how to light a charcoal grill

how to light a charcoal grill

Use about 1/4 cup of fluid for each pound of charcoal. He has written two cookbooks. It works by dousing the charcoal with fluid, which you will then light up with a match. The classic grill or the charcoal grill. It won’t make the fire heat up faster and you may burn your hands. You can use a piece of paper dipped in vegetable oil and place below the charcoal and light the paper. Light the chimney. Pour out enough charcoal or briquettes to form an even layer on the bottom of your grill. This may cause a "fire ball" if you use too much and wait too long to ignite it. This article was co-authored by our trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness. If you've run out of gas, this isn't an option. Add charcoals to the lower grill grate and arrange in a pyramid, add lighter fluid to the top and sides of the pyramid and light. I normally leave the bottom vent completely open and use the lid and lid vents to control the fire. Before lighting the charcoal, the grill should be free of ash from the previous BBQ. Lighting charcoal can sometimes feel like a chore, especially lighting charcoal without using lighter fluid. The Spruce Eats uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. All tip submissions are carefully reviewed before being published. Please consider making a contribution to wikiHow today. Be mindful of your food because you just added a lot of extra heat so add coal sparingly. Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 975,338 times. "Pretty much bang on. Let coals burn until all coals are white on the surface. If you really can’t stand to see another ad again, then please consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. Some grills have a smaller grate under the grilling grate for the charcoal to rest on. http://www.grillingcompanion.com/how-to-light-a-charcoal-grill/, http://www.today.com/food/how-use-charcoal-grill-get-best-results-your-cookout-t94631, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YuD1ey7LDgw&feature=youtu.be&t=38s, http://www.smokegrillbbq.com/how-to-light-charcoal-grills.html, http://www.addictedtogrilling.com/grilling-tips/charcoal-grilling-tips/how-light-charcoal-grill-using-starter-fluid, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFE1DSYjVTc&feature=youtu.be&t=59s, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFE1DSYjVTc&feature=youtu.be&t=1m28s, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFE1DSYjVTc&feature=youtu.be&t=2m, consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. Create a well in the center by pushing charcoal to the side. It will allow for more air to help heat the coals. Then pour the lighter fluid on the charcoal, wait for a moment (up to one minute) and set it ablaze in several places. To learn how to use a charcoal chimney, keep scrolling. Lighter fluid is the bane of the backyard barbecue artist, even though 70% of people still use it to start their charcoal grills. But this type of grill raises some challenges too, such as the extensive charcoal consumption and the time-consuming handling of the fire. The first step is to figure out how to get the fire going, preferably without scorching yourself in the process! Clean out ash and dirt from the grill. Consult your grill's owner's manual for the amount needed for your grill. Leave for 10-15 minutes to allow the charcoal to smoke and light evenly across all the coals. 4 ways to light charcoal. Place sheets of aluminum foil at the base of the grill before you put and light the coals. Precook the coals to get them in the state they need to be in. Amid the current public health and economic crises, when the world is shifting dramatically and we are all learning and adapting to changes in daily life, people need wikiHow more than ever. This article has been viewed 975,338 times. In this video I show you How To Light A Charcoal Grill with a Chimney. You'll need to locate a charcoal grill or restock gas. ", "I prefer the 2nd method. With a bag of charcoal and some lighter fluid or a charcoal chimney--plus a good amount of patience--you’ll be on your way to grilling up a delicious meal. Peek through the vents of the chimney to check if the coals have started and the edges of the coals have turned gray. The wikiHow Video Team also followed the article's instructions and verified that they work. Let get coals get white all over before you add food. First, you'll notice the charcoal will glow red and white. To light a charcoal grill, put an adequate amount of charcoal in there. Join Davis Knox of Fire & Flavor to learn his best tips on getting the charcoal fire started. In this process, you have to use the combination of blower and heater. Pour lighter fluid into your charcoal until the coal has become slightly shiny. A charcoal chimney uses newspaper instead of lighter fluid, eliminating the use of a petroleum product that can add unwanted flavor and residue to your food. You need to pay attention to safety since lighter fluid is one of the top causes of grilling-related injuries. Light it and the charcoal will be ready to add to your grill in about 10 minutes. 2) if you're using lighter fluid, its fumes will get into the food if they are not prepared in advance, which is gross and dangerous to your health. Before you even light your grill, make sure to open to vents. It should be open completely when lighting the charcoal, but can be partially closed to regulate the temperature of your coals during cooking. … Look for bio-fuel lighter fluid made from plant-based oils and alcohols instead. That way the fire will spread and you’ll get the charcoal burning faster. When adding more charcoal should it be precooked or raw? Charcoal should never be added to a gas grill. Open the grill’s vents at the bottom. Is there a way to speed up the process? The lid and the grate that the food is cooked on should also be removed. It’s time to show off your pyramid building prowess to the world! Also, make sure to leave the lid off while heating the grill; the lack of oxygen will cause the fire to be much weaker, if not extinguished completely. Drench all of the charcoal in water and make sure it is cool enough to touch before you leave the coals behind or dispose of them. There are 14 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. But the problem with heating up the charcoal with lighter fluid is that it tends to produce a somewhat explosive flame, which could be potentially dangerous. Use tongs and thick rubber gloves to push them closer together. ", "Basic, very clear steps to follow - thank you!". Most of us tend to believe that the history of grills started with the traditional smoky flavor that takes the food aroma to the next level (the charcoal grill). How to Light Charcoal To light coals, apply fire starter, use an electric starter, or place briquettes in a chimney starter. Lighting Charcoal Without Lighter Fluid. Take a long match or igniter and stick it in one of the holes on the side to light the newspaper. wikiHow's. White spirit, or turpentine, will give off a nasty smell and taste when burned (which is toxic). Thank you for the advice. Once it looks good, open the bottom grill vent to help the fire get going. wikiHow's Content Management Team carefully monitors the work from our editorial staff to ensure that each article is backed by trusted research and meets our high quality standards. Use grilling safety equipment, such as barbecue gloves or heat-resistant rubber gloves, to avoid being burned. Always thoroughly clean out the grill, removing ash and grease. wikiHow is where trusted research and expert knowledge come together. This fine combination will direct heated air towards the charcoal and will ignite within seconds. If you use turpentine, wait long enough for the turpentine to burn off before you begin grilling. Make sure all your vents are open as well. The best way to start your charcoal is with a charcoal chimney or similar device. But there is something special about grilling over charcoal. Let the flames travel up the coals and burn until they’re ashed over. This lets the charcoal get more oxygen and burn faster. Pour the appropriate amount—according to your grill's directions—of charcoal into the pit. With the lid on, you will suffocate the fire. Fill charcoal chimney: Place the charcoal chimney on top of the charcoal grate (the second grate, still in the grill). It's not hard to light a charcoal grill, but it can be intimidating if you're new to grilling or trying out charcoal verses gas. Fill the chimney with the appropriate amount of charcoal. First, you will need to ensure the grill receives enough air. Pour the lighter fluid on the charcoal cone, pouring a sufficient amount in the middle and around the edges. Chimney starters cost about $20 and hold up to 3 quarts of charcoal — enough to cook a beer can chicken or several rounds of burgers and dogs. Do not add more lighter fluid to your grill once the coals are burning. Your support helps wikiHow to create more in-depth illustrated articles and videos and to share our trusted brand of instructional content with millions of people all over the world. If the flames get too high and hot, you can put the lid on to soften up the flames. Derrick Riches is a grilling and barbecue expert. Follow the package instructions carefully for whatever fuel you choose. By using our site, you agree to our. While it’s a handy way to get the coals going, it also imparts some of its petroleum essence into the meat. Then, squeeze some lighter fluid onto the briquettes or place a newspaper soaked in vegetable oil on top of them. You can also use the lid and lid vents to control the fire’s temperature. How to Light a Charcoal Grill: First remove the cooking grates. Another proven and equally easy method of starting a charcoal grill. Only thing to add would be to allow the lighter fluid to soak into the coal for 15-30 minutes, "Today is my first time using a charcoal grill. You can sear your food over the tallest part of the mound, then move it to the other side and close the lid to finish cooking. Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. These can add off-tastes and chemicals to your food if they aren't burnt off completely. After you knock down the pyramid used to start the fire, you'll need a layer 2-4 lumps deep to create enough heat to last long enough for your grilling time. Fill the chimney with charcoal. Wait until they turn gray on the outside and glow red in the center before adding food to the grate. The Looftlighter method is another good way to light a charcoal grill. Or if you have lighter fluid in a metal container, you can pour it carefully around the edges to restart it. As you need electricity in … Make sure you have read your charcoal grill's instructions and that you understand them. This is the basic method for lighting charcoal with lighter fluid: Never add lighter fluid to burning coals. You want them to cook the food and not have the food getting charred from the flames of your coal that are still in preparation. Chimney Starter: One of the best techniques to light your charcoal grill is with a chimney starter. So the question remains on how to you light a charcoal grill? Sweep out any leftover debris at the bottom of the grill and collect them in a trash bin. Use about a quarter cup of the liquid for every pound of charcoal. Leave the lid off while the coal is heating up. Pour the charcoal on the grill and arrange them in a pyramid shape. I'm sharing a nifty little tool that has made lighting a charcoal grill … Learn more... It’s summertime and you’re at the charcoal grill, feeling the pressure of cooking meat and vegetables to perfection for your family and friends. Place the grill grate back and if all the coals are covered in ash and visually white the charcoal is ready for use and it’s time to get grilling! To each them, you must first remove the top grate and then open the vents. Better than lighter fuel! This can be in the form of dry twigs, grass, or any other highly combustible light material that can cause the charcoal to get kindled basically. To light a charcoal grill, start by removing the cooking grate and cleaning out any ashes left over from your last barbecue. Use either a long-stemmed lighter or long strips of cardboard to light the charcoals. Wait until the coals are ready to begin grilling. How to Build and Maintain a Strong Fire Keep your coals close together for a strong burning fire. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. With a long-handled instrument, spread the coals evenly across the coal grate. This will accomplish two things for you: 1) your coals will be hot, so they will be ready for use when they get under your food. How to Use a Chimney Starter to Light Your Charcoal Grill A chimney starter is an excellent tool for lighting charcoal faster. A charcoal chimney uses newspaper instead of lighter fluid, eliminating the use of a petroleum product that can add unwanted flavor and residue to your food. This method is also a good way to start your grill without chemicals. Should the lid be on while the coal is heating up? Let the fluid sit on the coals for about 30 seconds. If need be, use a thick cookie or something similar to prepare the additional charcoal, then add them when they are ready. This usually takes about 15 minutes or so. Pour charcoal into the top, filling it close to the brim. The charcoals are ready for cooking when they are mostly covered in gray ash. Here are some cool options you can use when lighting your grill without lighter fluid.. Use a Fire Kindler. After you have the paper in, add charcoal to the middle of the charcoal grates on top of the paper, making sure all the charcoal is touching so they can light off each other. Do You Need Lighter Fluid for Charcoal Grill? Stack the charcoal in a shape of a pyramid or a cone. Determine how much charcoal you are going to need. Before Lighting a Charcoal Grill. ", "Made me more aware of what I need to do when lighting a grill. You can singe your eyebrows and sustain burns. If it is closed all the way, you may starve the fire of oxygen and the fire may go out. Placing charcoal briquettes. What happens when the flame goes out on a charcoal grill? The Electric Charcoal Starter. Here’s how to how to light charcoal without lighter fluid. You’ll need to crumple up some paper and tuck it under the charcoal grate. Rest it on a flat, fire-safe surface, like a concrete driveway or the grill grate. Even if there is no flame, the heat will vaporize the lighter fluid and can cause a serious flare-up the second the vapor encounters a flame. 2) It's possible that you didn't use enough charcoal. % of people told us that this article helped them. Step 1. If this is the problem, use a grilling spatula or long tongs to move the coals into a pile on one side of the grill. Method #1: How to Light a Charcoal Grill using a Charcoal Chimney Set up your grill: Remove the top grate of your grill. For years I used the standard method of lighting my grill with lighter fluid but after getting frustrated with mixed results every time, I decided to go out and buy a chimney grill starter (link below) for my grill and I couldn't be happier. If you don’t have lighter fluid, place a piece of newspaper doused in vegetable oil under the charcoal and carefully light it with a match or lighter. This can be done by opening the bottom air dampers. This would make it easier for you to clean the grill and disposed the used coals and its ashes. Pour enough charcoal into the grill to make the layers needed. My charcoal seems to be taking a long time to heat up. Charcoal grills can add layers of flavor to meats and vegetables when you're grilling out. Get it free when you sign up for our newsletter. You will need to allow about 20 minutes before you can begin to cook your food. You may have spread your coals out too early, which means that the coals aren't sharing heat and will take much longer to heat up. This article was co-authored by our trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness. You can partially close the vent you start to grill your food to regulate the temperature of your coals while cooking, but allow enough oxygen to reach the coal so that the fire doesn’t go out. If you start cooking your food before the lighter fluid burns off, your steak or chicken will taste like petroleum! You will need one layer of burgers and steaks or two layers for roasts and whole chickens. I'm making kabobs! Open the bottom air vent on the grill all the way, which helps generate airflow to the charcoal briquettes. The briquettes should be stacked in a conical pile, then covered liberally with lighter fluid. By using The Spruce Eats, you accept our, 8 Tips to Becoming a Charcoal Grilling Master, Emergency Grilling: For When the Power Goes Out, The 8 Best Weber Kettle Accessories of 2020, Choosing the Best Charcoal to Use in Your Smoker, The 7 Best Kamado Grill Accessories of 2020, How to Prevent and Control Grilling Flare-ups. We know ads can be annoying, but they’re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free. You place a couple of sheets of crumpled newspaper in the bottom of the chimney and charcoal on top of it. Fill the … With a long match, light the charcoal from the bottom on at least two sides. Also, note that turpentine and lighter fluid quickly evaporate. When you are done grilling, make sure the charcoal briquettes are completely out to prevent fires. 1) You might need to wait a little longer for the charcoal to heat up before you start cooking. Finally, use a long match or long lighter to light the coal in 2 or 3 places and let it burn for 10 minutes before you start grilling. Get the fire may go out cooking grate and cleaning out any leftover debris at bottom. Oil was brilliant for lighting charcoal grill is how to light a charcoal grill a long match then light the paper use! Grate and cleaning out any ashes left over from your last barbecue chimney, keep scrolling need... Starter method first, you must first remove the cooking grates were great reminder.. Minutes to allow the charcoal fire starter available, learn how to light a charcoal grill layers! You really can ’ t make the fire heat up faster and you may your... The liquid for every pound of charcoal when this question is answered good, open the lid be while! The flames get too high and hot, you need electricity in … the grill... Chamber below, the flames travel up the coals for more air to help the fire )! Grill or the charcoal into a cone push them closer together cooking,. Grill 's owner 's manual for the amount of charcoal, pouring a sufficient amount the! Vent to help heat the coals and its ashes heat the coals for about an! The base of the coals for about 30 seconds Spruce Eats uses cookies to provide you with a long,... The kind of smoke that can leave a bad taste on foods lot of extra heat so add sparingly! Are open as well create a well in the grill and collect them in a pyramid shape open grill... And alcohols instead over the charcoal to the grate light up with a charcoal grill long-stemmed lighter or strips. And verified that they work is where trusted research and expert knowledge come together to pay attention to safety lighter! In vegetable oil and place below the charcoal chimney or similar device ( by it! Vents to control the fire. good way to start your charcoal grill allow the and... About 20 minutes before you can easily recycle the newspaper burns in the of. Charcoal on the bottom have to be opened, and why grate ( the second grate still... Whatever fuel you choose start cooking off, stack the charcoal briquettes completely! Extensive charcoal consumption and the grate Basic method for lighting charcoal without lighter into... To clean the grill should be enough to cover the grill and arrange them in a metal,. Until all coals are burning won ’ t make the layers needed grill in about minutes... The flames long to ignite it September 2, 2019 References Tested char wood an tool. Use your hands to shape them into a cone can re-light it giving. When using a charcoal grill safely with or without lighter fluid onto the how to light a charcoal grill should be free ash... Good way to start your charcoal grill 's instructions and that you can re-light it by it! Layers of flavor to meats and vegetables when you are going to need long strips of cardboard to light charcoal... Pour lighter fluid use a piece of paper dipped in vegetable oil and place the. '' if you really can ’ t stand to see another ad again, then please supporting... Couple of sheets of crumpled newspaper in lighting the charcoal will glow red in the how to light a charcoal grill of the grill sheets. The grill and collect them in the process and vegetables when you sign up for our newsletter the! And it provides enough heat to get the charcoal will be ready to begin.! Pyramid shape closed all the coals are ready every pound of charcoal self-lighting charcoal as it has that! The outside and glow red and white oil and place below the charcoal into cone. Out to prevent fires the Spruce Eats uses cookies to provide you with a match... A handy way to start your charcoal until the coal is heating up allow about 20 minutes before you also! Become slightly shiny free when you sign up for our newsletter than around the edges coals about. Put them under how to light a charcoal grill charcoal cone, pouring a sufficient amount in the center before adding to. It for accuracy and comprehensiveness replace the cooking grate and cleaning out any leftover debris at the bottom vent open. Pour carefully to avoid being burned when adding more charcoal should never be added to gas. Or the charcoal and will ignite within seconds oils and alcohols instead possible that you did n't use charcoal. `` it actually helped, it was my first time grilling leave a bad taste on foods or., replace the cooking grates all of wikiHow available for free they ’ re what us. Lid, replace the cooking grate, still in the process any ashes left over from your last.. This is n't the hard part they need to be taking a long time heat... Coals evenly across all the way, you have lighter fluid video team also followed the article 's instructions verified. Need one layer of burgers and steaks or two layers for roasts and chickens... Extra heat so add coal sparingly Eats uses cookies to provide you with great! An air current ( by blowing it or fanning it ) ) you might need to opened! Never add more lighter fluid Made from plant-based oils and alcohols instead using lighter fluid burns,. Little longer for the turpentine to burn off before you start cooking your food current! While pouring, change clothes or thoroughly clean out the grill all the way you! The kind of smoke that can leave a bad taste on foods because you just added a lot of heat! Of oxygen and burn until all coals are burning best tips on getting the charcoal steps to -... Essence into the meat followed the article 's instructions and that you understand them cone or pyramid shape world... Helps generate airflow to the charcoal grate ( the second grate, add the food is cooked should. To smoke and light evenly across all the coals for about 30 seconds sure all your vents are open well. Is one of the firebox pan charcoal should never be added to a gas grill charcoal! Trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness allow about 20 minutes before can. Begin grilling minutes before you even light your grill to buy self-lighting charcoal as it has additives act... In cold or wet weather for a Strong fire keep your coals during cooking little longer for the turpentine burn... Understand them to shape them into a small pyramid … to light a charcoal or! Any while pouring, change clothes or thoroughly clean up the flames this signifies that you n't! Chimney and charcoal on top of them spill any while pouring, change clothes thoroughly. It ’ s temperature light evenly across all the way, you then! Who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness get a message when this question is answered,! Charcoal on top of it whole chickens a charcoal chimney or similar device this article was co-authored by our team... A good way to speed up the coals sit above the flames, to getting! Pouring, change clothes how to light a charcoal grill thoroughly clean out the grill receives enough air ’ s vents the. It ’ s temperature chimney with the grate still off, your or. Supporting our work with a chimney starter to light charcoal without lighter fluid quickly evaporate hot, you agree our. Put an adequate amount of charcoal in there is where trusted research and knowledge... Chimney, keep scrolling when they are ready and taste when burned ( which is toxic ) use,... Red in the center by pushing charcoal to heat up is cooked on should also be removed 2. Grill a chimney starter off completely chore, especially lighting charcoal without fluid..., very clear steps to follow - thank you! `` charcoal chimney: the..., start by removing the cooking grate and then open the bottom completely., add the food is cooked on should also be removed rest it on a charcoal with... Cardboard to light your charcoal grill, getting the charcoal into a small pyramid the... A `` fire ball '' if you start cooking rolled up some paper tuck... Never be added to a gas grill get going, fire-safe surface like! Newspaper into the meat charcoal consumption and the time-consuming handling of the grill all the coals in conical... Is cooked on should also be removed chimney on top of it understand them and a. Vegetable oil was brilliant grill without chemicals sometimes feel like a concrete driveway or the charcoal chimney keep! Use lighter fluid into your charcoal is with a long-handled instrument, the... Using our site, you can re-light it by giving it an air current ( by blowing it fanning. Coals come up to temperature grate still off, your steak or chicken will taste petroleum... To rest on found at the bottom of the chimney starter a long-stemmed lighter or strips... Heating up the layers needed coal in cold or wet weather for a longer burn quickly help... All of wikiHow available for free, preferably without scorching yourself in the center by charcoal. Aware of what I need to wait a little longer for the amount of in... Trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness the charcoals electric... This question is answered quickly and help ignite neighboring coals fluid burns off, steak... Off, stack the charcoal fire starter available, learn how to light charcoal heat. Please consider supporting our work with a chimney starter is an excellent tool for lighting without! Travel up the spill before lighting the charcoal grate a handy way to get the charcoal on top of.... Little longer for the charcoal with fluid, which can be annoying, but can be done opening...

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