How To Use A Charcoal Starter

Whether you are a seasoned grill master or a beginner, using a charcoal starter is an essential part of getting your grill going. In this article, we will discuss how to use a charcoal starter in detail so that you can enjoy a perfectly cooked meal every time.

What is a Charcoal Starter?

A charcoal starter, also known as a chimney starter, is a tool used to ignite charcoal briquettes or lump charcoal. It is a metal cylinder with holes at the bottom and a handle on the side. The chimney starter allows you to light the charcoal evenly and quickly without using lighter fluid or any other chemicals.

Step-by-Step Guide to Using a Charcoal Starter

Step 1: Fill the Charcoal Starter

Fill the charcoal starter with the desired amount of charcoal. The amount of charcoal needed depends on the size of your grill and the amount of food you are cooking.

Step 2: Set Up Your Grill

Set up your grill by placing it on a level surface, away from any flammable objects. Remove the cooking grates and place the charcoal grate at the bottom of the grill.

Step 3: Light the Charcoal Starter

Place the charcoal starter on the charcoal grate and light the newspaper or fire starter in the bottom of the chimney starter. Wait for the charcoal to ignite, which usually takes about 10-15 minutes.

Step 4: Pour the Charcoal

Once the charcoal is fully lit and covered with ash, use oven mitts or heat-resistant gloves to carefully pour the charcoal onto the charcoal grate in your grill. Spread the charcoal out evenly.

Step 5: Add Your Cooking Grates

Add the cooking grates to your grill and let them heat up for a few minutes before placing your food on them.

FAQs Related to How to Use a Charcoal Starter

Q: How much charcoal should I use?

A: The amount of charcoal needed depends on the size of your grill and the amount of food you are cooking. As a general rule, use about 30 briquettes for a small grill and up to 100 for a large one.

Q: Can I use lighter fluid with a charcoal starter?

A: No, never use lighter fluid or any other chemicals with a charcoal starter. It can be dangerous and will affect the flavor of your food.

Q: How long does it take for the charcoal to light?

A: It usually takes about 10-15 minutes for the charcoal to fully light and be ready to pour onto the charcoal grate.


Using a charcoal starter is an easy and safe way to light your charcoal grill without using any chemicals. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can ensure even heating and perfectly cooked food every time. Happy grilling!