Why Isn’t My Charcoal Grill Staying Lit

Disclaimer: There are affiliate links in this post. At no cost to you, I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

My Charcoal Grill Isn’t Staying Lit

Why Isn’t My Charcoal Grill Staying Lit? Let’s see if the issue is with the charcoal or with you in order to figure out why you can’t keep your grill lit.

We’ll also go over a couple of tactics that will make lighting a fire more accessible and more effective. We’ll also discuss charcoal quality and elements that can affect its combustibility – some of which you can manage and others which you can’t, unfortunately.

Problem With Ventilation For My Charcoal Grill Isn’t Staying Lit

Here’s the deal: Fire requires oxygen to burn. The charcoal may appear to be the source of energy, but it is actually the air. You might have noticed that your grill has vents. They allowed air to reach the burning embers, causing combustion. The issue with these vents is that they’re small and easily clogged by ash, briquettes, or smaller lump charcoal particles.

If your charcoal doesn’t remain lit, it may be due to a lack of air. When there is no more air nearby, the charcoal extinguishes, just like putting out a candle with a bit of cup (really called a candle snuffer). The good thing is that all you have to do now is let some air in and try again. You’ll have no trouble relighting your charcoal, especially if you have a firelighter.

Keep in mind that you should grill with the vents open at all times. To create a hot air funnel, open them all the way and then close them a little to adjust the temperature while you cook. The grill will become more desirable as you open the vents more.

– You Use Charcoal Of Low Quality And My Charcoal Grill Isn’t Staying Lit

When it comes to charcoal, grilling is not the time to be economical. A bag of charcoal can cost anywhere from a few dollars to twenty dollars for some quality lump charcoal or fancy Briquettes. So, what does the price of coal mean? Yes, in fact.

So, indeed, the sort of charcoal you use is essential. The cheap material, which frequently has a low carbon concentration of around 50%, is complex to light and maintain burning and produces little heat. So, what’s the point?

– Are You Trying To Close The Lid

Most professional grills, including the famed green egg, portable charcoal grills, and, of course, smokers, have a cover. A cover is standard on most grills, and it aids in even cooking. When using a grill with a cover, the difficulty is that if you close the lid too soon, before the charcoal has burned evenly, the charcoal will lose temperature and eventually extinguish.

You’ll need fuel, heat, and oxygen to start a fire. The charcoal supplies the power, the initial spark generates the flame, and oxygen is present throughout unless the lid is closed. Without oxygen, charcoal will not keep burning. We’ll use our electric lighter later as well. So, when should you close the cover on your grill? If you’re cooking big steaks (over 3/4-inch thick) or large pieces of meat, you should close the grill. Otherwise, the grill can be left open.

If you’re throwing in some wood chips or cooking something challenging like potatoes, you might want to close the lid. You’ll need some convection for this type of dish, just like an oven, so close the lid and cook these. However, there’s no necessity to close the lid when lighting the fire.

The Dampers Have Been Shut And Why Charcoal Wont Stay Lit

Check that all of the dampers on your grill or smoker are completely open before lighting your charcoal. The airflow is controlled by two dampers on most barbecues and smokers.

Regardless of how many dampers your grill or smoker has, it would be best if you opened them before lighting your charcoal. The charcoal will not be able to breathe if the dampers are closed. Your charcoal will burn out if there isn’t enough air, forcing you to relight it. Once the charcoal has burned white-hot and you’ve added your meal, you can partially close the dampers but keep them locked until this happens.

It’s Hot And Humid Outside that is Why Charcoal Wont Stay Lit

Even heavy humidity might cause lit charcoal to catch fire and burn out. On an extremely humid morning, the high humidity might permeate your coal to that same extent where it won’t spark. You can’t control how humid it is outside, unfortunately. On the other hand, you can barbeque or smoke on a humid day if you make preparations ahead of time. It should keep light even if it’s humid outdoors if you use dry lump charcoal and stack it vertically.

Use A More Effective Fire Starter If My Charcoal Grill Isn’t Staying Lit

  1. Traditionally, you might light a fire with charcoal fluid or a fire starter, but here’s the thing: One, it’s risky; two, your food may taste like a horrible liquid; and three, if the charcoal isn’t in good shape, you may need to add a lot of juice.
  2. A nicer alternative is to soak the paper in cooking oil and construct your charcoal pile around it. You should be able to start the fire in fifteen to twenty minutes with some hope and perseverance. And, although there is nothing bad with this kind of approach, you must be patient; we hope your family isn’t starving!
  3. A ground-breaking third way has taken the world of fire cooking by storm (of course). An electric lighter is called a Looft lighter. A helpful device that uses hot air to ignite charcoal in under sixty seconds. Even if the firelighter is simple, it is nonetheless brilliant. You’ll thank us later if you just point and fire! After that, you can add more charcoal to the mix.


Perhaps, you discovered what you had been searching for and figured out what the problem was with your coal. Was it because of the moisture? Or were you simply oblivious to what was going on? It makes no difference. What counts is that you’re now ready to fire up the grill and feed your guests and family.