Like to know how to start a charcoal grill without lighter fluid? I have 5 alternative methods and describe how to use them. I also show the method I use.
There are many reasons to find out how not to use lighter fluid for starting charcoal.
Personally, the reason that I prefer not to use it is that I think adding a chemical to my cooking is not a good idea.
There are many people who don’t agree with me and say that all the chemicals are burned off before you start your actual cooking, but to me, it seems that I keep smelling it all the time.
5 Ways To Start Charcoal Without Lighter Fluid
There are many fire starters available. From blocks to tumble weeds and they are easy to use.
Most of them you just add to your charcoal. light them and wait for the charcoal to be ready.
Paper Towels Drenched In Cooking Oil
This is one of the easiest ones to use. Most of us have these 2 ingredients in our home.
Take a paper towel and soak it in any type of cooking oil. After that place it under the charcoal in you grill and light it.
This might as well be the easiest way to start your charcoal. All you have to do is light the torch and point it at your charcoal. This will light your charcoal and be ready to use in no time.
Tip: Read my review of the best propane torches.
Electric Charcoal Starters
Place the heating element in you coals and connect the device to an electric outlet. The hot element will start your charcoal. Just realize that you might have to use an extension cord.
Tip: Read my electric fire starter review.
I think that this is the fastest method to get a larger amount of charcoal getting started. It will take about 10 minutes to have your charcoal ready and begin grilling.
My Method To Start A Charcoal Grill
The method I have been using for many years is using a chimney starter and it works like a charm.
I have had several of them. From cheap to higher-priced, but the one I prefer is the Weber chimney charcoal starter.
Chimney starter basics
The basics of any chimney starter are the same. It is in the shape of a can and a few inches from the bottom is a grate.
On that grate, you put the charcoal briquettes and underneath the grate, you put a heat source.
I use a crumpled-up newspaper, some people use lighter cubes.
I prefer newspapers because they are free and I don’t like to use chemicals in my cooking.
Some people look for a way to start lump charcoal but I do this the same way.
A picture can maybe explain it all better.
In this picture, you can see how the chimney charcoal starter works.
The so-called chimney effect makes the air go from underneath the grate to the top and in that way adds oxygen to the fire.
Once all the coals are burning you pour the red hot coals on your grill and after a few minutes, when they turned grey, you can start grilling your meat.
My recommendation is the Weber chimney starter. As I mentioned I have had mine for many years and although it is a little higher in price I have had cheaper ones that did not last long. You get what you pay for in most cases.
There are 3 sizes and depending on your size grill and charcoal need you can pick the right one for you.
But sometimes a video explains it all better than I can.
I found a video of a first-time user of the Weber charcoal starter for you.
If you can not use a chimney starter you can have a look at my Electric charcoal starter reviews to see if this will be better for your situation.
In some apartment buildings, it is not allowed to use a chimney starter and this is a good alternative.
If you have another method feel free to share it with us.
Eddie van Aken
Eddie van Aken has run his own full-service restaurant for many years. Before that, he worked as a grill and buffet cook in some of the mainstream restaurants. With his experience using professional kitchen equipment, he is able to write expert reviews. You can read more about Eddie van Aken here.