How to Start a Barbecue… with Chemistry

Rachel Tepper Paley

Why light a grill in normal fashion when you can set it ablaze using science?

In the above video, YouTube user NurdRage shows us how—and it’s not without fiery, show-stopping results. Instead of using lighter fluid, the flame-tender opts to use a potent mixture of sugar and the chemical compound potassium chlorate.

Potassium chlorate is a “powerful oxidant,” reads the video’s description, which means that it “provides oxygen directly to the reaction mixture.” When lit, the sugar-and-potassium-chlorate mixture burns exceedingly brightly for a few exciting seconds.

Granted, you might want to think twice about doing this yourself. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, potassium chlorate can irritate the skin and eyes, or worse, if ingested. NurdRage clearly agrees: “This video is for educational and entertainment purposes only and not actually meant to be repeated,” reads the YouTube description.

Sorry folks, you’ll have to stick to lighter fluid for now—unless you invite a skilled laboratory scientist to your next barbecue.

[via Neatorama]