How to Light Charcoal

BBQ 101

How to Light Charcoal

Lighting Charcoal for your Grill

Now that you've got your new grill, it's time to discuss what you'll need to light the grill. This week we'll walk you through what accessories to get and what to skip to get your grill fired up!

Lighting charcoal the first time can seem intimidating, but by following these easy tips, you'll be well on your way to your first cook

Firestarters to Light Charcoal

Let's start with firestarters. Charcoal grills can be tricky to light, and these make it much easier. They're usually made from all-natural hardwood with paraffin oil, and they'll hold heat for about 10 minutes to get your charcoal started. Firestarters work great for charcoal grills and smokers, and outdoor fireplaces.

Charcoal Chimney for Lighting Charcoal

The next accessory any backyard griller needs is a charcoal chimney. This cylindrical tube has air vents on the bottom that take the fire in from your firestarter, pulls it up through the charcoal, and lights it from within. This speeds up the charcoal lighting process and makes sure all your charcoal is evenly lit. A standard charcoal chimney will hold about four pounds of charcoal briquettes. To start the chimney, you'll put a firestarter or ball of newspaper on your grates, set your loaded chimney on top, and light your chimney starter. It'll take about 15 minutes for the charcoal to ash over on top, and this is when you'll know it is time to pour the charcoal! Before you dump the hot charcoal, you'll want to make sure you have heat proof gloves.

A standard charcoal chimney will hold about four pounds of Original Kingsford Briquettes

Should You Use Lighter Fluid to Light Charcoal?

People may use lighter fluid with the thought that it will speed up the charcoal lighting process, but in our experience, we haven't found that to be true. Using grilling accessories like firestarters and/or a charcoal chimney will light your charcoal just as fast and help your charcoal burn evenly.

Too much lighter fluid can alter the taste of your food and not all grills are compatible with lighter fluid. If you do decide to use it, just be sure to read the owner's manual of your grill before doing so.

While we stay away from using lighter fluid with the grill, lighter fluid is great for starting a campfire! It can help light wood that may not be as well seasoned, so you can get a nice campfire going quickly.

Hopefully we've removed some of the intimidation factor for lighting your charcoal grill. With a couple of simple tools and a little bit of time, you'll get to the best part - grilling!

About the BBQ 101 Series

Susie Bulloch founded Hey Grill Hey in 2015 with one desire: to help people make better BBQ. Char-Griller and Kingsford partnered with Susie and Todd to bring you this series of content, BBQ 101, to help you become a better backyard bbq pro.

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