How To Light A Charcoal Grill Without Lighter Fluid

Lighting A Charcoal Grill Without Lighter Fluid

How Can You Ignite a Charcoal Grill Without Using Lighter Fluid? The substances penetrate your charcoal briquettes or hardwood, lingering before their fumes have completely dissipated, which leaves an enduring odor. Regardless of your efforts, some of those chemicals will remain in your food.

Furthermore, it’s not uncommon to use a little too much of the fluid, which can cause a flare-up that burns your cheeks and brows. How To Light A Charcoal Grill Without Lighter Fluid?

The disadvantages are evident, and once you’ve had meals cooked over high-quality coals without the use of lighter fluid, you’ll never go back. If you want your charcoal grill to produce the best-tasting food, the lighter fluid must be the first thing to go.

How To Light Charcoal Without Using Liquid Lighter

It’s not a big of a problem if you skip the lighter fluid. There are various options for altogether avoiding it, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks.

Method 1: Use A Chimney Starter

A simple chimney starter is the simplest way to get your charcoal lit up every time.

A metal can with a shelf serves as the chimney. You lay your coals on top, and you start a fire with some paper under the shelf. The fire will burn longer if you spray some oil over the paper.

The can has vents, and the fire swiftly burns because it’s a tiny space. After lighting the charcoal, spread it out on your grill and begin cooking.

Method 2: Electric Charcoal Starter

These gadgets, sometimes known as charcoal irons, are electric heating components set on a handle.

Method 3: Heat Gun/Looft Lighter

This coal starter resembles a cross between a futuristic hair curler and Luke’s lightsaber in appearance. A well-known brand name to search for is Looft Lighter. When you connect it into an outlet, heated air and flames start to pour out.

Hold it near a pile of charcoal for a minute or so, and the coals will ignite and begin to burn. If you don’t have access to a wall outlet, you can buy rechargeable battery starters.

Method 4: Vegetable Oil/Wax And Newspaper

It is possible to light charcoals without the use of any special equipment or devices. All it takes is a little patience, some practice, and a few well-chosen prayers.

The secret to lighting a coal fire is to keep a tiny fire blazing beneath it for long enough to sufficiently heat the coals. You can’t use matches or a lighter to light normal charcoal. Because charcoal must burn at a greater temperature than wood, it is more difficult to start than a wood fire.

Using wadded-up newspaper pages is an old trick. These do a good job at burning, but they do so too soon. By sprinkling a little vegetable oil on them, you can help them burn more slowly.

Another possibility is Parrafin wax. Many chefs use little wads of newspaper soaked in candle wax as appetizers. You can find similar items among the charcoal and campfire materials at your local big-box store. How To Light A Charcoal Grill Without Lighter Fluid?

How To Use Vegetable Oil/Wax With A Newspaper

Begin by cleaning your grill’s lowest vents. It is critical to have adequate ventilation.

Make loose balls out of several sheets of newspaper. Drizzle some vegetable oil on top.

Place the balls, touching one another, on the grill’s coal grate.

On top of the newspaper balls, scatter a few bits of charcoal. Make sure there are enough openings to allow air to circulate the newspaper. Air must flow in to allow the newspaper to burn, and the hot air and flames must then rise and pass over the coals.

Use your barbecue tongs to add more charcoal as the embers begin to ignite. Continue to create the fire, taking care not to move the hot coals too soon. Continue to build a larger and larger pile of charcoal until you have enough to cook with.

When the coals are hot and have enough, position them in the grill for cooking, add your cooking grate, and start grilling.

Method 5: Easy-starting Briquettes

Charcoal briquette manufacturers commonly offer “match-light” or “easy-starting” briquettes to make your life easier. Because they’ve been pre-soaked with lighter fluid, they’ll light up rapidly.

If you want to stay away from lighter fluid, these aren’t for you. Some goods include paper bags that you may use to start a fire, which is useful if you’re on the road and using park grills. In any case, the best course of action is to follow the instructions on the bag for the goods you’ve purchased.

Time For Charcoal To Light A Charcoal Grill Without Lighter Fluid

Start with three or four pieces of charcoal, since these will start the fire for the rest of the pile – place them in the center of the pile, sitting on top of the dry sticks, but not completely blocking the paper beneath.

Light your paper on fire in various spots across the grill using a match, fire starter, or long lighter until a huge, brilliant fire is crackling away – perhaps, the kindling will begin to catch at this time as well.

If the paper is burning, but the sticks haven’t yet started to burn properly, add one or two additional loose newspaper balls near them and fire them up as well.

Keep An Eye Out For Smoke Signals To Light A Charcoal Grill Without Lighter Fluid

Smoke is a terrific indicator that your fire is nearly there, as is ash beginning to accumulate on your charcoal briquettes, alerting you to the beginnings of a burn on your briquettes. 

The slower, the better, so keep an eye on it and keep stoking your newspaper and kindling flames until you see the ash on the charcoal or plumes of smoke rising.

Increase The Amount Of Charcoal Gradually

Start adding more charcoal briquettes one by one once the first few have successfully smoked – you don’t want enormous orange flames at this time, just gray/white ash to signify a continuous burn.

Continue to build up your briquette pile in the middle, with the only ‘hot’ bits being those on the inside; if everything is operating properly, smoke should rise from the center of your pile.

Distribute The Coals, Then Start Cooking

The bulk of your coals should be coated in that familiar white/gray ash at this time, with the inside of your pile aglow and orange-red with heat, indicating that you’re ready to cook.

Reposition your charcoal around the grill, spreading it out evenly and adding a few more pieces if the fire starts to fade.

For this, utilize HEAT-RESISTANT tongs with the longest feasible handle, and proceed with extreme caution.

To provide a vigorous, long-lasting burn, the coals should be tightly packed, but not so tightly that there is no ventilation. This conserves heat and keeps everything burning.

Top off your coals regularly, and don’t wait until everything is practically burnt away to do so. Otherwise, your meat will be chilly, and your tummy will be grumbling! Fill up your briquettes if you see half of them are gone.

Although you’ll have to wait for the telltale ash to form before continuing to cook, you won’t have to start from scratch, and this approach ensures an even, complete cook for your meat.

Estimates Of How Much Charcoal You’ll Need In General

  • Small grills with twenty to thirty pieces should be enough.
  • Medium grills, which are the most prevalent, will work best with up to forty pounds of meat.

A successful burn on a commercial grill can take up to two full bags of charcoal, which will take much too long if you use the newspaper approach!


There’s no need to use lighter fluid to get your barbecue going; there are many other options. A chimney starter is the most popular method for quickly lighting charcoal because it is affordable and lasts indefinitely.


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