Lighting a charcoal grill is your ticket to BBQ Flavor Town. Starting a charcoal grill can be quick and easy with a few simple steps to follow. We highlight two of the most common methods used by grill masters like you.
Step 1: Place a fire starter in the underneath chamber of the chimney allowing enough space for good air flow up the chimney chamber once the starter is lit.
Ideal starters include twisted or wadded-up paper, printing paper or commercial starters such as quick-light or tumbleweed fire starters.
Step 2: Add charcoal briquettes to the chimney and place it on the grill grate in the same spot where you would be adding charcoal for grilling.
NOTE: Do not set the charcoal chimney on a flammable surface.
The amount of charcoal added to the chimney depends on the specifications of your grill. Be sure to leave at least one inch of space between the charcoal and the top of the tower. When determining the amount of charcoal to light in a chimney remember that the more charcoal you use in your grill the hotter it will burn. For small or portable grills, it is recommended that you fill the charcoal chimney about 2/3rd of the way full. For regular backyard size grills the chimney can be fill up to approximately one inch from the top of the chimney. For extra-large grills it would be best to light two chimney towers, both about one inch from the top of the chimney.
Step 3: Light the ignitable fire starter on each side of the chimney. Flames will be visible from the top of the chimney indicating that the charcoal is lit.
Step 4: Pour charcoal briquettes and embers onto the grill being careful not to come in contact with any flying sparks.
Step 5: Top with grate when coals turn white
After a few more minutes, once the coals have turned grayish-white, spread them and cover with a grate and get to grilling.
Step 1: Arrange the charcoal into a neat mound. Piling the charcoal into a mound or pyramid will increase contact and help the fire spread. It’s best to arrange briquettes so that the edges touch but it’s important that there is enough space in the pyramid to allow air flow from grill vents.
Step 2: Add several pieces of natural fire starter (e.g., tumbleweed fire starter) to the pile of unlit charcoal and light immediately.
Step 3: Allow 20 to 30 minutes for briquettes to catch fire and ash over so that they are ready for a consistent and even burn for grilling. Once the coals have turned grayish-white, spread them and cover with a grate to continue grilling.