How to Light a Charcoal Grill

how to light charcoal grill

If you’re not sure how to light a charcoal grill in the most efficient way, you’re in the right place. Whether you’ve had your charcoal grill for years or you’re new to the whole thing, we’ve got simple, step-by-step instructions on how to light your charcoal grill – with lighter fluid, without lighter fluid, and with the Napoleon Jetfire Chimney Starter. After a few rounds, you’ll be an expert at lighting up your charcoal grill!

How To Light a Charcoal Grill With Lighter Fluid

This is a fast and effective way to light your charcoal grill if you don’t have a chimney starter.

1. Arrange the charcoal.

You want to pile the charcoal into a neat mound or pyramid. This will increase the contact between the coals and help the fire grow faster. Adjust the amount of charcoal based on the size of the food you’re cooking and the length of time you’ll need to cook. 

2. Add lighter fluid.

Carefully squirt some lighter fluid on the top and sides of the charcoal pile. A 10-second squirt of lighter fluid should be sufficient, but check the instructions on the bottle. Don’t use too much and be careful – lighter fluid can affect the smell and taste of your food. Do not spray lighter fluid onto hot coals or already flaming charcoal.

3. Light the charcoal.

Immediately after applying the lighter fluid, light the charcoal. Light the charcoal in multiple places. A BBQ lighter is ideal for this. If the lighter fluid soaks into the charcoal for longer than 30 seconds, it can evaporate, making the charcoal more difficult to ignite.

4. Let the charcoal burn.

Give the charcoal time to catch and the lighter fluid time to burn off the charcoal. Wait until all the coals are white or grey with ash. This should take about 15 minutes.

5. Spread the charcoal.

When the charcoal is hot and ready, use metal tongs or a charcoal rake to spread them out for even cooking. Put the grate or cooking grid back in place and allow the grill to heat up for 5-10 minutes before cooking.

Light a Charcoal Grill Without Lighter Fluid

If you’d rather not use lighter fluid, you can light your charcoal grill this way.

1. Make a charcoal mound.

Pile the charcoal in a neat mound or pyramid shape, as you would when lighting with lighter fluid.

2. Gather paper.

First, get some newspaper or other type of paper and roll it up. Insert the rolled-up paper below the charcoal, ensuring it’s tightly packed together. Do this in several different places.

3. Light the paper.

Using a BBQ lighter or long matches, light the paper in different places, allowing it to catch and ignite the charcoal. Add more paper as needed.

4. Let the charcoal burn.

Give the charcoal time to burn until it’s the right temperature. It will become grey and white with ash. When all the charcoal looks like this, replace the grate or cooking grid and let your grill heat up for another 5-10 minutes.

How To Light a Charcoal Grill With the Napoleon Jetfire Chimney Starter

The easiest way to light your charcoal grill is to use the Napoleon Jetfire Chimney Starter and fire starter.

1. Add charcoal to the chimney.

The amount of charcoal you put in the chimney depends on how you’ll be cooking: 

  • Low-heat grilling: Fill the chimney about a quarter of the way full.
  • Medium-heat grilling: Fill the chimney half full.
  • High-heat grilling and searing: Fill the chimney to the top.

2. Place the fire starter under the charcoal chimney.

Grill masters need some sort of fire starter to ignite charcoal using the Jetfire Chimney Starter. This could be newspaper or some other type of paper or specially-designed fire starter cubes that you can buy. If required, remove the cooking grid or grilling grate and place the fire starter in the bottom compartment.

3. Light the fire starter.

Using a long match or BBQ lighter, light the fire starter from the bottom. Once it’s lit, place the chimney full of charcoal over the flame. Ensure the lid and sides of the grill are open for optimal airflow. Allow the flames to rise through the Chimney Starter.

4. Pour the hot coals into the grill. 

The Jetfire Chimney works by pulling fresh air through the bottom, igniting the coals on its way up. After about 15 minutes, all the coals should be lit and turned to ash. When this happens, slowly dump the hot coals onto the charcoal grate and evenly spread them for direct or indirect grilling.

5. Get grilling!

After you dump the coals, close the lid and let your grill heat up for about 5-10 minutes. Then, get grilling! 

Charcoal & More at Team Harding

No matter how you light your charcoal grill, make sure you choose the right charcoal and have all the best accessories for the best grilling experience. At Team Harding, we carry the best grills and the top accessories to help you elevate your grilling game!

For charcoal, a Jetfire Chimney Starter, and everything else you need, contact Team Harding!

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