It's "flame on" with the BBQ Dragon!
BBQ Dragon is a great product that accelerates startup of a fire with a battery operated fan. When I first saw the Dragon I rolled my eyes and chuckled. Manufacturers are always coming up with goofy, novelty items that friends and family can gift to their BBQing loved ones. "Charcoal starts up quick enough without this gizmo." I scoffed.
The company sent us a demo which sat unopened for weeks. Then one night while making dinner, my wife walked in with the dreaded question, "When will it be ready?" The salmon was prepped, sides were almost done and I hadn't started the charcoal yet. BBQ Dragon to the rescue. I threw a couple fire starters into the Big Green Egg, clipped the Dragon to the stand, pointed the fan into the bottom damper and several minutes later had a beautiful glowing bed.
The Dragon creates a rip roaring, sear-hot charcoal fire in less than ten minutes. Clamp it on or bend the stainless steel goose neck into a circular base to rest on a flat surface. A variable speed motor allows infinite air control: crank high to get the coal started or dial low to gently aid a struggling cooker and stabilize temps. It's battery-powered, hands-free and the stainless steel and heavy black plastic construction feels durable and looks sharp. A micro-USB connection that accepts most cell phone chargers is built into the handle. AA rechargeable batteries are optional.
When I told Meathead about it he scoffed like I did. He now uses it on all his wood fired cookers because logs are notoriously slow to ignite and burn down to embers, especially his pizza oven (above). I am still waiting for him to give it back to me.
Our Pitmaster Club manager, Aaron "Huskee" Lyons, adds, "I LOVE my BBQ Dragon. I have a couple sets of rechargeable batteries, and I use mine to blow a light breeze into the firebox on my stickburner. It works like a champ. On low, I can most often get an all-day cook on one set of batteries. Worst case scenario, I have to change the batteries out once. I even take it to the bonfire pit: helps get your bonfire stoked up in no time. It's not just for charcoal kettle grills: it's useful for a few things! Their website even has a few videos highlighting some comical uses. The weak point of the unit is the clip-in battery door: the tabs break sometimes, and if they break, the unit is unusable since the tabs complete the circuit, similar to a flashlight."
No doubt, individuals more organized than I don't need this product. However, if you often speak or hear phrases like, "Oh yeah, I better fire up the grill," or "The coals are not ready yet," the Dragon actually is a good barbecue gift for yourself or your preoccupied griller. Water proof for cooking in the rain. Two year warranty.