The Chimney Topper Story

Posted by Martin Perkins on

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The first time I used one a chimney starter was in Australia on a dry, wooden balcony. I was very very scared by how hot it got, convinced I’d burn down the house we were staying in. Also there was a Kookaburra that ate pieces of steak out of our hand. Anyway…

Years later when I was used to using them and barbecuing more generally, I realised how hard it was to get a decent sear on meat without overcooking the middle. You can use ripping hot pans over your hob and all but you have to unplug your smoke alarm and open all the doors and stuff. It's a faff. Plus it’s no fun.

So I started tried popping a bit of my modular grill on top of it, to very good effect but it all seemed a bit wobbly and redneck. Hardly befitting of the meat.

I had a look around and couldn’t find anything that looked any good so figured I’d have a go at making one.

Using my awesome design skills, I mocked something up and gave it to my old pal Alex who usually makes buildings (and reviews pizzas extremely eloquently). He made a 3D design and printed a plastic model off at work. Super fragile but a step in the right direction. The picture above is the first time I saw it. Drinking excellent beer in that Mikkeller bar that Rick Astley (sorry) has some involvement in.

Blacksmith Chris knew a guy who knew a guy in Haverhill who does cast iron  so I drove it down there. Gerry took the model, used and abused it and gave me  back a pretty gnarly looking prototype which I dutifully put through the rigours of successfully searing the living sh*t out of lots of delicious food. 

It worked so I asked Gerry to get a pattern made up so we can make these things in batches of 4 to sell to you lovely people.

A couple of weeks ago I got my first 4 samples through and they are bloody amazing.

I’ve ordered my first proper run to see how it goes. I’m thinking that with spring well and truly sprung and everyone being confined to their homes and gardens for the foreseeable future, it might be a good time to get set up to sell them.

Buy one if you or anyone you know...

  • Like rare steak
  • Uses Sous-vide on big bits of meat
  • Has ever overcooked a steak on the barbecue in the pursuit of steakhouse style sexy grill marks.
  • Doesn’t like lighting loads of coal just to cook a couple of steaks or skewers
  • Like baba ganoush. It’s perfect for aub implosion