Re: Microwaved Coals?
I have to disagree with the other replies here. I don't think using a burner is significantly safer than using a microwave. Though I'd probably still opt for the burner since the potential equipment replacement is so much lower.
A coil burner, unless you use one built into your stove, is going to be an irregular heat source in your home. People are accustomed to watching out for the stove, but not for a burner that is set out for the purpose of lighting coals. And, since it takes 5 - 8 minutes to light the coals, and you're not likely to sit there watching them, it leave a large window for disaster. On more than one occasion when I was using the burner in our kitchen, the other people in my house have burned them selves, or nearly lit something on fire because they weren't paying attention to the burner they weren't accustomed to.
The microwave, on the other hand, is self contained and unless the flames become profuse, probably isn't going to light on fire. The materials simply aren't terribly flammable. Plus, since it lights so much quicker, you're more likely not to get too far away while it's lighting. There's also no reasons to believe coals lit in the microwave would be in some way unsafe to smoke from. If this were true we'd have to worry about the food heated in the microwave too. But as it is, there's no evidence to cause us to worry.
Of course, all that said, microwaves probably can withstand a little open flame, but definitely are not designed for it. Unless you have a crappy microwave for that particular purpose, it seems like you're risking the microwave's health to light the coals. And that's a lot more expensive to replace than a burner and all it's costing you is an extra 4 minutes.
This is my: