camping, camping tips, family camping

Lighting Charcoal Is Easy
Instructions On How To Light Charcoal With and Without Lighter Fluid

lit charcoal

When lighting charcoal, most people choose one of four methods:

  • The easiest method is using a bag of MatchLight.
  • The most common method is the lighter fluid method.
  • Next, very easy but not as common is to use a charcoal chimney.
  • And finally, the quick and easy electric charcoal starter.
I will show you how to light charcoal using each method, with a little favoritism towards our preferred method.

Method #1 - A Bag of Matchlight

Simple enough to use, the briquettes in Matchlight already contain the lighter fluid so you don't need to use any more. However, being that they are soaked in lighter fluid, your food will be more exposed to the chemicals than they would from regular charcoal that you put lighter fluid on.

You can light the MatchLight right in the bag, but you will get burnt bag ash floating all around. Not a big deal, just a little annoying. You can also make a traditional charcoal pile and light it at the bottom.

Most BBQ afficionados feel that you never get the petro-chemical taste and smell out of your food with this method as the starter is deeply permeated throughout the charcoal.

  • Fast and easy.

  • More expensive then regular charcoal
  • Soaked throughout with lighter fluid so your food has a chemical, lighter fluid taste.

Method #2 - Douse The Charcoal With Lighter Fluid

lighting charcoal with fluid

This is the most common method used for lighting is the way I always see it done...this is the way my family did it growing up too! This is the way I did it myself before I got married. It does work and it is what people know, which is why everyone does it.

I will tell you how to light charcoal this way....But it is not the best method for lighting charcoal.

Simply put:
  • Make a pyramid of charcoal in the center of the grill or Dutch Oven table.
  • Squirt the lighter fluid all over it. You will need about two seconds of squirt for each pound of charcoal you are using, approximately 1-1/2 ounces of lighter fluid per pound.
  • Wait a few minutes to be sure to let the fluid soak in for a few minutes before lighting.
  • When you are ready to light, put a long match or lighter into the bottom of the pyramid in several places until it lights.
  • Now, you will want to wait at least 30-45 minutes before putting the food on the charcoal so that the lighter fluid fumes will burn off.
how to light charcoal grill

Once the coals start to ash over at the edges and the fumes have burned off, you can spread them out and start to cook your food.

  • Your charcoal gets lit.

  • Uses lighter fluid so your food will have that lighter fluid taste
  • Higher cost because you have to buy that bottle of lighter fluid
  • It takes longer as you have to make sure the lighter fluid is all burned off before you begin to cook.

Method #3 - And Our Favorite Method For Lighting Charcoal....The Charcoal Chimney

lighting charcoal

The easiest, cleanest, fastest way to get your charcoal started is with the charcoal chimney. I still don't understand why anybody would use any other method!!!

In our book, this method wins hands down. Whether you make your own charcoal chimney from a coffee can, or buy an inexpensive Weber model that will last you for years, your charcoal will be easily lit and ready to go quickly...with no lighter fluid necessary to get your charcoal started at all.

chimney charcoal starter

A commercial charcoal chimney, such as the Weber charcoal chimney earns its price will soon be returned by all they savings you get from not buying any more lighter fluid!

  • Easy to use
  • Your charcoal is lit...FAST!
  • Cheap!
  • No need for lighter fluid!

  • I can't think of any!

Method #4 - Electric Charcoal Starters

Another quick and easy method, the electric charcoal starter will have your charcoal glowing in no time.

electric charcoal starter

If you would ask me to rank these four methods of lighting charcoal, the electric charcoal starter easily takes second place to me.

It is another method to get your charcoal started fast....and doesn't use charcoal fluid to do it. Its major disadvantage? It needs electricity to work! Not usually readily available on most camping trips.

Just stick it in your pile of charcoal, turn it in, and let it work...within minutes your charcoal will be lit.

  • Easy to use
  • Fast charcoal lighting
  • No need for lighter fluid!

  • You will need electricity!

Read More About Lighting Charcoal With A Charcoal Chimney

Easy Instructions on How To Light Charcoal With A Charcoal Chimney

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Home Page From Lighting Charcoal

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