I recently received a free BBQ Dragon to review. Although it may sound like a prop from HBO’s Game of Thrones, the BBQ Dragon is a real product intended to help backyard cooks start their fires more quickly and with less huffing and puffing.
The BBQ Dragon is a small fan roughly the shape and size of a hair dryer, and attached to a sturdy, flexible stem with a clamp at the base to connect it to your fire pit, grill, or smoker. Powered by batteries, the BBQ Dragon blows air on your coals to help them catch fire faster. Straightforward, clever, and… effective or just a lot of (hot) air?
According to the product’s promotional email: “BBQ Dragon takes a simple concept – adding oxygen to fire – and puts some power behind it. Why sit and blow on your charcoal, or wave dishware at it to create a breeze to supply more air? BBQ Dragon points a steady stream of fire-fueling oxygen directly onto your charcoal, so it’s grill-ready in under 10 minutes – hotter and faster than ever! Don’t leave your grilling to chance – mechanize your charcoal’s oxygen supply with BBQ Dragon!” Exclamation points abound.
The website takes the hype a giant step further, calling the BBQ Dragon, “The biggest revolution in barbecue since lump charcoal.” I have to admit to being dubious of products that are pitched with such reckless abandon, but leaving my skepticism aside I put the BBQ Dragon through its paces, trying it on charcoal and on kindling and wood in a backyard fire pit (picture inset).
The BBQ Dragon worked as advertised, adding oxygen to the fire without need for huffing and puffing. The flames started to roar fast and the coals/wood heated up quickly. (The trade off for the reduced burden on your lungs is a fairly noisy fan even at the lowest speed setting.) Priced at $49.99 plus shipping, the BBQ Dragon is a pricey accessory, and certainly one I’d place in the “fun but not essential” category. Still, it’s a clever idea and can help if you’re like me and your fire building skills could use an assist. Plus, if all else fails you can point it at your friends and dry their hair.
By the way, it’s interesting to note that the BBQ Dragon was developed using Kickstarter funds, with a successful campaign that crowd sourced over a hundred thousand dollars. Pretty neat, if you ask me. Why didn’t I think of that?
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