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Exploding concrete with chimney starter.

This is probably not news to most of you but if it prevents injury or a hole in the driveway...

I have used a chimney starter for a while and always on the driveway (did not know concrete was a no no). I have had no problems with it. At 3 am this morning (firing up some pork butts), the starter was really going good and I was about to transfer it to the egg when BOOM!. Starter flies up in the air, red hot lump everywhere. Fortunately, no harm to me or any fire issues. I transferred some of the bigger lumps to the egg and doused the rest.

Did a little research and discovered about chimney starters on concrete and explosions. Fortunately a minimally painful lesson (sorry for the boom neighbors). Although I do have a nice crater in the driveway.


  • That is a non-cook event worthy of a pic or two. High school students will start using starters on driveways rather than Mentos in soda bottles.....
    Delta B.C. - Move over coffee, this is job for alcohol!
  • It's raining now so it's a puddle. When things dry up I'll snap one of the crater.
  • jtippersjtippers Posts: 512
    Wow, I had never heard that before. Thanks for the heads up. Glad nobody was hurt!
    SBGE December 2012 •  XLBGE December 2013 •  Yoder YS640 July
    Location: Jasper, Georgia

  • TerrebanditTerrebandit Posts: 1,709
    Yikes. I didn't know. I'll bet most people do this without a clue.
    Dave - Austin, TX
  • This site contains the warning and a couple pictures. My hole is a bit deeper. Your hole may vary:

  • Having to stoke my old brinkman continually using the chimney was a big part of the reason I got my LBGE. Thank goodness I didn't have any "accidents".  

    Alexander City,Al
  • Glad all turned out OK. I learned in a welding class to never weld or use a torch on concreate because water vapor, trapped in the voids, will expand until the concreate gives way in an explosive fashion.

    North Texas

    XL and Small BGE

  • njlnjl Posts: 871
    I wonder if this is only a problem if the concrete was wet recently enough that there's still water trapped in it below the surface?
  • No matter how many years you wait there will still be water in the concrete.  The effect is known as spalling and most people in the construction trades have experienced it when torching off a bolt or beam set in a concrete floor.
    A poor widows son.
    See der Rabbits, Iowa
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