I have to admit, this review was a little tough for me to do, because I am a Charcoal Chimney kind of griller. I don’t use lighter fluid, and rarely even buy the charcoal with lighter fluid already in it. So, not going to lie, I was a little skeptical going into this review. Smarter Starter Fluid marks their stake in the BBQ/Grilling biz by being more natural. A lot of testing went on to make this formula what it is today, and that is what makes this starter fluid so unique. A couple of things that I looked at during this review were what I hate about starter fluid. The smell you get from opening a bottle of regular starter fluid is enough to get your high sometimes; the chemicals can almost be unbearable. With Smarter Starter Fluid, you get a slight hint of what seems to smell like paint, but only for a moment, and it’s not strong enough to knock you down, and that is a good thing. Lighting charcoal soaked with regular fluid, you know as well as I do, you get this huge flare up and depending how much you squirt out, maybe some singed arm hairs. With the Smarter Starter fluid, there were no huge flare ups, and that can come in handy when you are looking to keep your hair on your arms. The biggest reason for me not using starter fluid is the taste that it leaves in your food. I know I can always tell when I’m eating a burger or steak that somebody used lighter fluid to get the fire going. The burgers that I had grilled were not left with any nasty taste of some strange chemicals, when I used the Smarter Starter Fluid. I did some testing using this fluid and a normal fluid vs. none at all.
Here are the results:
No fluid at all, just using my charcoal chimney: These briquettes were ready for burgers the quickest at all three tests. No harsh chemical smells while burning. No chemical taste in the food that was cooked.
No chimney, using regular fluid: These briquettes were ready the 2nd quickest. Small amount of fluid created a big fire, lots of heat, and yes a few singed hairs. Terrible smell while lighting the briquettes. Nasty taste left in the burgers.
No chimney, using Smarter Starter Fluid: These briquettes took the longest to get ready ( I also want to say that I used Charcoal Briquettes, as this product is tailored toward the Natural Lump Charcoal, that could have affected the ready time) No huge flare up upon lighting the fluid. Burned out a little quicker that the regular fluid (again geared toward Natural Lump Charcoal). No crazy smells and the best part was no awful taste in the food.
Pros: No hallucination inducing smells, no food after taste, available in the big box stores. You get none of the emissions from the fire as that that comes from the tailpipe of your car.
Cons: It’s still lighter fluid, geared more toward Natural Lump charcoal (great charcoal to use, but not everyone uses it)
Overall: I was really surprised by this product, as I normally would not use starter fluid, but this is the best starter fluid I have used.
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