The BBQ Dragon coupled with the Chimney of Insanity is the hottest new way to light your charcoal. Literally.
It consists of two products, both sold separately.
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The BBQ Dragon Fan
First, the BBQ Dragon is an electric fire-starting tool that eliminates the need for using lighter fluid. This electric bellows has a variable speed fan that blows cool air to help ignite your charcoal faster. The BBQ Dragon fan has a gooseneck to help with positioning, as well as a spring-loaded clamp that can attach the fan to grills, smokers, fire pits, or tables. The fan operates on 4 AA batteries making this cordless fire starter a great portable solution no matter where you may be grilling or cooking.
BBQ Dragon Fan
8 x 3 x 15 inches
4 AA batteries
The Chimney of Insanity
While the BBQ Dragon fan can do wonders all by itself, it really shines when paired with the BBQ Dragon Chimney of Insanity. It looks like your typical charcoal chimney until you notice the 90 degree elbow coming out of the side of the chimney. This allows for increased airflow, which creates a turbo effect, lighting charcoal much faster than its predecessors. When the BBQ Dragon fan is used to blow air into the elbow of the chimney, this becomes a tool that starts charcoal in mere minutes.
BBQ Dragon Chimney of Insanity
11 x 6 x 11.5 inches
thick gauge galvanized steel
How do you use the BBQ Dragon?
Step 1: Fill the Chimney of Insanity with charcoal. You can use briquettes or lump charcoal.
Step 2: Place some type of firestarter or tightly wadded up newspaper all the way inside the elbow at the base of the charcoal and light it. (We always use newspaper).
Step 3: Clip the cordless BBQ Dragon fan onto a stable surface and bend the neck so that the fan can be directed into the port of the chimney.
Step 4: Turn the dial on the fan to begin blowing cool air onto the firestarter.
Step 5: Wait a few minutes and watch as your charcoal begins to burn.
Within about 5 minutes, the chimney should be ready to transfer hot coals into your grill or smoker to produce some great barbecue.
Where can I use the BBQ Dragon fan?
Basically, the BBQ Dragon can be used anywhere you'd like to stoke a fire without having to manually blow air with your mouth.
What We Loved about the BBQ Dragon
We've tested other fire starting tools that have required us to hold a button down for up to five or more minutes, which is a minor inconvenience, but we like that the barbecue dragon fan does not require that. And the clamp keeps it nice and secure in place.
Fast and Clean
The BBQ Dragon is a fire starting tool that starts charcoal faster than a chimney on its own. We don't really like using lighter fluid around here, so when we find clean ways to get charcoal burning fast without it, we count that as a win.
I love that the BBQ Dragon fan is cordless and portable. There are so many great applications this product can be used, and the fact that it doesn't have to be plugged in is a major benefit. I'm not personally a camper, but I think I would probably want to take this camping with me if I were. I know it's a huge help getting our firepit at home up and burning, so I would imagine it would be a great asset at a campsite as well.
Keep in mind, I'm only speaking of the BBQ Dragon fan here. I am not encouraging the use of the chimney indoors. But those of you with fireplaces and wood stoves inside, this is a great tool to blow cool air on your fire to get it burning hotter and bigger.
Opportunities for Improvement
Losing charcoal out of the bottom
Lump charcoal can really vary in size, but we had some struggle with losing a fair amount of burning coals out of the bottom of the Chimney of Insanity. I would love to see them modify the bottom some to prevent so much charcoal loss.
Smaller capacity for charcoal
The Chimney of Insanity does hold less charcoal than a typical chimney like the Weber. They had to create space for the 90 degree elbow, so this is certainly understandable. However, if I'm trying to light up my Lonestar offset smoker, it's going to take me 2 or 3 flights of charcoal using this method. (But this method is faster, so maybe it's still advantageous.)
Sell them as a set
It's quite surprising actually that these two products do not come as a set because they are intended to be used together. I think it might be misleading for some that they're sold separately and I would imagine there have probably been some disappointed consumers who may have thought they were buying them both.
Store it indoors
We've always stored our BBQ Dragon products in the garage, so we haven't had this issue, but I've seen a lot of online reviewers mention rust as an issue. Finding a place to store this away from the elements would prevent that from happening.
Do I need BOTH the BBQ Dragon fan AND the Chimney of Insanity?
The BBQ Dragon fan can be used on its own in many different applications and it's a super helpful tool. The Chimney of Insanity could be used on its own without the fan, however it would just be a typical charcoal chimney that cost a bit more. So really, the chimney of insanity is only special if you also use the BBQ dragon fan. Use them both together, and you've got a really great fire starting tool set.
Here at the Barbecue Lab, we really do like these products, especially when used together. The Chimney of Insanity works great when used with the fan. Without the fan, the chimney doesn't reach its full potential. The BBQ Dragon fan works well in many ways on its own, but it's missing out on reaching its full potential if not paired with the Chimney of Insanity. They really are a team. Even though they're sold separately. If you purchase one, we recommend you purchase them both. And we really do recommend you purchase both of these products because they'll save you a lot of time the next time you barbecue with charcoal.