – actually just south at Comstock and Warden) . It is the Weber model.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Atahualpa

                      Thanks. Sounds like Weber is the way to go.

                    2. Hi, think the problem is your demographic...get outside of 416 and you should have no trouble finding...got mine at walmart for fifteen bucks i think and it works fine...

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: ebay3392

                        It appears so. But no car and I'm a Parkdale guy. Maybe I'll see if my dad can pick one up for me since he's a 905'er.

                        1. re: jamesm

                          Could you not take the Queen car out to Islington area? There are a bunch of big box stores there including a big Canadian Tire.

                          Too bad they don't have any left at the Home Hardware in Roncy. I got my Weber Chimney there and it works fabulously.

                          1. re: ikapai

                            there's quite a few small home hardware locations scattered around town.

                            then there's the canadian tire over by dundas square... i figure a canadian tire should at least be able to get a product in from another store around the city.

                            1. re: pinstripeprincess

                              Canadian Tires are independently owned and generally won't transfer items from store to store. They will call other stores and let you know if they have the item in stock though. It can actually be a rather large pain in the arse, as I have known CTs to refuse returns of items that weren't purchased at that exact location.

                              1. re: elrik

                                i did pause for a moment to consider if they were independently owned but didn't check up on that. ah well!

                              2. re: pinstripeprincess

                                I did try the Canadian Tire at the eaton Centre and have been in there a couple of times recently. How bad the customer service is kind of a running joke with my girlfriend and I. The standard response to any question is "Sorry, we don't carry that." Just out of curiosity I asked a guy -- who was literally leaning on a rack of them -- if they had battery trickle chargers. He said no. Same thing happened with the chimney starter.

                                Thanks for the responses though. I'll call some Home Hardwares and see. If not a dreaded big box trip may be in order.

                                1. re: jamesm

                                  i can't rely on anyone at most of these stores unless they're standing right in front of a computer. i've asked for a cable and was in the right section and they ran off looking for someone to help me... 15 minutes later i found it and no person in sight.... if you at least know they should have said item then at least you have some kind of chance in finding it in the store.

                                  1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                    There's a young girl at the CT at Jones and Lakeshore who was very knowledgeable for me. I asked for 3 things one day and she took my by the hand and led me right to the items. Very helpful.


                        2. I got a Weber one at the Home Hardware at Yonge & St Clair -- it was the last one in stock (about 2 months ago) .. they also had a cheaper version, but assured me it was crappier.

                          I'd give them a call - it's near the subway, and hence easy to get to!

                          The other options I found were all far away - if they can't help, I'd try other HHs in upscale neighbourhoods.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: mikefly

                            I think the HH on Bayview south of Eglinton would be a good bet.

                            I'd just start calling them and seeing if they have them in stock. Start with the most convinient and work back.


                            1. re: Davwud

                              Bayview and Eglinton is my 'hood...just to be clear...there is a HH at Bayview and Eglinton (Sunnybrook Plaza) but the hardware on Bayview south of Eglinton is not a HH...it's a True Value. Both do carry a lot of BBQ's and accessories...the True Value probably has more...

                              1. re: tochowchick

                                The Sunnybrook Plaza Home Hardware (Bayview/Eg) will hold things if you phone first. They will also accept phone orders from the HH catalog if something isn't in stock. Parking at the door.

                                The True Value store on Bayview has been extremely expensive in my experience.

                                Both stores have decent BBQ depts, as does Dickson Hardware on N. Avenue Rd across from Bruno's.

                                There used to be a good HH on Bayview near Millwood, but they now just sell paint.

                            2. Not exactly downtownish, but if anyone's still looking, after striking out at Pollock's on Roncesvalles and the Rona, Home Depot and Canadian Tire at the Stockyards Centre, I found one, much to my surprise, at Home Outfitters at Yorkdale. Not a Weber, but 30% off, so it was only $14.