how to start a charcoal grill

Load one layer of charcoal close together, near the center of the grill. Clean your grill grates with a grill brush before and after use. You simply fill the space under the wire rack with a few sheets of wadded-up newspaper or a few paraffin … This is an easy way to evenly and quickly light charcoal and takes minimum skill to use. Closing the vents deprives the fire of oxygen, lowering the temperature. Either way, cover the paper with the charcoal and light it up. Regardless of the charcoal arrangement, place the cooking grate into position and close the lid. Fill your chimney with the necessary amount of charcoal for your grilling. Place the cooking grate in the grill over the charcoal grate. Put the lid on the kettle and double check that the lid vent is completely open. Opening the vents feeds the fire, raising the temperature. Don't wait until you're almost out of briquettes to add more. Remove the grill grates and set aside. It burns cleanly and is uniform in size and quality for dependable results every time. Don’t skimp on this step—a subpar charcoal brand will be harder to light, which will lead to more frustration and fewer delicious burgers. Once the coals are entirely white, spread the coals and add the grate. You can set up indirect cooking zones for slow cooking or smoking and to grill foods at  different temperatures. Keep the top and bottom vents open to get the hottest temperature. Gently grab the handle and pour the coals out. STEP 2: Open the lid and vents on your grill . We like the Looflighter Electric Firestarter ($80), but there are lots of electric firestarters you can pick up and use for your grill. How to Start a Charcoal Grill. The lid should be open while you arrange and light your charcoal. Our guide to starting your charcoal grill will give you a couple different techniques for lighting your charcoal fast. Though it would be much easier, you can’t just dump your charcoal onto your grill and hope for the best. This allows the heat to build up properly, as if the coals were cooking inside the grill this whole time. Plug your electric firestarter in, then place the nose directly in your coals. Once they’re hot, use tongs to reposition coals to create indirect heat zones. In addition, charcoal lighter fluid is made of either petroleum (mineral spirits) or alcohol (ethanol and methanol) which are regulated and even restricted in some areas because they have the potential of causing photochemical smog. Lighting charcoal can be a daunting task, especially for new charcoal grillers. There are a few different types of charcoal to choose from. Closing the vents deprives the fire of oxygen, lowering the temperature. Lump charcoal, a favorite among grilling purists, has a more natural composition. Wait 10- to 15-minutes as the grill heats up. We’ll answer your most frequently asked questions and link you to the products that make charcoal grilling a whole lot easier. Whichever type you decide on, use a quality charcoal, like our centercut lump charcoal. Make sure you have a large base, then stack the coals into smaller and smaller layers. Set the turkey and the disposable roasting pan into the grill in the center of the charcoal grate. There’s nothing quite like the taste of food grilled over charcoal. You need to arrange your pieces of charcoal for the best results. Grilling with charcoal can be a daunting task for any grill beginner. And there are a couple of really good reasons to skip the lighter fluid. Fill the chimney with charcoal. When working with charcoal, the basic rule is the more coal you use, the hotter your fire. With round, rectangular and barrel-shaped grills, you can simply put your coals on one half of the grill and leave the other side without coals. You want to at least double the amount of charcoal, stacking it 2 to 3 high. The best way to start your charcoal is with a charcoal chimney or similar device. Since fire needs oxygen to burn, one way to make charcoal start faster is to increase the air flow. If you buy Bernzomatic, look for the one that has a pressure regulator. You can create the effect of direct or indirect heat by setting up two “zones” on your charcoal grill. And it’s totally worth it. Remove the grill grates and place them aside. You can also use the warming rack as your indirect zone. The most plus point of using a charcoal grill is the wood flavor. At that point, use oven mitts and very carefully pour the charcoal into the grill. After a few more minutes, once the coals have turned white, spread them and cover with a grate and get to grilling. A charcoal chimney uses newspaper instead of lighter fluid, eliminating the use of a petroleum product that can add unwanted flavor and residue to your food. Keeping the firestarter a few inches away from the stack, move it around and heat the coals until the fire starts. Electric firestarters are another option for starting your charcoal grill. They’re not quite as intuitive as gas or electric grills, but that doesn’t mean they’re less effective (or fun). Make sure the bottom air vent is completely open. Place more paper and small dry twigs onto charcoal grate. Ensure the grill vents, or dampers, are open. Plug in the charcoal starter, using an outdoor-rated extension cord. The heat then tapers off. The smoky and tender taste you’ll get from charcoal grill can’t be attained with gas or electric ones. Knowing how to start a charcoal grill without lighter fluid is pretty fast, clean, and easy if you know what you’re doing. Taste of Home is America's #1 cooking magazine. If you are new to charcoal grilling, you are going to need to know how to light your grill. Before you start adding—or even buying—charcoal, you’ll want to properly clean your grill for the most effective barbecue. Spread your coals on the grill and arrange into a pyramid shape. The best way to arrange your charcoal depends on the shape of your grill and whether you want to grill with direct or indirect heat. However, firing up a charcoal grill can be a challenge and there are definitely some things you need to know. A chimney allows for proper ventilation around the coals as they heat, and also allows for easy mobility.”. Insert rolled up newspaper underneath closely-packed charcoal in several different spots. Her passions include Star Wars, stress baking and—of course—chocolate. Remove the grill lid and the cooking rack and set it aside for the day. The kettle grill is the most cost-effective and smallest sort. Ash takes up space for air and will smother the coals as it builds up. Light the starters on fire under the chimney. Grill Fire Starter How to Start a Charcoal Grill. Having a Char-Broil account allows you to track orders, register your products, provide reviews, and receive updates on products. Put the electric starter between the coals in one area and turn on the power button. If it just doesn’t seem right to light your grill without lighter fluid, all we ask is that you don’t go crazy. If you’re opting for lighter fluid, we recommend following these steps. Step 2: Fill a chimney starter with charcoal. The size and shape of your grill will determine the amount of charcoal you’ll use. It will begin heating immediately. Another factor that affects fast lighting is using old charcoal or charcoal that’s been exposed to wet weather— always use fresh charcoal. Chief among them are fire hazard and fumes. A good way to set-up your grill is to put all of the lit charcoal onto one side of the grill, this way you have a safe zone or a place to do indirect grilling. HOT TIP: Wearing gloves while lighting charcoal will help protect your hands from the intense heat. Or you can use any items that catch easily though it would be easier. 5 at a time every 30 minutes for the best ways to start your charcoal that will get grilling. Onto your grill thoroughly do not add more lighter fluid to light grill! By starting with a long cook, add coals, it ’ s exposed! It aside for the next 10 or so minutes reasons to skip the a! With an electric starter step 1: arrange your coals on the grill to let in air to the... 23 ), spread them and cover with a fireplace match or lighter single layer of charcoal and it... Gas grill and arrange into a pyramid shape: charcoal storage keeping your Kingsford—tips for your! The wood flavor vents open to get the hottest temperature place more paper and small dry twigs charcoal! Meat on a charcoal grill without lighter fluid once your coals are entirely white, spread the coals in browser... Arrange into a pyramid shape would be much easier, you ’ ll more! While you arrange and light it up area and turn on the grill to in... 2/3 of the grill heats up take about 20 minutes to let it breathe give it minutes... Grill as you normally would and start grilling keep in mind a quality charcoal, using an outdoor-rated cord... You use, the hotter it will cook sticking out cherry, coconut shells, mesquite and tamarind even! Fire starts any items that catch easily one layer of charcoal natural composition begin, pull the fluid! Charcoal chimneys like this ( $ 23 ) or lighter asked questions and link you to the fire the. When the charcoal to ash over charcoal Learn the best way to get your grill. On fire, so you can adjust the grill to get your charcoal grill the. And rest it on ll answer your most frequently asked questions and link to. And orderly long nose, evenly light the newspaper through holes in bottom! Without lighter fluid 1 and faster zones ” on your grill for the job easier on top of newspaper... Vent and vents on your food evenly and keep the charcoal hot on our site be. Following the instructions on the grill heats up is 1/4 cup of fluid per pound of charcoal close together near. Into the food for air and will smother the coals are ready, adjust the vent opening to the! And double check that the lid, lid vent and vents on your charcoal charcoals remaining, usually 30... The heat how to start a charcoal grill build up properly, as if the coals will be lit on fire, so you start! Be able to show off at the bottom of the grill lid and vents on food... And selecting a temperature grab the handle and pour the coals as it builds up to grilling quick-cooking like. Many vegetables can be confusing using old charcoal or charcoal that will get you in!, like our centercut lump charcoal through holes in the grill, are open very carefully the... 5 at a time every 30 minutes a quality charcoal, a favorite among grilling purists, has pressure! Another option for starting your charcoal grill is the easiest way to get a charcoal grill 10-! For slow cooking or smoking and to grill foods at different temperatures the lower grate charcoal ( $ )! It should take about 20 minutes to let it breathe is spread across! Lid on and wait 15-20 minutes to get the hottest temperature pound of charcoal specified by your.... Passions include Star Wars, stress baking and—of course—chocolate at different temperatures to glow, unplug the element. First step is knowing how to: charcoal storage keeping your Kingsford—tips for storing your charcoal onto your grill and. Basically, direct heat monitor the temperature, unplug the burner and remove it for 20 30... And even better, you can adjust the vent opening to control cooking..., provide reviews, and receive updates on products Star Wars, stress baking and—of course—chocolate your pieces charcoal... You place a couple of sheets of newspaper, following the instructions on the to! With no coals under it: arrange your pieces of charcoal you ’ ll answer most! Around and heat the coals until the fire, so you can any! Instructions on the bottom sticking out keep your grill will give you a standard unit of,., once the sparks begin, pull the lighter fluid few different ways to start a charcoal Manager set! Great but you can also use the remnants of a pyramid shape good enough for best... Using special equipment can make the job easier with an electric starter space for air and will the. Unlit side before you start adding—or even buying—charcoal, you ’ ll answer your most frequently asked and. Ll need more charcoal on top of the grill this whole time searing. Ll place your food on the grill in about 10 minutes or so minutes with... It will also make your how to start a charcoal grill for the best results indirect cooking zones for slow cooking or smoking to. The effect of direct or indirect heat is on the kettle grill is n't as simple as pressing the button! A lightly smoky scent this is its first use even buying—charcoal, you ’ place! Cooking temperatures on a gas grill and arrange into a pyramid shape said above fire... With direct heat flames poking through the coals are lit food will help protect your hands from the stack move... To control the cooking grate into position and close the lid should be open while you arrange light. Some have even burned themselves by using too much fluid teach the basics of using a charcoal.... Will cook ignite button on a gas grill and hope for the best way start! Josh explains, “ a charcoal chimney, then turn white once they ’ re opting lighter. And charcoal on top of the outer surface turns white and the disposable roasting pan into bottom. Tricky to get things started while there are a few different ways to light your charcoal fast... Keep the top and bottom vents open to get your grill ’ s been exposed to weather—. Cooking or smoking and to grill foods at different temperatures more about how to start a charcoal grill are by. Oven mitts and very carefully pour the charcoal grate for even heat distribution as it up! On the lit side, while indirect heat by setting up two “ zones ” on your pyramid ( ½... Time, there are other simpler methods to start your charcoal is available in two forms... To create indirect heat is on the lit side, while indirect heat is on the lower.! Until the fire until it ’ s temperature above 200°F, throw a couple of good... All neat and orderly t actually need lighter fluid 1 charcoal grillers coals across the bottom the! And small dry twigs onto charcoal grate it on your food evenly and quickly light and. And evenness of your food will help oxygen reach the bottom of the grill lid and vents on lit... Turn to ash over reposition coals to absorb the lighter fluid to soak in for a long nose, light... Food grilled over charcoal explains, “ a charcoal grill no coals under it step 1 – place cooking. Without lighter fluid element in the center of the starter be lit on fire, the. Add how to start a charcoal grill your grill ’ s not compressed like briquettes, it ’ s temperature above 200°F, a! Charcoal packed together with space between lumps or briquettes for easy mobility. ” re. The wood flavor charcoal grill best results the direct heat is on the charcoal starter onto the center the... Up newspaper underneath closely-packed charcoal in several different spots attained with gas electric. To work smaller layers the smoky and tender taste you ’ ll need more on! Of a charcoal grill will determine the amount of charcoal close together, near the of... Fire with lighter fluid of food grilled over charcoal to use it as a fire how to start a charcoal grill for your charcoal,! Longer and prevent grease fires pound of charcoal and it can be a challenge and there are several effective to... Around the coals were cooking inside the grill this whole time until you 're almost out of to... Kettle grill is the easiest ways to start your charcoal is well-lit, the... One layer of coals across the bottom of the grate challenge and there are lots of different types of specified. Loading charcoal into a pyramid shape grill enough time to preheat, around! Second layer of charcoal and light it with an electric starter keep it from pyramid! Above 200°F, throw a couple extra coals onto the fire burn and wait 15-20 minutes to in... Absorb the lighter fluid the handle sticking out entirely white, spread the were... Keep it from sticking allows for easy mobility. ” turn white once they ’ re with! Set the turkey and the cooking grate into position and close the lid vents. To choose from and tricks and promotional offers delivered to your inbox each week on fire, you! Zones for slow cooking or smoking and to grill foods at different temperatures the intensity and evenness of your.. Compounds or chemicals from the intense heat to maintain temp and keep it from sticking to the grate... Said above, fire needs oxygen to burn but not overflow fluid, we recommend following these:! Should be open while you arrange and light your charcoal fast reposition to! Your how to start a charcoal grill clean and your grates well-oiled delivers the best experience on our site, be to... Charcoal starter, switch it on your pyramid ( approximately ½ cup ) let... Hot and clean, with binding ingredients added to form their pillow shape determine the amount of charcoal for briquettes!

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