How to Light Charcoal for BBQ Like a Pro


How to Light Charcoal for BBQ Like a Pro

Cooking over the fire on the family BBQ is a beloved pastime for many Australians, and a key element of a successful BBQ is the charcoal grill. However, getting the charcoal lit can be a bit tricky (but it doesn’t have to be), especially if you're new to grilling. In this guide, we'll take you through the step-by-step process of lighting charcoal like a pro and give you all of the resources you need to get your charcoal BBQ lit in 2-5 minutes using one of our techniques! 

In this blog post you will learn: 

  1. Choosing the right charcoal: the differences between charcoal and briquettes
  2. Preparing Your Barbecue for Success
  3. How to use a charcoal chimney
  4. Why you should invest in a Charcoal starter wand
  5. Spreading out your charcoal for even cooking

I. Introduction

Lighting charcoal properly is essential to achieving the perfect temperature, cooking food evenly and the flavour of your food. 

II. Choosing the Right Charcoal




Choosing the right charcoal is the first step to lighting it like a pro. There are two types of charcoal: lump and briquettes. Lump charcoal is made from natural hardwood, while briquettes are made from a combination of charcoal and other materials such as sawdust and accelerants. Lump charcoal is preferred by many because it burns hotter, produces less ash, and doesn't contain any additives or chemicals. However, briquettes are more affordable and easier to light.




III. Preparing Your Grill

Before lighting your charcoal, make sure your grill is clean and ready to use. Remove any ash or debris from previous grilling sessions, and ensure the vents are open and unobstructed.

IV. Using a Charcoal Chimney Starter

A chimney starter is a metal cylinder with a handle used to light charcoal quickly and easily. We highly recommend Flaming Coals Fire Charcoal Chimney. This charcoal/heat bead fire starter makes lighting your cooking fuel a breeze.




Using the chimney starter is simple! Fill the chimney starter with your preferred charcoal and place 2-3 charcoal firelighters under the chimney starter light them using a match or wand lighter. This process should take around 15-20 minutes. You will know your charcoal is properly lit when the flame is shooting out the top of the chimney. 


Do you want to supercharge lighting your charcoal? Keep reading. 

V. Lighting Charcoal with a charcoal starter wand 

Lighting your charcoal with a Flaming Coals Charcoal Starter Wand is the quickest, cleanest and easiest way to light your charcoal. The whole process only takes about 2 to 5 minutes. 

The starter wand has two modes. The first is a high-powered heat wand that draws 2000w of power. Within a few seconds, your charcoal will be sparking. As soon as you see sparks flick your wand into the second mode which is a high-powered fan that pumps oxygen into the charcoal you are trying to light. 




There is a third option! Combining your Charcoal starter wand and charcoal chimney for even quicker and better results. The Flaming Coals Charcoal starter wand and Charcoal chimney were designed to work together. Again, load your charcoal into the chimney and insert your charcoal starter wand into the starter wand cutouts in the base of the charcoal chimney! The process is now quicker, cleaner and even more simple! 

VI. Spreading Out the Charcoal

Once the charcoal is hot and glowing, use the Flaming Coals Charcoal rake to spread the lit charcoal out evenly across the base of your BBQ. Allow the charcoal to settle for a minute or two before adding your food.  Pro-tip: you can add additional lump charcoal throughout the cook without having them ashed over. However, you cannot do this with briquettes due to the added chemicals. 




Another helpful piece of information: natural lump charcoal will impart flavour into your food, charcoal briquettes will not. You may wish to use a combination of both. Why do this? Well, using a briquette provides consistent heat and they burn for a long period of time. 

VII. Conclusion

Lighting charcoal like a pro takes a bit of practice, but with the right tools and techniques, it's easy to do. Choose the right type of charcoal, prepare your grill, use a chimney starter or charcoal starter wand and spread out the charcoal evenly. Whether you're grilling burgers, making gyros or maybe even firing up your smoker. Lighting the charcoal properly will ensure the perfect temperature and flavour every time.

Check out our range of charcoal

Check out our Fire Starter Accessories


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by: Michael Wilkie