How to Use a Charcoal Chimney Starter

The trick to having a good grill is to ensure that your combustible components get the grill to the perfect temperature. There is a heated debate regarding why many grillers ask whether gas or charcoal is the best option, but this is an individual preference.

Those who go with charcoal may get tired of using lighter fluid or not having it handy. When they don’t have it, it seems they can’t actually utilize the charcoal, but that is not the case.

In fact, if you love to grill with charcoal, investing in a charcoal chimney starter is a great idea. Not only will you not have to utilize lighter fluid, but it tends to get the coals to the perfect temperature quicker because they’re stacked on each other instead of laid out.

But if you’re unfamiliar with it, you may wonder how to use this new tool. So we’re going to go over what it is, why you should use it, and how to use a charcoal chimney starter. Let’s get right into it!

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Charcoal Chimney: What Is It? And Why Use It?

A charcoal chimney is a tool used when grilling with charcoal that allows the charcoals to get to a hot and even temperature. Instead of using a lighter or lighting fluid, it utilizes a combustible like paper which then allows the charcoal to flame from there. The unit has the charcoal stacked in it, which is then lit from the bottom, and it begins to get the charcoal heated.

But why should you invest in a charcoal chimney? Here are some of the benefits you can see by using this technique:

  • When the coals are poured out into the grill from the charcoal chimney, they have been heated evenly, which means that there will be a steadier source of heat. The coverage of the chimney itself also protects the heat from the wind and the weather, which means that they will not burn out as easily as other options.
  • People often don’t want to invest in new pieces of equipment for anything because they’re too expensive. But a charcoal chimney is super affordable and can come in handy at many different times of the day, making it a good investment that brings value.
  • On top of that, it is safer than using something like lighter fluid which could cause flare-ups and have toxic fumes.
  • When grilling, many people like to utilize a two-zone grilling method, and a charcoal chimney can make this much easier.

What Do You need?

So you can see there are many benefits you can take advantage of if you choose to invest in a charcoal chimney starter. That being said, when you do this, there are a few things that you’re going to need. Of course, you’ll need the chimney starter, charcoal, and a combustible newspaper or something to get the fire started.

Close up man with gloves chimney starter

How to Use a Charcoal Chimney Starter?

Now that you know all the benefits, it’s time to look at how to use a charcoal chimney starter. It is very simple, but we’re going to take it step by step so that you can understand exactly how simple it is.

Buy One

The very first thing you have to do is head out and find one. This is a metal tube where you place the briquettes and heat them. There are many great options out there, and all you have to do is go to any store and look where the charcoal and grilling stuff is. There you should be able to find one. Our favorite is the Weber brand chimney starter that you can find on, Kingsford chimney starter is also a good option.

Stack Coals

Once you have it, you will begin using it the next time you set out to grill. You’re going to take the chimney and place charcoal in there, setting it on the grate so the charcoal doesn’t fall through. Then you’re going to create a tent of briquette until the chimney is full. Ensure that the below grates are firmly in place, so there’s no chance of any charcoal briquettes falling through.

Light It

After you have it started, you will want to place the object you’re using as a combustible and light the charcoal. Many people use lighter cubes or other already made combustibles, and others choose to use newspaper with vegetable oil as their combustible.

Either way, you’re going to light from the bottom of the charcoal and let the flames begin to engulf the briquettes until they are lit.

Tip: you can use a camp stove or do like I do and use your side burner on your gas grill. Turn the grill burner on high and let the charcoals on the bottom start burning, then move to the next step.

Let Them Heat

Now the important part of the process starts. Once you have the charcoal lit, you will want to allow them to heat for a few minutes. The best way to know when it’s time to go to the next step is when you see the charcoal is ashed over and glowing red from within. Typically this should take about 15 minutes.

Pour Into Grill

Once the charcoal briquettes are hot and red, you will want to pour them into the grill itself. Make sure to do this carefully as you want to reduce the risk of sparks flying up or the chance of any bricks spilling out and causing a fire. Once you have poured the briquettes into the grill, you will want to close the lid and give it another 10 minutes.

By giving it this 10 minutes, you’re allowing the heat to build up within so that you can have a nice hot grill ready for whatever you’re going to put on the flames for your friends and family.

We have a large library of videos on YouTube. In the video below, you can see an example of lighting a charcoal chimney at 9:50 in the video. Check out the channel for other useful videos and subscribe for regular content.

Final Thoughts

There are many methods you can use to light your charcoal, but a charcoal chimney starter might be one of the most cost-efficient and effective ways. It’s a simple tool that can make quite a difference when it comes to the quality of the food you are cooking on your grill.

So we hope that our look at this amazing grilling accessory has helped you decide if this kind of tool is right for you and your future barbeques. Happy grilling!