How to light charcoal - 4 ways to fire up the BBQ
If there's no fire, there's no smoke - and no BBQ either.
When you're cooking with charcoal getting it fired up and ready to cook with is obviously pretty important. How you light charcoal can be the difference between waiting less than 10 minutes or well over half an hour for the BBQ to be ready to cook on. Here are a few charcoal starting options for your next cook.
1. Charcoal starter fluid or gel
This method involves soaking your charcoal in a flammable fluid before lighting it. In theory, the fluid should burn off before you start cooking, but some BBQ-ers swear they can still taste accelerant in the food - not so appetising.
Fire-up Speed - Medium
The Process - It's easy but pouring flammable liquid on the charcoal just before you cook your food? It wouldn't be my first choice.
2. Firelighters / Starter cubes
Firelighters or charcoal starters like these Firelighters can be used by placing them strategically in a pile of charcoal, lighting them and then waiting for the charcoal to start, spread the fire and gradually get to cooking temperature.
Fire-up Speed - Slow
The Process - This method is pretty easy and works fine if you get the pile built right but you need to be patient - it's the slowest of the lot.
3. Starter chimney
A starter chimney helps get the charcoal going more quickly. Fill the starter chimney with charcoal or briquettes, light a firelighter or two and place the chimney over the top. The charcoal at the bottom of the chimney lights and because it's all sitting close together in a vertical tube the rest doesn't take long to fire up too. When it's all good and hot carefully (and with the appropriate clothing and gloves on) pour your charcoal into the correct spot in the BBQ for cooking.
Fire-up Speed - Pretty quick - about 20 minutes give or take.
The Process - It works really well and is one of the quicker options. Just be careful when transferring firey hot charcoal to your BBQ.
4. Charcoal Starter Wand
If you have a charcoal starter wand, all you need to do is put the charcoal where you want it and use the wand to first ignite the charcoal in a few spots then use the wand's fan to distribute the flames to unlit areas. The convenience of having the charcoal already in the BBQ when you light it and the speed to go from cold to 'now that's a fire' make this the best option for lighting the charcoal in your BBQ.
Fire-up Speed - The fastest way to light a charcoal BBQ that we know of - it only takes a few minutes
The Process - It's an easy way to get your charcoal lit quickly, cleanly and without having to move it after it's hot. The best option on the list.
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by: Mat Holbrook