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How To Light Your Charcoals

Chimney Charcoal Starter

Light your charcoals without lighter fluid.

When you use charcoal lighter fluid or instant light charcoals you are actually putting toxins into your cooked or smoked food. The worst by far is charcoal lighter fluid.  When you douse your coals with lighter fluid, you are actually splattering the fluid within the cooking chamber, and those fluids don't burn out, but rather smolder into your food.  Much the same with instant lighting charcoals. 

If your coals are not completely burned (grey in color) you're putting toxins into your food.  You will also experience a slight chemical taste in your foods.  Get the most out of your barbeque grilling and smoking- toss the fluid and instant starter charcoal.



Full view of a chimney charcoal starter There are many ways to light your charcoals. We're going to concentrate on the best and most reliable method. Here's how to properly light your charcoals for grilling and smoking food.

First you've got to get your hands on a charcoal chimney starter. They're inexpensive, easy to use and will start your charcoal briquettes with ease. A good charcoal chimney starter will cost under twenty dollars.

Amazon.com Charcoal Chimney Starter
Walmart.com: Barbecue Charcoal Chimney Starter
Lowes.com: Barbecue Charcoal Chimney Starter
How to Use a Charcoal Chimney Starter


Full view of a chimney charcoal starter The Charcoal Chimney Starter is a cylinder tube with two chambers. One on the bottom having holes used for air circulation and holds the paper for fuel, and one on the top that holds the charcoal for lighting.

In the picture on the right you'll notice the chimney is upside down and filled with 1 1/2 sheets of newspaper print- the fuel used to ignite and start your charcoals.


It's important to use no more than a full sheet and a half of newsprint for proper lighting of charcoals. Stuffing too much paper into the chamber will prevent the paper from igniting and failure to burn your charcoals.


Fill the chimney with as much charcoal needed to cook your food.  A full chamber will supply an hour and a half or more cooking time.  Ideal for indirect cooking methods such as cut up chicken pieces, country spare ribs, small turkey breasts, pork and beef roasts.

After a few tries, you'll get the hang of gauging and filling charcoal chamber efficiently. Need more coals for a longer cook time?  Simply fill the chamber again and evenly distribute to hot coals.  Repeat as necessary. There you have it!  Safely smoked or grilled food without toxic chemicals.
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