As summer arrives, many people prepare their grills for months of grilling their favorite foods. Hamburgers, pork, steak, chicken, kebabs, corn on the cob and so much more are just waiting to hit the grill and your table. It’s time to light up the grill and get started, but there’s an easier way to start a fire in your charcoal grill than using lighter fluid. Using a charcoal chimney starter is a simple, quick method of lighting your charcoal grill.
Charcoal chimney starters are metal cylinders designed to light charcoal. They are incredibly simple devices that can even be made at home for little cost. All you need to use a charcoal chimney is the chimney, some charcoal, a few pages of newspaper, a lighter or match and, of course, the grill.
To get started, stand the charcoal chimney up on the inside of the grill. You can also place it on a flat surface of concrete, asphalt or any other flat surface that is safe to withstand high temperatures. Make sure that it is out of reach of children and pets as the chimney and coals can cause burns.
Next, take a few pages of newspaper and pack them evenly under the grate in the chimney. Don’t use too many pieces of newspaper or pack it too tightly. If it is packed too tightly or there is too much newspaper, the flame may not get enough oxygen to stay lit.
Now you can fill the chimney with charcoal. Don’t fill it up too high, however. Just below the rim of the chimney is a good amount to light. Overfilling it can cause lit charcoal to overflow while they are charring, which can create a waste of charcoal or even burn somebody. In addition, it can create a dangerous mess while pouring the charcoal into your grill.
The next step is to light the newspaper. Take a long lighter or long match and light the newspaper through the little holes in the bottom of the chimney. Light the newspaper in several spots to get a good, even flame going. Long lighters can be found in most places that sell grills and grilling materials. Long matches can be found at some hardware stores and fireplace shops. Some people even light an uncooked piece of spaghetti like a match to light charcoal chimneys and candles.
The holes in the grate will allow the fire to rise up within the chimney. This causes the charcoal to become lit and creates a steady burn. The chimney’s design also creates a hotter, faster burn that allows you to get your coals to the grill faster.
After the charcoal is lit, wait for the coals to get charred. When using the recommended amount of charcoal, it usually takes around ten to twenty minutes for charcoal to be charred enough for cooking. If the weather is particularly windy or there is high humidity, your newspaper or coals may not light properly or stay lit. Keep an eye on the flames while the coal is charring. If necessary, replace the newspaper under the chimney or place another small piece of newspaper in the bottom to help the flames along. Even if it looks like it never lit, ensure that the chimney is cool before touching it or attempting to replace the newspaper.
Once the coals are charred enough, grab the handle of your chimney and pour the coals into the grill. If you have a handmade chimney without a handle, use metal tongs to grab the chimney and carefully pour the coals into the grill.
All that is left to do after that is grab your food and start grilling.
After use, leave your chimney in a cool spot outside for a while. It should be cool to the touch before storing it away until the next time you want some mouthwatering treats from the grill.