Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Product Review: JJGeorge Grill Torch

[FTC Disclosure] I received a JJGeorge Grill Charge as a free sample.

Gift Card Week:  A lot of people received cash and prepaid cards for Christmas this week.  I thought it would be an opportune time to post some product reviews this week for the things that Santa didn't bring you.

There are plenty of ways to light your grill.

  • starter cubes
  • twisted paper towel drizzled with cooking oil
  • denatured alcohol
  • forced hot air (Looftlighter, Bison, etc.)
  • gas torches

I've always said, use what works for you because grilling and barbecue are more about preferences than absolutes.  Only a Sith deals in absolutes, right? That said, my "hard preference" for lighting grills is a gas torch because I think they are the fastest and easiest method.  

How to light a kamado grill, such as; Big Green Egg, Kamado Joe, Primo, Grill Dome, Vision, or Kong
Using a torch is the method that I recommend in my book, The Kamado Smoker and Grill Cookbooks (Ulysses Press).

Last month, I met the JJGeorge team at the Pensacola Eggfest where they were serving up excellent oysters from the Big Green Egg.  JJGeorge is a company that sells exceptional grilling furniture and accessories such as beautiful kamado tables, grill covers, eye-catching wood trimmed coolers, and the full Smokeware line.

JJGeorge's Nukshuk Coolers are part craftsmanship and part art.

Their newest product offering is their new Grill Torch.

Priced at $39.99 (currently on sale at $29.99!) the JJ George Grill Torch is less expensive than the plain gas torch that I bought at Lowes.

Review of JJGeorge Grill Torch
A few design features of the JJGeorge Grill Torch include the downward swept nozzle, the extended nozzle length, and an ergonomic grip.

The Grill Torch functions like any other grill torch in many ways. It uses standard torch cylinders that you can buy locally in most hardware places, camping stores, or even Walmart.  It has an electronic flame ignitor.  The most significant difference is that the design makes using it safer, more flexible, and easier.
  • Safer - The extended nozzle keeps your hands further from the flame and means you don't have to hold the gas cylinder over the lit coals.
  • More flexible - I have always used the more expensive MAPpro gas (cost 3x more) instead of propane because propane torches can sputter when inverted (as in, turned upside down to light a kamado grill).  JJGeorge Grill Torch's downward swept nozzle eliminates that issue.
  • Easier - The ergonomic grip is not only comfortable.  It is placed in a cantilever style that makes it easier to hold when using it.
My friend Tom and I were discussing the benefits of MAPpro vs. propane.  MAPpro definitely burns hotter than propane but does it actually start the coal faster?  I thought maybe not because once you are over the flash point of a given material, it ignites.

Going hotter than that wouldn't make it ignite any faster, right?  I had to do a side by comparison.

So, I performed a completely unscientific study to compare them side by side.  I set two Large Big Green Eggs up the same way - standard OEM except both have Rutland Gaskets, and both used a Kick Ash Basket.

I used practically identical volumes and weight of lump charcoal - a steam pan full.  One weighed 1 pound 14.7 ounces, and the other was 1 pound 14.8 ounces.  That was as close as I could get.

I started both kamado grills, one using MAPpro and the other using propane.  I lit each grill in 3 spots (2, 6, and 10 o'clock) for 25 seconds each, the way I usually light my kamado grills. Then I measured the time it took to get to 250°f.  Next, I put a spider rig and pizza stone in and measured times it took to reach 300°f through 450°f at 50°f intervals.  

Thermoworks TimeStick Trio
The TimeStick Trio came in handy because I couldn't start both grills at the same time.

My Big Green Egg's feature the Smokeware Thermometer

The results showed that the Egg lit with a MAPpro torch did reach every temperature in the range studied faster than the Egg lit by propane.  I suppose MAPpro heats the immediate area quicker and then that burning coal lights the surrounding area, so you get more coal lit in the same amount of time.  

Does that mean MAPpro is better than propane for lighting your grill?  No, it's still a matter of preferences, as each has its advantages.


  • burns hotter
  • lights faster
  • costs about a third the price of MAPpro
  • generally easier to find and buy a gas cylinder 
  • doesn't cause new coal to pop and spark as bad during the lighting

Whether you choose to use propane or MAPpro, I recommend using it with a JJGeorge Grill Torch.  It has more features and costs less than a hardware store torch.

You can get the JJGeorge Grill Torch at kamado dealers or order one online.