The BBQ Dragon and Chimney of Insanity have been around a few years in the states and not really available here until now. Here’s a review from Mark Quigg (@Markie_q_bbq)
Those of you that follow me on social media, will be aware that I am a big fan of plancha cooking and have a great relationship with Smokerig and their sister site Totally BBQ. A few weeks ago, we were chatting about a new kettle BBQ they will be stocking when it is released in the coming months. They mentioned a new product that they had just managed to get hold of from America.
That product was the BBQ Dragon and the Chimney of Insanity. I must admit I had never heard of them, but they very generously offered to send them to me to play with. Just to clarify, they have at no point asked me to review the products, or promote them in anyway. I am free to give my honest opinion.
The BBQ Dragon is a stainless steel, battery powered variable speed fan on a flexible neck. At the other end is a heavy-duty rubber lined bulldog clip to fasten it, so it is completely hands-free. It has a variety of uses, from lighting fires, increasing temps, to recovering smouldering fires.
The Chimney of Insanity’s design from the outside looks like most chimney starters, apart from the protruding hole on one side, towards the bottom of the chimney. When you look inside, the charcoal grate is not conical, but flat and you can see that the hole that protrudes for the side, is actually a 90-degree elbow joint. The concept is that you place a firelighter in the elbow joint and this causes a large draw of air up through the coals.
But this is where they come into their own. The hole is the exact size of the BBQ Dragon fan head, which slots into the hole on the chimney and transforms it into more of a rocket stove. On my first use, I lit a chimney full of new Weber briquettes in 4 minutes and 32 seconds. No mean feat. It’s capacity is slightly less than a Weber chimney starter, probably around ¾ the size. This isn’t an issue for me as I rarely used to light a full chimney.
Since then I have been experimenting with them both and having a lot of fun. I have used the BBQ Dragon at the end of cooks to bring the temperature of the coals up, so I have an intense sear zone. This is great with a Slow N Sear. It’s worked well with my Kadai Fire Bowl, on some Oak wood that has always previously really struggled and always smouldered. It has also worked with my Ooni 2S, to fire up the pellets quicker and in between pizzas to keep the temperature up. All of which it has handled with ease.
I’ve used the Chimney of insanity with a grate across the top, with the BBQ Dragon on and cooked some proper flame grilled steaks. On YouTube others have also used them as a Wok burner.
I am very impressed with them so far. The build quality seems great. It’s the first chimney starter I have used where the handle doesn’t even get slightly warm. The BBQ Dragon runs on 4 x AA batteries. It does have a micro USB socket on the handle, so you can trickle charge rechargeable batteries if you like.
So do you need one in order to be able to BBQ? No. But do you want a quicker method of lighting your BBQ, that’s portable, handsfree and can help searing, fire management, pizza making etc? Then I would recommend checking it out. It’s one of those gadgets that once you have it, you wonder how you ever coped without it. The BBQ Dragon and Chimney of Insanity are available separately or as a bundle on www.tbbq.co.uk. Feel free to get in touch on Twitter or Instagram (@Markie_q_bbq) if you want any more information.