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How to Use a Chimney Starter

(4 Votes)

If you prefer grilling the traditional way, you can get your coals ready quickly and eliminate the cost, odor, and danger of lighter fluid by using a chimney starter.

What to Do

When using a chimney starter, always follow your manufacturer's instructions.

Safe locations to light a chimney starter include: 

  • On the grate of another grill
  • On fire-safe bricks placed on your deck or patio
  • On a terra cotta flower pot saucer without a drain hole

How to light a chimney starter:

  • Loosely roll up a couple sheets of newspaper and place in the bottom of your chimney starter, right-side up. Be sure it's on a fire-safe surface.
  • Fill the top with the amount of charcoal you want to light.
  • Light the newspaper in several locations. You'll begin to see smoke coming out the top of the chimney starter. Don't worry...this is normal!
  • After the newspaper has burned completely, wait 1 to 2 minutes, then hold your hand over the chimney starter. You should feel the heat. Be careful!
  • It will take 10 to 15 minutes for the coals to be glowing and lit, depending on the amount and type of charcoal you use. Even the wind can make a difference in how long it takes!
  • The charcoal is ready when you see orange color glow deep inside the chimney starter and gray/white ash starting to form on some of the charcoal. (Don't wait for all the charcoal to be covered with white ash, or the coals on the bottom will be too burnt out.)

Chimney Starter Safety Tips:

  • Wear heat-resistant gloves when handling a hot chimney starter.
  • Remember that a chimney starter will remain hot for a while even after the coals have been poured out.
  • Never place a chimney starter on or near flammable materials like a wooden deck or dry grass.
  • Never light a chimney starter directly on a concrete surface, as the heat may cause the concrete to explode, damaging the concrete and possibly causing injury.




 We've got a great Jerk Pork Tenderloin recipe that's cooks up beautifully on the grill.

Ratings & Comments

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Do you have to remove the grate before letting the coals drop, or do they fit through the grate? This may not be such a great idea afterall, haven't been able to find it available anywhere, but still hoping for your reply.

Idk about this particular brand. But they have a couple different sizes at Home Depot and Lowes. You just pick it up by the handles and carefully pour them out.

where do you get this charcoal starter???

What brand chimney starter did you use that has the lever to allow hot coals to drop out the bottom? Thanks.


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