So I’ve seen these firestarters around that are half a toilet paper tube stuffed with shredded paper and wax. I’ve never actually used one, but I’ve seen them at military surplus stores and the like. I came up with one that I feel is even better, mostly because it uses things that you probably already have and throw away. I mean you could make the traditional ones by shredding junk mail and melting old candles, but wax is messy to work with and these ones practically make themselves.
We don’t eat a ton of bacon at our house, but we do have some every week or two. We also don’t use a lot of paper towels, but this is one thing we use them for. We put down a couple squares on a plate to soak up the grease. I got the idea for these from using those paper towels as fire starters. Then I got the idea to make something you could easily store and transport. The thing that really pushed me to try this was a friend who hates using lighter fluid when cooking with charcoal because it flavors the food.
These are pretty much one of the simplest things ever to make. When you’re done making bacon:
- Stuff the grease soaked paper towels in a toilet paper tube (or a section of paper towel tube). 2 towels is a pretty perfect fit.
- Pour liquid grease in both ends of the tube until the paper towel is soaked. (In my experience ½ pound of cooked bacon yields enough grease for 2-3 tubes
- Set somewhere and allow to cool.
There’s not much more to it than the normal clean-up after making bacon.
The thing I really like about these is that you can use them to start charcoal without using lighter fluid. The first time I tried one of these was when we barbecued with my friend who hates lighter fluid. Just pull a bit of paper towel out the end of the tube so you have something to light. Set it on a piece of charcoal (so when the grease starts to run out, it doesn’t just drip into the bottom of the grill) and then just build up a pyramid of coal around it and light it. This doesn’t light quite as fast as lighter fluid, but it doesn’t impart any chemical taste to your food.
If you’re using it to light a bon fire, it works pretty much the same. Put it on top of a larger piece of wood then put smaller pieces of wood around it. It’ll get your fire going pretty darn quick.