A barbeque with proprietary charcoal

Spark Grills makes a super cute, very convenient BBQ with a heart of coal. Proprietary charcoal.

I can't even believe that 'proprietary charcoal' is a thing I am writing about outside of a dystopian short story, but Ben West, founder of Spark Grills wanted to help the US of A enjoy charcoal cookery without all drama of managing a fire or messy ashes. A pre-formed block of charcoal serves as the sole fuel made to fit his electric charcoal oven.

The blocks cost about $5.50 to $6 each, are sold in packs, and I am fairly sure there will never be enough Spark Grills sold to create a market where Kingsford decides to step in and compete for $1.75 a charcoal platter.

Proprietary charcoal.


Thus West designed the Spark Grill, which combines the benefits of charcoal with the convenience of gas. This is made possible by West's proprietary design for what he calls the Briq, a sort of cartridge made from wood and charcoal, that inserts into a drawer and ignites at the press of a button.

The only downside is that the Briqs are proprietary and single-use only (burning anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes, depending on which Briq type you buy; replacement packs of Briqs range $30-$50 for 5-packs to 9-packs). That means if Spark Grills goes belly-up and you can't get more Briqs, your grill itself is, well, bricked.