Sunday, May 18, 2014

Review: BBQ Dragon Fire Supercharger

By Dru Chai

Are you an impatient BBQ griller or smoker? Are there times when you're HANGRY (angry and hungry at the same time)? When I'm hangry, I'm daydreaming about biting into a big, fat juicy steak, burger, or hot dog. I'm too lazy to drive elsewhere for takeout, and even if I do, the food certainly doesn't compare to my own BBQ grilling and smoking.

The last thing on my mind is waiting for the charcoal to light up. I want to get straight to the fun part -- grilling and smoking the MEAT. That's where the BBQ Dragon comes in handy.

Technically, it can also blow dry your hair

I've been testing out the BBQ Dragon for several weeks, checking to see where the device fits within my normal day-to-day grilling and smoking sessions. Simply put, the BBQ Dragon is a device that blows air onto charcoal or wood, which helps to increase airflow to "jumpstart" the fire. I have a Weber Kettle Grill and a Weber Smoky Mountain (WSM) smoker, so I consider myself an avid charcoal user and targeted customer for this BBQ product.

The BBQ Dragon is like a jolt of steroids for the chimney starter

I primarily used the BBQ Dragon two ways -- directly on the chimney starter and for my smoker. It usually takes about 10-15 minutes to get the charcoal fully lit at the top, but with the BBQ Dragon the time was cut in half. On my WSM, when the charcoal is about to die off, I simply fired up the BBQ Dragon to get the flames roaring again in no time.

My smoker getting a heavy dosage of BBQ Dragon breath

There's no question that the BBQ Dragon does what it's supposed to do. If you're someone who values your precious time (I'm hangry!), this is a product that will speed up the boring process of waiting for your charcoal fire to get up and running so you can get right to the grilling and smoking.

Dirty Smoke rating - 4.0 of 5 stars
Pros - Well built, ergonomic handle and sturdy clamp, variable fan speed setting
Cons - Not inexpensive, regular batteries run out rather quickly
Recommended - check them out on

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

May is National BBQ Month. But It's Really Every Month.

By Dru Chai

The folks over at HPBA (Hearth, Patio, and BBQ Association) have made it known to the world that May is National BBQ Month. Why May, you ask? Well, Memorial Day weekend has traditionally been the official kick-off to the summer season. But chances are, if you're reading this blog -- it really doesn't matter what month of the year it is. Every month is BBQ month, in my book!

My smoker, also affectionately known as R2D2-BBQ

Did you know? Out of 80% of American households who own a grill or smoker, 60% use their grill/smoker year-round.

Check out some of these other fun facts (according to HPBA):

Having More Than One Grill for Year-Round Cooking. In North America, nearly 40% of barbecue owners have more than one grill, with 8% owning three or more. In fact, 29% of grill purchases in 2013 were in addition to a previously owned grill.

Barbecuing for Any Holiday. Holidays continue to be a popular time for grill usage. While summer holidays like 4th of July (68%), Memorial Day (52%), Labor Day (51%) and Father's Day (45%) continue to be the most popular for outdoor cooking, holidays like Super Bowl Sundays (31%), Thanksgiving (15%) and New Year's Eve/Day (15%), saw an increase from the same study in 2011.

Food Outdoors Tastes Better Any Time of the Year. When asked why they cook on the grill, 61% of consumers said they prefer the taste of grilled food.

What to BBQ 365. With so many consumers BBQ'ing year-round, here's what they are commonly putting on the grill: hot dogs (72%), steak (71%), burgers (69%), chicken (64%), ribs (50%), sausage/bratwurst (44%), corn (44%), pork chops (43%), potatoes (39%), beef/pork roast (34%) and fish (28%).

Smoky and meaty goodness in a bun

The BBQ industry had another strong year in 2013, with shipments of grills and smokers almost reaching 14 million consumers. Gas grills (58%) continue to be the most popular, followed by charcoal (40%) and electric (2%).

If you're a BBQ and grilling enthusiast like myself, check out these materials courtesy of HPBA:

So what do I make of all this? That the BBQ industry is a multi-billion industry... that's with a "B." With record sales, the industry sure isn't showing any signs of slowing down -- and that's a good thing for everyone.