How to start a Charcoal Grill - The Easy way

How to start a Charcoal Grill - The Easy way

How to start a Charcoal Grill 

First things first. Before you start, examine the grill to ensure that all grill components are properly placed. Be sure that the ash pan is properly attached to the legs underneath the grill. The charcoal grate should be resting inside the bowl to hold the briquettes (do not place briquettes directly in the bottom of the grill). This all assumes you have a Weber type grill.  Notice if not then a square or rectangular grill you will perform the same basic checks just on a different physical sized unit.  

Several ways to start a charcoal grill: Charcoal chimney:

The charcoal chimney is our recommended way to start a standard kettle grill. Stack briquettes inside, on top of two wadded sheets of newspaper or a few pre-treated briquettes, then light. You’ll have burning coals ready to use in about 30 minutes. You’ll know that the coals are ready when they’re coated in white ash residue. Remove the chimney and spread the coals.  After removing the chimney remember to place the unit in an area that can’t come into contact with burnable objects or people.

Pre-treated (Matchlight) briquettes: Stack the briquettes in the desired arrangement and light in several places. The embedded lighter fluid will ensure that the coals light relatively quickly. Do not add additional pre-treated briquettes to the coals once the fire has started. Be sure to let the lighter fluid burn off the coals before adding food to the grill, about 45 minutes.

Lighter fluid: If you use lighter fluid, be sure it’s a product intended for charcoal. Some volatile substances, like gasoline or alcohol, are very dangerous. Don’t pour any liquid lighter fluid on hot coals, even if they seem to have gone out, because the coals could suddenly flare up. Be sure to let the lighter fluid burn off the coals before adding food to the grill, about 45 minutes.

Dryer Lint.  I created this process some time ago but it works extremely well.  Most people wash and dry their clothes at least 2 to 3 times a month.  The question is what do you do with all that lint?  Most just throw it away not realizing that this is one of the best fire starting tools on the non-market.  I pull the lint from the screen and make a ball.  Then I allow the lint to dry for at least a day.  I usually have three or four lint balls stored in my barbecue tools box just waiting for my next grill.  One the lint is ready I place a small metal pie tin on the grill first.  I follow that with the lint ball.  Afterward I mound charcoal on top of the lint ball.  I always make sure that there is some portion of the lint ball that is visible so as to get air into the lint when starting the fire.  I use a standard metal fire starter to light the lint.  It takes 1 or 2 clicks of the lighter and the ball starts slowly.  If the ball has too much moisture I add a small ball of clumped newspaper to keep it going.  All in all the lint ball burns cleanly and the charcoal are lighted and ready for the grill. 

Soaked Charcoal.  You can actually soak a charcoal briquette with oil.  This will work but you have to ensure that your oil is clean.  Note, do NOT use motor oil or WD 40 or any type of automotive product to start the fire.  We don't want those things because in the end the charcoal will smell like the oil and whatever you cook will smell like the charcoal. 

Wood fire start:  Using a wood fire start for charcoal is one of the oldest ways in existence to get a barbecue going.  Split or buy some basic kindling wood.  Add a small section of newspaper to aid the start of the fire.  If you have just a few matches this will get the fire started faster.  Start the wood and lay it on top of two or three pieces.  Add additional wood but be sure to leave enough space for air to feed the fire. 

Blow torch:  Of course the easiest way to start a fire is with a blow torch.  The torch as high intensity heat and the charcoal lights effortlessly.  Just make sure that you have taken necessary precautions when using a torch.  Be sure to have an extinguisher near by just in case.  I would like maybe a third of the charcoal and let the natural heat process take care of lighting the rest. 

These are just some of the ways of lighting a Charcoal Grill.  We hope you find a method that works for you.


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This product was added to our catalog on Thursday 21 September, 2017.