How to Start Charcoal without Lighter Fluid

How many times have you attended a cookout and can’t wait to dig into the meat candy but as soon as it hits your tastebuds you want to spit it out? As the taste of lighter fluid permeates your mouth and you feel like you’re breathing fire out your nose you think to yourself, “There has to be a better way!”.
You’re right! There is a better way. We’re going to explore one of the easiest, foolproof ways to get your grilling off to a good start. You’ll be able to show of your grilling prowess without having your guests looking for a bush to spit out their grub.
You’re probably asking yourself what’s the magic and without further bush beating let’s get to it.
What You’ll Need to Start Charcoal without Lighter Fluid
  • Charcoal
  • Newspaper, old phone books, sales ads, etc
  • A lighter or matches
Before we get to the steps let’s talk about what exactly is a chimney starter. A chimney starter is basically a metal cylinder with a grate at the bottom. On the sides you’ll have at least one handle and sometimes two handles to aid in pouring out the lit charcoal. The charcoal sits on the grate and the paper will be under it. Once lit a draft is created to ignite the charcoal.
Steps to Start Charcoal without Lighter Fluid
  1. Turn the chimney starter over and stuff your combustible material in the bottom underneath the grate.
  2. Set the chimney starter on the bottom grate of your charcoal grill and fill with hardwood lump charcoal or briquettes.
  3. Light the paper in the bottom at several places and allow to burn around 15 minutes. You’ll want to see the top briquettes to just start to ash. If you wait too much past 15 minutes the bottom half of your briquettes will be half their original size.
  4. Using grill gloves pour out the chimney onto your bottom grill grate. Spread the coal around and wait another five to eight minutes for the remainder coals to fully ash.
  5. Grill up some tasty food to share with your guests!

In future posts I will explore other ways to start charcoal without lighter fluid. Some that don’t even require you to purchase a starter.
Happy Grillin’!
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Brian Canada

Brian Canada

Founder and creator of Big Grillin. Since early adulthood, Brian has enjoyed grilling and smoking a variety of foods. Brian’s mission is to share his grilling knowledge and help others enjoy grilling as much as he does.

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