Introduction: How to Light a Grill in 30 Seconds

Theodore Gray shows how to get a grill going in 30 seconds. Really going. Don't forget the welding shield. And if you haven't handled dangerous chemicals and explosives before, you might want to stick to a more conventional approach. Seriously: This way of lighting a grill is INCREDIBLY dangerous! Powerful explosions can result if you do it wrong! Don't try this unless you have already had experience handling liquid oxygen! And for much, much more on every element under (and, of course, in) the sun, check out and Play safe!


orksecurity (author)2009-10-11

As was said, incredibly dangerous unless you know what you're doing. Not only can LOX give you severe cryogenic burns, but there's a serious explosion risk. If you're foolish enough to try this, note that starting the fire BEFORE adding the LOX is absolute critical.

But, yes, friends at MIT report that this really does produce ideal grilling coals almost instantly.

saehn (author)2009-09-17

The charcoal's not "good to go", most of it's still black. Needs to be ashed over for grilling. I know, this is not intended as a serious lighting method. Just sayin'! ;-)

theodore1 (author)saehn2009-09-29

Interestingly, the coals really are ready for grilling very, very fast. Within a minute they are white all over (it might take a second pan full with that much charcoal in the grill). Unlike lighter fluid, which actually starves the charcoal of oxygen it needs to get ready, adding LOX burns the charcoal itself.

saehn (author)theodore12009-09-30

Ah, that's cool then. It just didn't seem like it from the movie.

haroun (author)2009-09-17

George Gobel's original videos.
He did it back in '95. Would have been nice if the mad scientist had given a little credit.

theodore1 (author)haroun2009-09-29

(a) I've only got 30 seconds according to the rules of the contest, (b) he's not the first one to do it, only the best-known, and (c) he's actually kind of shy about it.

zom b (author)2009-09-17

as science this is interesting, as a practical method of getting a bbq ready for cooking it's ridiculous.

theodore1 (author)zom b2009-09-29

Actually you'd be surprised.... There have been occasions when I happened to have some LOX left over and we were planning to grill. It really does work to get the coals ready in a hurry, though I'd certainly never go out and get LOX just for that purpose.

iectyx3c (author)2009-09-20

So how is this an original instructable? This is Theodore Gray's video edited with the Forbes banner in front. Negative vote. Negative points.

theodore1 (author)iectyx3c2009-09-29

It's all very confusing.... I, the real Theodore Gray, posted this, but apparently I did it wrong and a moderator fixed things up but it ended up under her name, and somehow there was no way to transfer it to my regular login, so now I have a new one, theodore1, which now owns this video. I don't understand it either.

canida (author)iectyx3c2009-09-29

Because he posted it. Might want to re-think the negative points. ;)

itsthatsguy (author)iectyx3c2009-09-21

Not to mention the show "Tiem Warp" featured this with german inventor "Zaas" it was originaly his idea

hstan3 (author)2009-09-18

Incredibly dangerous. Check this out...
This is a '60s era US Navy training video that ends with some gruesome footage (5:30) of someone who mishandled LOX.
A shocking but very effective film that scared many sailors into handling LOX with the respect and care it most rightfully deserves.

MakerBreaker (author)hstan32009-09-23

Agree Creapy and Disturbing, and flaged

casey321b (author)hstan32009-09-18

thats a little creepy and disturbing...

hstan3 (author)casey321b2009-09-19

I totally agree. Super creepy and disturbing. I debated whether to post the link or not, but Mr. Gray's protection of only a welder's mask with the standard "this is dangerous" dislcaimer really seemed far to casual to me considering what happens if it goes badly. I'd really hate to see one of Instructable's readers end up like that.

sonogo (author)2009-09-19

man !! I want to get the meat cooked not my face.. thanks

owwio (author)2009-09-18

Bit against the point???

piper1234 (author)2009-09-18

I meant sneak, my sorry dislexia :P

piper1234 (author)2009-09-18

well if you live in florida... you can senak down the space shuttle with a hose and leech some oxygen from the tanks... just very careful when suck the liquid if you swallow you gonna have a very fresh breath... and a frozen larynx :P no worries nobody's gonna miss a gallon from the Atlantis shuttle xD just put a cork or something resistant to avoid explosions or instant freezing of yourself or some technician xD hahaha

gorillailla202 (author)2009-09-17

Well, I guess if you got a gallon of liquid oxygen just laying around this is plausible.

Allowance10 (author)2009-09-17


aussie2u (author)2009-09-17

"Liquid Oxygen?" While I'm sure those on college campuses know all about this stuff, I havent seen this at the local home depot, pool supply place, or bar-b-que warehouse for that matter. BTW - isn't this the liquid oxygen that brought down the Valujet plane a few years ago???

timberW (author)aussie2u2009-09-17

No, that was an oxygen generator which releases oxygen as part of a chemical reaction. As dangerous, but necessary, as oxygen generators are, LOX is far more dangerous.

jongscx (author)2009-09-17

hold on... did he burn through the grill at the bottom?

engineeringnerd (author)jongscx2009-09-17

I don't think so, I think you are looking into the air damper and the bottom of the grill is red hot. Could be wrong, though.

HewgO (author)jongscx2009-09-17


jongscx (author)2009-09-17

We just used a leafblower to get things moving faster... cheaper than LOX at least...

sniffydogs (author)2009-09-17

I'm surprised he still has leg hair..........

hailster (author)2009-09-17

I think this is a little more realistic way of starting a charcoal grill.

and7barton (author)2009-09-16

I think I'll just settle for sitting watching the barbie burn in the normal way, whilst perhaps breathing in a little of that pure oxygen, so as not to waste it.

dcodrea (author)2009-09-15

It would be appropriate to credit George Goble of Purdue University who first demonstrated this on the Internet some years ago:

the special terrorist (author)2009-09-15


macobt (author)2009-09-15

very dangerous,shown this too instructable,hmm......

Marsh (author)2009-09-15

This video looks strangely familiar. I'm pretty sure you could get the coals lit with less than a pint of LOX and your grill wouldn't burn through.

Rob K (author)2009-09-15

bottom of the grill glowing at the end?

thecheatscalc (author)2009-09-15

ahahahahaha, very dangerous, but pretty funny! It's too bad I don't just have that laying around... ;)

Knight 12 (author)2009-09-15

oohhh... fireworks :O xD good instructable (but very dangerous :P)

maslo (author)2009-09-15

Goood Job! :-D

PyroMonger (author)2009-09-15

How ironic.....a method to start a grill to make food which keeps alive...but the method is potentially lethal...hmm.

I think it's a bit much just to start a grill there's other quick and ALOT less dangerous ways to do it

coolbill14 (author)2009-09-15

Where do you get liquid oxygen from Also, you could kill yourself

svfox69 (author)2009-09-14

AHAHAHAH I bet the fire department wants to have a word with you. Steve

The Ideanator (author)2009-09-14

Now you should make one like "how to acquire liquid oxygen in 30 sec"

Arbitror (author)2009-09-14

Wow.. A fast, dangerous and potentially lethal way of starting a grill... I like it!

Father Christmas (author)2009-09-14

Whaaaattt?! I wanna try lol

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