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How To Light A Charcoal Grill Without Lighter Fluid?

How To Light A Charcoal Grill Without Lighter Fluid?

One of the most beloved summer activities is a good old-fashioned barbecue.

However, it can be challenging to get that charcoal grill started and keep it burning.

While you can use lighter fluid, it’s not the best way, and it might not even be available to you.

This guide will show you a great technique for lighting a charcoal grill without lighter fluid, and why it is the best way.

While this is not the only way to light a charcoal grill without lighter fluid, it is the most effective way.

Why Not Lighter Fluid?

While lighter fluid can quickly get your charcoal grill starter, a decent fire lasts only a few seconds.

It can also affect the flavor of the food you’re cooking - no one wants hints of lighter fluid when they’re eating!

A harsh smell also comes with using lighter fluid to start a fire, which can be quite unpleasant.

It’s a smell that travels too, so avoid lighter fluid if you don’t want your whole neighborhood smelling like a chemical barbecue.

Finally, lighter fluid is not infinite. You have to use it over and over again, so you have to keep buying it.

This method is reusable and more sustainable compared to using lighter fluid.

Option 1: A Hot Air Starter

Using a hot air fire starter (something like an Electro Torch) is much safer than using lighter fluid. Lighter fluid is highly flammable and can cause dangerous flare-ups, especially if it is not used correctly.

On the other hand, a hot air fire starter uses only heat and air to ignite the charcoal, so there is no risk of flames or dangerous flare-ups. This makes it a much safer option for anyone who wants to start a grill fire without putting themselves or others in danger.

Another advantage of using a hot air fire starter is that it is much more convenient than using lighter fluid. You also won't have to wait as long for the charcoal to heat up, which means you can start grilling sooner.

Furthermore, a hot air fire starter is better for the environment than lighter fluid. Lighter fluid releases harmful chemicals into the air when it is burned, which can be harmful to both humans and the environment.

A hot air fire starter uses only clean air and heat to ignite the charcoal, so there is no risk of harmful chemicals being released into the air. 

Option 2: A Chimney Starter

A chimney starter is a great way to get your charcoal grill fired up. It is basically a large steel mug with a huge handle.

It has an open grate on the underside, a full open top, and holes throughout it to encourage airflow in specific directions.

When it’s in use, heat from the coals rises upwards and the chimney starter helps concentrate this heat so the coals stay lit.

Usually, the heat escapes into the air, but a chimney starter prevents this from happening.

A chimney starter is an easy and cost-effective way to keep your charcoal grill burning for as long as you need.

They are durable and reusable, so they’re worth the small investment.

How To Light Your Grill?

How To Light A Charcoal Grill Without Lighter Fluid?

Before you start lighting your charcoal grill, you’ll need the proper tools to do so. Here is everything you need to get your fire burning:

  • A chimney starter.
  • Natural lump charcoal.
  • Firestarter material, such as newspaper or cardboard.
  • Empty roll of toilet paper, or paper towel
  • 1 teaspoon of cooking oil.
  • A barbecue lighter.
  • A manual or battery-operated fan
  • A long stainless steel-tipped pair of barbecue tongs.

Now that you have your grill lighting tools, follow these steps to get your fire started.

Clean Out Your Grill

Pour out your old charcoal from your grill and clear out all the remaining charcoal dust.

If you don’t, the dust might kick up while you’re cooking, and stick to your food. Be sure to get your charcoal grill nice and clean before you start.

Setup The Grill And Chimney Starter

Once you’ve cleaned out your charcoal grill, place the grate back on the grill and the chimney starter on top.

Then, place an empty roll of toilet paper or paper towel in the center of the starter and add your fresh charcoal.

You should fill the chimney about 80 percent of the way so you have extra room to help rearrange the coals later.

Place Firestarter Material Under The Chimney

You can use any firestarter material, however, we recommend that you use 1 or 2 sheets of balled-up newspaper with 1 teaspoon of cooking oil in it.

Newspaper lights easily and the oil helps it burn for longer. This is an easy way to get your fire started with items you can find around the home.

Light The Chimney Starter

Use your barbecue lighter to light your chimney starter, or some long matches with your tongs.

Having this reach helps you light your starter without getting your hand too close to the fire, and is also useful if you need to relight it later.

Fan The Flames

You can increase the burn and fire size by fanning the underside of your chimney starter so the coals burn hot enough and long enough to stay lit.

You can use either a manual fan or an electric fan - both work perfectly.

Pour Out Coals

Wait until your coals are lit and hot enough, and then pour them into the bottom of your grill. The coals will be ready when they start to turn white.

You can rearrange the coals with your barbecue tongs to make sure they’re all lit and ready for your grill.

Once they’re in your grill, let them burn until they’ve all turned white, and then spread them out.

Clean The Grate And Start Cooking!

Put your cooking grate back on the grill and let it heat up.

Once it’s hot you can scrape off any residue and start cooking your favorite meals!

How To Keep It Burning

It’s common for charcoal to go out far too soon, but there are a few things you can do to combat this.

Keep your coals close together so more of the heat transfers among them instead of escaping into the air. This will keep your charcoal burning for longer.

You should also continuously feed the fire to keep it burning. Add more firestarter material if you see that the coals are starting to go out.

Finally, for a bigger and hotter fire, fan the charcoal as it’s burning so it stays lit.

Final Thoughts

You’ll never need to use lighter fluid again with this easy method to light a charcoal grill.

It’s a simple, cheap, and effective way to get your grill fired up so you can start cooking delicious food in no time.

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