Grilling 101: How to Start a Charcoal Grill Fire-NO Lighter Fluid!

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Starting Your Charcoal Grill

Grilling 101: don’t get all fired up (see what we did there) trying to get your charcoal grilled started. There are a couple easy ways to get your grill started so you can get cooking in no time.

Charcoal Chimeny

The first method is the classic charcoal chimney. We prefer to use jumbo, lump charcoal from Rockwood Charcoal. It’s a locally-owned company and we love the product. Rather than using newspapers, just use the paper bag that held the charcoal and rip it away, making it into little balls and put it underneath the chimney. When that’s full, it’s just a matter of lighting the paper. It takes very little fire to start this product.

Another method we use is a paper towel or a cotton ball and some olive oil. Wind the paper towel up really nice and tight. Twist it long ways and continue until you form it into something that resembles a ball. Keep those fibers very tight. When finished, soak it in olive oil. Light it and put it under the charcoal chimney to get those coals going.

When you hear the sound of what “broken glass,” that’s when you know that charcoal is getting nice and hot.

Grill Fire Starter

Another method is the common fire starter. We like to use the Tumbleweed Firestarters from Royal Oaks. Using a fire starter means you don’t need any paper in the bottom of the chimney. Just set it and forget it. It’s going to take about 30 minutes for the charcoal to get going.

grill fire starter
Grill Fire Starter

How to Start a Charcoal Grill

Chimneys are great but you can start your pit without one. Just like the chimney, use the remnants of a charcoal bag to form paper balls. Put them at the bottom of your grill. If you use a Weber kettle, you can start it from the bottom. Either way, cover the paper with the charcoal and light it up. Put in additional charcoal. Then you bring it into a pyramid structure, just like a campfire. We recommend using a pair of heat resistant gloves designed specifically for the grill to arrange the charcoal. Once you start to hear that “ping, ping, ping” sound, you’ll know you’re on your way to having a fire started.

how to start grill
How to Start Grill

Once you have the coals hot, you’re ready to cook! One of our favorite grilling recipes are these crispy grilled wings or our grilled ribeyes. We’d love to hear from you in the comments below, how do you start your grill? Check out our videos and subscribe to our YouTube channel so you can keep learning more about cooking made easy!


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