The trick is to smoke the meat and not make the meat smoke

Follow Up aka Foul Up

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Earlier this year I wrote blog entries on two different grilling related accessory products and gave them good reviews. These are not Big Green Egg specific products, but general grilling/smoking related products. Since that time both products have suffered problems and the book is out on whether these products will work out in the long run. The two products are the Looftlighter for lighting your charcoal and the newest version of the Maverick ET-73 series, the ET 733. I figured folks who may read the original reviews would be interested to know this additional information. I will be adding a a notice to the original blog entries on both products, pointing to this blog. At the bottom of this blog entry I will provide links to the original blogs reviewing bot products.

When I reviewed the Looftlighter back in January I mentioned there were complaints on various sites where users were complaining about the Looftlighter wearing out very quickly, Many of these users were referred by the seller back to the manufacturer for warrantee replacement. The manufacturer was said to be slow to respond or totally unresponsive. I mentioned in the original review that before I bought mine, I made sure the dealer would back the product. This is the third time I have had to return something to my Big Green Egg dealer this year. They are 3 for 3, batting 1,000. But let me begin at the beginning.

Where I was aware of folks having issues with their Looftlighters, I was very careful to baby mine. It was stored indoors other than when I was actually lighting the grill. I was very careful to not get it wet, not drop it or handle it roughly. Around mid-April I noticed it was taking more than the normal minute to light the coals. Within a few weeks it wouldn’t light the coals at all. First they stopped sparking, and at first I thought it was possibly damp lump. The next time I tried a different batch of lump and it was the same. Shortly after they stopped lighting at all even after 5 minutes exposure to the hot air. They would glow slightly, but as soon as I pulled the Looftlighter away they would extinguish. Finally they stopped lighting at all. I contacted my Big Green Egg dealer, Oasis Hot Tub & Sauna in Nashua, NH, and they offered several suggestions. The first was to take a temperature reading of the air coming out of the mouth of the Looftlighter by removing and using the dome thermometer from one of my Eggs. They gave me several follow up ideas, but this first test showed even after 5 minutes the air temperature was between 325 and 350, which would never light the charcoal.

The return to Oasis was totally hassle free. I brought the old one back and they gave me a new replacement. Oasis took care of the return to the manufacturer end of things. I have nothing but praise for their customer service. I had bought several boxes of paraffin starters to get me through the period where the Looftlighter was acting up and I have been going through those boxes before getting back to using the new Looftlighter. So how this story ends is still to be determined. One of the problems I was having this past winter with the paraffin starters, was on cold windy days the butane lighter I used to light the paraffin starters wouldn’t stay lit long enough to light them. I have since found a similar starter form the same manufacturer that cost $1.00 or so more and was said to be wind-resistant. So if I have more problems with the replacement Looftlighter, I will try going back to paraffin starters using the wind-resistant lighter. I promise to write a future blog entry(s) on how things go.

I gave this device a good review in my initial review. I have used the two predecessors to this model, so I didn’t need to use it very long to get a sense of how it worked. Shortly after I wrote the review, I realized I was blowing through batteries in the receiver unit. This was a bit of a surprise because the receiver it the unit that spends most of it’s life indoors. It was if the receiver did not shutoff and the batteries just kept draining. I wrote a follow-up blog entry where I mentioned the problem and said Maverick had sent me a replacement unit that SEEMED to have solved the problem. I had 3 successful sessions where the batteries didn’t run down. But the next session they were dead. So I had written too soon. Links to these two blog entries are found below.

I am guessing perhaps the batteries I used in the replacement receiver were new batteries and very “fresh”. I contacted Maverick and they sent me a new transmitter unit. Yes you read that right, a new
transmitter, the unit that appeared to be working correctly, whose batteries were lasting the normal amount of time. I questioned this while I was talking to Maverick about the failure of the replacement receiver. I asked how could the transmitter have any effect on the receiver, if the receiver was turned OFF? I was told this was a senior tech that the tech support phone support person put me on hold to talk to. t the time I remember thinking: “These guys don’t have a clue what is causing this. They are grasping at straws.” But I went along with it and they sent me a new receiver. It took a couple sessions, but the receiver blew through the batteries again.

Maverick asked me to send them back the replacement transmitter and they would replace it. In the letter I sent along with the return I asked that they hold on to it for a week or two and test it. Their warrantee turned out to be 1 year, not the 90 days I was concerned about. But the end user pays for postage to send the item to Maverick. I was tired of paying for postage for something where I could easily reproduce the problem. I said please test the unit thoroughly before sending it to me. I told them I also have an ET-72 and ET-732 so I could live without the ET-733 for a while and I was covered. I got busy and over 5 or 6 weeks went by before I realized I hadn’t gotten a replacement receiver back. I called and was not at all pleased to be told they didn’t show anything new on it. The phone support rep finally found the record showing they had received it back-this was the good news. The bad news was nothing had happened since then. I held my tongue and repeated my request they hold and test any replacement unit they send me. This was the end of July and I still haven’t heard back.

In less two weeks or so I will be getting my third Egg. Not having this unit back will now start inconveniencing me. I will call them next week. My advice to you would be to read my original review of the ET-733. In it I discussed whether it was worth upgrading if you already owned an ET-732. I would say consider getting the ET-732 if you don’t need the bells and whistles of the ET-733. I will write a follow up blog when there are new developments on my end.

Here are some links to the original blog entries I wrote about the Looftlighter and Maverick ET-733.


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