Best Ways To Light Your Charcoal Grill | Fast, Easy & Safe

Best Ways To Light Your Charcoal Grill | Fast, Easy & Safe

Are you a beginner looking to learn a few easy tips and tricks about how to get your charcoal grill fired up? Well, if you are, you have come to just the right place, as I have it all in store for you.

In order to grill successfully, it is essential to be an expert when it comes to lighting the charcoal grill.

When grilling, getting the delicious smokey flavor to seep into the food is an art that can be partly perfected if you learn to light your charcoal grill well.

A number of individuals fear the process after they hear horror stories; however, if you follow the steps precisely and take all the safety measures necessary, you will be sure to have a seamless experience.

By the end of this read, you will definitely be a pro in the lighting department, and rest assured, you will be able to do so safely and in a hassle-free manner.

The Most Common Method To Light a Charcoal Grill

One of the best and most effective methods of lighting a charcoal grill is by using a chimney started. Before we get into the step-by-step instructions on how to do it, let’s get well-acquainted with what a chimney starter is.

In simple terms, it is a hollow metal cylinder, and it comes with holes on both ends. It also has a wire grate on its inner side and handles to make the process of pouring out the charcoal an easy one.

It isn’t easy to use one, but it can be done efficiently when some practice. All you have to do is use some newspaper or lighter cubes to light the coal and get it going.

Now that you know how a chimney starter works, what you need to do first is remove the grate from your grill. Next, depending on how much food you plan to grill, fill the chimney starter with charcoal. When this is done, place the lighter cubes on the grate and light them.

Now is where it gets a tad bit tricky, but don’t fear, you can master this step in no time.

What you need to do now is place the chimney starter on top of the lighter cubes that you just lit. The fire will not begin to burn the charcoal you placed inside the chimney starter.

The flames will not begin to increase, so it is advised to stay alert at all times. Post this step; it will take the coal about 15 minutes to light enough to be poured onto the grill.

The key is to know when the coal is ready. You can judge this by observing it carefully, and when the coal is a grey ash color, you can gear up to pour it onto the grate.

You can further arrange the coal based on whether you wish to cook over indirect or direct heat. Once this is done, you can put the grate back in place and cover it up.

This will ensure the grill is well heated before you begin your cook.

Ensure you place the chimney starter in a safe place once you pour the charcoal onto the grill, so no one is hurt or gets burnt.

This method is not very time-consuming and can be mastered in absolutely no time. It is truly a trusted method when it comes to lighting a charcoal grill and promises the best results.

Recomended: Oklahoma Joe's Half-Time Charcoal Grill Starter ( Amazon Link )

How Charcoal Chimney Starter Works?

You’re probably wondering why using a chimney starter is the best method to start a charcoal grill, and to understand this, it is essential to know how it works.

You already know how to use one efficiently, but here’s some insight into how the device works. A chimney starter uses the principles of thermodynamics and ensures that all the pieces of coal you place inside heat up in the most uniform and equal way possible.

This ensures that you get the best results when the coals are placed on the grate later, just before you pre-heat the grill. Chimney starters also have small holes all over to ensure ventilation.

This aids in the process of heating coal and gives you hot coal in just a matter of minutes. It also helps you grill without adding any unpleasant essence to your food like lighter fluid usually does.

With a chimney starter, you can have a delightful grilling experience.

The Fastest Way To Light a Charcoal Grill

One of the best and fastest ways to light your coal before grilling is by using a blow torch. Although this may sound quite absurd, it is one of the fastest and also efficient ways to get your grill going.

It also helps that one always knows exactly where their blow torch is, whereas every barbeque party had the ritual of someone looking for a matchbox.

The first thing to note is, do not use lighter fluid if you are following this step, as it is quite a common mistake people make while using a blow torch to light coal.

First, you need to fill your chimney started to the top and place it at the bottom of your grill. Now, you can make sure of newspaper and make it a ball and place it below the chimney starter. You must ensure you leave enough room for air while completing this step.

Now is when your blowtorch makes an entry. You must light the ball of newspaper with a blowtorch from all sides, and you are good to go. That was quick, wasn’t it?

This is because the blow torch uses pressurized fuel, thus helping the flame burn higher and hotter.

With this method, you do not have to worry about the flame reducing or having to stress about how to increase it halfway through your cook. This is a reliable and well researches way of lighting your charcoal grill, and it does not have a learning curve at all.

Well, here are some key points you need to keep in mind while using this technique. Always keep some distance between yourself and the flame to avoid burning your fingers.

Safest Method To Light Charcoal Grill

It is a rather common and rational fear to be scared of lighting coal for your charcoal grill. If you’re looking for a safe and way to get your grill up and running, I’m here to introduce you to lighter cubes that you can add to your grilling arsenal and have a grill like no other.

What you need to go first is place the bits of coal onto the bottom of your grill and ensure you place it evenly so the heat is distributed well.

Now, grab a piece of paper and place it on top of the coal in a concave shape, facing upwards. This ensures you have a suitable surface to place more coal.

Once you place the paper, add coal in the shape of a pyramid tapering at the top so that the coal lights effectively. During this step, you must also add lighter cubes along with the coal and ensure you place them in a manner that they are not too close to each other.

You can also follow the method mentioned above and skip the step that mentions you should add a piece of paper. Although it helps in the process, only placing coal and the lighter cubes is also as efficient.

Depending on climatic conditions, the coal should be heated and good to go in about 15 minutes. The advantage of using these cubes is that they are very affordable and of great quality.

They also work well for indoor barbeques and ensure that too much smoke is not created in the process. So, you can enjoy a pleasant grilling session even in the winter or rainy season.

In addition to all this, they are also extremely safe, especially if there are children around; it is advisable to use them. Using lighter cubes also ensures that your food is safe from chemicals and toxins that can be harmful if accidentally consumed.

Lighter cubes also save you the trouble of cleaning up the ashes after your cook, as they burn ash-free. They definitely rank higher on the safety index as compared to lighter fluid.

These cubes are so powerful that even adding just two of them to the pile of coals under the grill with be sufficient for you to have heated coals in just a matter of minutes.

You can also choose to wear mittens or gloves to ensure your safety. It is also advisable to always keep a fire extinguisher handy and keep the blow torch away from children’s reach to ensure the safety of all.

The Easiest method to Light Up Your Grill

If you’re looking for one of the easiest ways to light up your grill, this is the method for you. Using lighter fluid is not only an effective way to get your grill going, but it also does not require practice or learning.

What you need to do first is place the coal in the shape of a pyramid at the bottom of your grill.

This is done so that when lit, the heat from one piece of coal is transferred to another piece. It is essential to ensure that the bottom layer of this pyramid is evenly placed to get the best results.

Now you need to pour lighter fluid onto the coal and allow it to soak for about five minutes so that the fluid does not burn away instantly when lit.

This is a crucial step, and one must ensure that none of the fluid touches their skin or clothes. If you happen to spill some on your clothes, it is imperative that you change immediately and wash it off.

In case you think the coal is still dry, you may add some more fluid to it, as this will help the coal light faster. Once this is done, you must use a long lighter or a long match to light the coal.

For the fire to spread evenly across all the pieces of coal, ensure you light it in about three to four places, depending on the quantity of coal you are using.

It typically takes about 15 minutes for all the lighter fluid to burn off and the coal to be sufficiently lit. Once the coal has a red glow in the center and looks like a whitish-grey color, you are ready to begin your cook.

It is essential to wait for this sign to know the right moment at which you should start cooking.

This is because if you put your food on the grill before the coal is ready and the lighter fluid is burnt away, your food will end up tasting like the fluid itself; and no one would enjoy that.

As a safety tip, never add lighter fluid to the grill after you have placed your food on it. This will not help the coal to heat faster and can lead to dangerous accidents.

Things To Consider When Using Grill For The First Time

With summer around the corner, you’re probably thinking about having a barbeque party.

However, if you’re attempting to grill for the first time, there’s no need to worry, as here are some of the integral aspects you need to know about grilling.

The most important thing you need to know when it comes to using a grill for the first time is to coat the grates with high-heat cooking spray and allow the heat of the grill to burn off potential old debris from the grates before you start cooking.

Related: What Temp is Medium Heat On A Grill? | BBQ Grill Temperature

If your grill has porcelain enamel on it, it will not need to be sprayed before use. Hence, it is important to go through the manual that came with the grill thoroughly.

It is also essential to know that once lit, the grates get hot quickly.

To avoid them getting too hot and putting your food at the risk of burning, one must always keep the food marinated and prepped before lighting the grill.

So, when the grates are heated, you can place your food on them without wasting any time. Always remember to keep the vents at the bottom of the grill open so as to allow airflow.

Things To Consider When Using Charcoal Grill For The First Time

Related Questions:

Q. How Long Should You Let Charcoal Burn Before Cooking?

Ans: This is an integral step, and doing it incorrectly could hamper all your previous efforts of aiming to have a seamless grilling experience.

The minimum time for which you need to allow the coal to burn before placing your food on the grill is about 20 minutes. Anything less than this will not allow the coal to be prepped enough to cook your food sufficiently and to your expectations on your charcoal grill.

You must keep an eye on the coal once lit, and ensure that you begin your cook only with they look like they are glowing red and also appears to be the color of ash.

These are some of the indicators that your coal is now all set for you to cook on.

Leaving the coal burning for more than about 30 minutes can also be harmful to your cook, as cooking on extremely high heat may cause your food to burn instead of cook.

Further, it can also cause it to stick to the grate despite using cooking spray or oil.

Q. Should You Leave The Lid Open or Close When Heating Charcoal?

Ans: This is a very commonly asked question, as one usually assumes the lid must be closed while the coals are being lit so that they can heat quicker and better.

However, this thought process only applies to cooking food on the grill after the coal has been lit.

In order for the pieces of coal to light well and heat up to the maximum temperature possible, one must do quite the opposite. In other words, it is best to leave the lid of the grill wide open after you arrange the pieces of coal at the bottom of the grill.

Keeping the lid open allows for oxygen molecules to interact with the coal and the fire and allows it to continue burning. If closed, the supply of oxygen will be cut, and the flame will be automatically put out.

Hence, in order to keep the flame going, it is integral to keep the lid open at all times.

How To Speed Up The Charcoal Heating?

If you’re in a hurry to get your grill going and want to speed up the process of heating the charcoal, here’s what you need to do.

Always ensure you arrange the pieces of charcoal in the shape of a pyramid, like mentioned before.

The reason why it helps speed up the process of heating the charcoal is that charcoal is such a substance that easily transfers heat from one piece to another.

Hence, if even one bit of charcoal is exposed to the heat of the flame, all the charcoal with be heated in a matter of minutes. However, to achieve quicker results, it is advisable to ensure that you place an even layer of coal on the bottom of our charcoal grill.

If you do this, the coal will be heated evenly and spread to the top of the pyramid almost instantly. These are just a few ways in which you can have your coal ready in no time and start grilling.


As they say, knowledge is power, and now that you are well aware of some of the best ways in which you can get your charcoal grill going, the power lies in your hands.

All you need to do now is decide which method suits you best, ensure you have all the equipment needed and you’re all set to have one of the best barbeques of your life.

There’s no need to fret if you are doing this for the first time; with practice comes perfection. So why wait any longer? Get grilling today!

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