How To Start A Charcoal Grill – 4 Easy Ways

charcoal grill with burning coal

When you start looking for how to start a charcoal grill you find many ways to do that.

Key Takeaway

4 products to start a charcoal grill.

  • Starter Blocks.
  • Electric charcoal starter.
  • Propane torch.
  • Chimney starter.

I remember when I bought my first charcoal grill and had to figure out how to get the thing started.

I will give you a list of the most popular ways and my preferred way the the end.

Fire Starter Blocks

I strongly believe that for people who are getting started with cooking on a charcoal grill, this is the best way to get started with firing up the charcoal.

fire starter block

There are many types of fire starter blocks that you can choose from.

They range from wood shaving to blocks that are soaked in flammable ingredients.

How They Work

Basically, you pile up your charcoal and place a fire starter block at the bottom of that pile.

After lighting your block it will start the charcoal. All you do is wait till it is ready to use.

Electric Charcoal Starters

As the name already says these are basically heating coils that you have to plug into an outlet.

electric fire starter

How They Work

The heating coil you stick in the charcoal and the heat of the coil will start your charcoal.

I have a whole page where I give you my best electric fire starters and how to use them.

Another type of electric fire starter uses very hot air with a temperature of sometimes up to 250o degrees Fahrenheit.

This will start your charcoal very fast. One of the most popular ones is the Looftlighter. I think that one is a little high price so I found several Looftlighter alternatives for you.

Propane Torches

This is an option I am exploring at the moment after watching some videos and I am thinking about using my weed burner to test if this would work for me.

propane torch

How They Work

The hot flame is pointed close at the charcoal first and will light it.

After that move it a little away to spread the flame to a larger area and the airflow will help to spread the heat.

The big advantage is that it will start your charcoal superfast from what I have seen in videos.

Read my best propane torches to start charcoal recommendations.

Charcoal Chimney Starter

I have been using this method for many years and am still thinking that this is the easiest way to start a charcoal grill.

charcoal chimney starter

You can read my how to use a chimney starter for more details and images but here are the basic steps.

Crumble up some newspaper and place it under the chimney starter.

Alternatively, you can also use a firestarter block as I mentioned above.

Fill the chimney with your choice of charcoal.

Light the newspaper

Wait till the charcoal is lit and ready.

How To Start A Charcoal Grill – My Experience.

I have tried many ways to start the charcoal in my charcoal grills and up to now I prefer to use my Weber chimney starter.

Why Weber? Because I have tried several other brands and found that my Weber lasted me about 10 years.

Some of the other ones I had most of the time only lasted one or maybe 2 years.

I am exploring the use of a propane torch and the advantage might be that you only have to use them for a short while to get that fire going.

Another pro might be that while the charcoal starts to burn you are also heating up the grill and this might save time.

For a regular charcoal grill, this might not matter too much. However, for a Kamado-type grill with all the ceramic that needs to be heated up, it might be a big advantage.

Eddie van Aken

Eddie van Aken has years of experience in running his full-service restaurant and with this came working with using and dealing with all types of kitchen equipment. With his experience, he can find all the pros and cons of grills and add them to the grill reviews and the outdoor cooking tips he is writing about. You can read more on the About page for Eddie van Aken

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