Grill aficionados know it: charcoal is superior to gas if you're looking for the best flavor. But charcoal's sheen starts to wear off when you add in the extra time it takes to prep, the added mess and the possibility of making an expensive, juicy ribeye taste like a gas canister. That's where gas pulls off the come-from-behind victory handily. The Grillcube levels the charcoal v. gas playing field by taking away some of the hassle and uncertainty.

The Grillcube is basically a cardboard box o' charcoal that simplifies your lighting process. Simply light the box up via the cardboard wick integrated in the air flue, allow it to burn away, and your charcoal will be ready in about 10 minutes. There's no acrid lighter fluid or sooty bags of charcoal to deal with, just hot, fired-up hardwood coal begging you to pile meat and vegetables on top. The charcoal in the cube provides about 30 minutes of grill time, enough for a four- to five-person meal by the Estonian company's reckoning.

Eliminating lighter fluid is the single best thing that you can do for your charcoal grilling experience. You really don't need a single-serve cardboard box to do it, however, and we take exception to the company's claim that a quick, easy way of natural grilling "simply did not exist" before the Grillcube. It did indeed exist, and it's called a chimney starter.

The chimney starter really isn't much more difficult to use than this cardboard contraption. We suppose it's a little messier and (very slightly) more time consuming, since you have to dump your own charcoal and roll up some paper, but it's probably a lot cheaper in the long run – Grillcube pricing doesn't appear to be listed yet, but we'd imagine it'll be more than bulk charcoal.

Still, Grillcube could be a nice solution for tailgating or camping, where you need to save space on grill equipment (a cube or two should pack more neatly than a cylindrical chimney starter and big bag of charcoal). It's also a pretty tidy, all-in-one package that could make charcoal grilling nearly as quick and convenient as firing up the gas grill (you still have to wait for it to preheat, after all) ... and anything that encourages more people to ditch the unnecessary lighter fluid is a good thing for food everywhere.

View gallery - 2 images