How to Light a Charcoal Grill without Lighter Fluid or Chimney – 4 Best & Effective Methods

Who doesn’t love the smoky flavor and so delicious taste of grilling on charcoal? But what will happen if a chemical flavor destroys the whole smoky taste of your food? So you need to know how to light a charcoal grill without lighter fluid or chimney to get rid of this problem.

As you know, most people don’t like the chemical flavor caused by lighter fluids. Not only that, these fluids are very dangerous and harmful to use. On the other hand, their alternatives are more environment friendly and inexpensive. Inthis regard, my grandma used to say that – No lighter fluid, no chimney, no hassle! But, before going to have a look at those surprising methods, you must know the followings –

Important Facts to Know Before You Grill!

Before you set the fire for starting the grill this winter, you should keep in mind these important facts.

  • Prepare the charcoal grill by seasoning it before you starting to cook
  • Take and bring all the fire safety precautions to avoid any kind of accidents
  • Make your all the food prepared (slicing the veggies, cutting the meat) before grilling
  • Clean up your grill grates after using it
  • Do not forget to ensure proper grill maintenance

4 best & effective methods to light a charcoal grill without lighter fluid or chimney

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There are many options available to light a charcoal grill. But I’ill share only four of the best for you today which will also save your time. Here’s my most favorite one –

Method #1 – Using a Heat Gun or Looft lighter

If you poke around the trendy products in the barbeque world, definitely you will hear about heat gun or looft lighter. But in case you are not familiar with heat gun or looft lighter, after reading this section and following these steps, it will appear as the simplest task to you. Though heat gun is not designed for lighting the charcoals or any other smoker grills, but it is an inexpensive option to achieve the goal.

There are yet few heat guns especially crafted for barbeque, for example: looft lighter. Looft lighter is a combination of heater or blower, performs by forcing heated air at the charcoal grill. However, looft lighters cost more than heat guns but safer to use. We include this method in our write-up just because of it is one of the quickest to light up a charcoal grill. So do you want to know how to light up the charcoals with a heat gun or looft lighter?

Step – 1: It is super easy to light up the charcoals by using this tool. At first, to light the charcoal grill, you need to arrange the charcoals bottom of the grill, then you plug in the heat gun or looft lighter. 

Step – 2: After plug in the tool, you need to navigate its nozzle at the base of the charcoal grill. Don’t target the big piece first, start with the small pieces to glow.  

Step – 3: Airflow is very important to ignite the charcoal. Boost from the outside, it will able to add a powerful air flow to the charcoal grill. When the charcoals begin to light up, you need to pull the tool away about an inch from grill and hold it for 1 minute.  

Step – 4: Once it glows enough, you can turn off the heat gun or looft lighter as the charcoals will spontaneously continue to lighting. 

Tips for this step –  

  • Start it small and let it spread spontaneously
  • Don’t choke the charcoals

Warning –

  • It can expose you to carbon mono-oxide.

Method #2 – Using Paraffin Wax 

Always paraffin wax has used in the variant firelighter applications. It comes in the store as a paraffin wax cube. But sometimes it comes as coating on wood chips. Paraffin wax is a great companion of charcoals. 

We refer paraffin wax because it is non-toxic, environment friendly, odor less, takes less to fire up (10 – 12 minutes), and one of the important fact is – it does not leave ashes. So no more extra hassle! Now you must be thinking how paraffin wax can fire up the charcoal. Scroll down, you will learn how it works! 

Step – 1: There are many branded paraffin wax cubes available. These cubes need less time to fire up. To light up the charcoals, at first you need to gather the charcoals and put the paraffin wax cube under the charcoals.

Step – 2: Now light the cube. This will require 10-20 minutes to light up based on your grilling temperature, wind condition and charcoal’s amount. Once the flames start to come out, the charcoals are ready to fire up spontaneously.

Tips for this step –  

  • When you see charcoals are changing themselves into orange color, then do not wait for few more minutes otherwise it will start to burn. 

Warning – 

  • It will take less time so you have to concern more about the timing.

Method #3 – Using Newspapers

Now comes another budget-friendly method, it may sound old school but most effective to use. Most people use newspapers in their daily life, so it is easy to use. Before starting, you have to clean up the ashes and grill grates to get a consistent airflow. To light up with newspaper, you need to follow these steps mention below –

Step -1: First off, you have to crumple up 5 – 6 pages of newspaper and also build a small pile. Now you need to put them in the middle of the grill. As paper requires less time to light and helps the charcoal to catch the fire more rapidly.

Step – 2: If you are struggling to create a strong flame then add some kindling (dry sticks) on the top of the paper. In case, you do not have any dry sticks in your collection, then add more papers. Do not worry about the outcome! It will also give the same result!

Step – 3: Now add more charcoals on the top of the paper and keep them near the center point. Then ignite the charcoals from different places. You can use hardwood charcoal as it can catch fire rapidly.

Step – 4: You can add more paper balls if needed. A small-sized griller needs 20 -30 pieces, medium-sized needs around 40 pieces and a large one requires 1-2 bags of charcoals. If you follow this method, you have to manage the papers according to it.

Tips for this step –

  • Spraying the newspaper with vegetable oil
  • Use dry sticks to spread up the fire

Warning –

  • Do not use wet sticks
  • Never use this method in wet weather

Method #4 – Using an Electric Charcoal Starter

An electric charcoal starter is a useful instrument for lighting the charcoal rapidly. If you do not have enough time, definitely you can go with the electric charcoal starter. It does not need any additional requirements such as newspaper balls or matches. 

It is not as fancy as looft lighter as it comes with a budget-friendly price. If you don’t know how to use it, then read the rest of the part to learn how to use an electric charcoal starter.

Step – 1: At first, you need to put some charcoal into the charcoal grill and you have to place in a flat position. Now place the electric starter on the charcoal layers. 

Step -2: Now spread some charcoals. You need to plug in the electric starter and once the charcoals start to glow, you can remove it. It will 8 to 10 minutes to spread up.

Tips for this step –

  • You should place the charcoal pieces in a flat position
  • It is perfect for small cooking

Warning –

  • Keep it away from flammable materials
  • Do not use water to cool it

Is Lighter Fluid or Chimney Bad for You?

If we answer this question in a word is “Yes”. But you must be thinking about why it is not better to use a chimney or lighter fluid?

Any fire setup that starts with lighter fluid or chimney leaves a bad taste in your food. Chimney starters have some issues as all the chimneys are not designed for regular use outside so it is unsuitable for regular use. Along with, they all come with an expensive price range and a little bit of hassle to use. 

If we talk about lighter fluid, they have hydrocarbons and you cannot break them down simply, that’s why you need to ingest them closer to your food, which is really harmful. Some of them are very expensive.

Not only that, but these lighter fluids also dangerous for the environment. As we mentioned before they have volatile organic compounds, which help to create ground-level ozone and cause air pollution. 

Plus, it forms smog that has a harmful impact on the atmosphere that is threatening to individuals who have respiratory tract problems. So it is one of the major reasons to avoid it. Besides, using a lighter fluid also harms your food and leaves a bad taste and odor in the mouth.

What are the Other Safe Alternative

There are few more safe alternatives to fire up the charcoal grill if you are not comfortable with our four described techniques.

Egg Carton – It is a very effective and safe option to spread the fire. You can easily use your egg cartons to light up the grill. To do this, first off, you need to remove or clear the lid of the egg carton. Then you have to put the briquettes on the egg carton and place them at the position of egg. 

Now the task is to place the carton in the cooking chamber. Then light all four sides of the carton. By doing this step, your task is almost done. As the carton box begins to burn, it will spontaneously ignite the rest of the coals slowly. 

Dry Twigs – Using dry twigs can be an amazing alternative to use. But you need some dry and small dry twigs for doing the stuff. Never pick the wet and green ones, as they are unable to burn easily. Before using dry twigs, it is better to check their dryness level. If it breaks quite easily that indicates this one is ready to use. 

Except these, wick chafing fuel, vegetable oil, paper towel are also used to fire up the grill. 

Before Starting Grilling, Need to Prepare Your Charcoal Grill First!

Now you already learn about lighting the charcoal grills without lighter fluid or chimney along with the safe alternatives. But all of your attempts will go wrong if you do not prepare your charcoal grill. Before you set the fire, you have to clean the charcoal grill. By the way, you should always clean and prepare it before your next use. otherwise, it will leave a weird smoky taste. 

Not only that but you also very important to collect the better quality and good enough supply of charcoals before starting to grill. There are a variety of charcoals available in store for grilling such as Royal Oak ridge, Kingsford’s Original charcoal briquettes, and many more. Besides, choosing the best type of charcoals, you also know the right amount of charcoals for grilling different foods.

One layer is pretty good for making steaks and burgers. On the other hand, it is not sufficient to use one layer as it will become more time-consuming. You will need two layers for the whole chicken or other birds.

Another essential fact that you need to bear in your mind is airflow plays a vital role to ignite the charcoal and the charcoal needs to heat properly. So, it is better to preheat it before you start your barbeque party.

How Do You Maintain a Strong Fire?

After building the fire, it is necessary to maintain a strong fire. By following the mentioned techniques, you will able to do so.

  • Keep the coals closer – By keeping the coals close, you will be able to maintain a strong fire. But you need to keep it mind that never make a crowd as they need strong airflow to ignite. If you cook a huge amount of food, you can grill your foods using two layers of charcoals.
    You can go with a two-zone grilling method if you just want to warm the foods and want to give them a smoky flavor. For this, you have to rearrange half of the charcoals into the pile and put the rest of the half charcoals into the grill. You need to make two to three layers for this.
  • Add more coals – To maintain the strong fire, you can add more coals in a regular basis. After adding the new coals, you should wait for five to ten minutes to restart the cooking.
  • Maintain proper airflow – As we mentioned earlier, airflow is very important to spread the fire. The more air means the better fire. As fire requires oxygen to burn, the more oxygen it receives, the more strong fire it will give. To ensure maximum heat the bottom and top of the vents must be opened always. But you can also control the temperature by closing one of the vents according to your needs.

Some Common Grilling Mistakes That You Shouldn’t Repeat! 

Whether you are an amateur or a pro griller, it is not that easy to cook on a charcoal grill.  Here we talk about some common grilling mistakes that you need to avoid. 

Mistake – 1# Not cleaning the grill before the next use – Sometimes we keep the grill grates without cleaning it. But it is not right. Always you have to clean the grates for your next use and ensure its proper maintenance. 

Mistake – 2# Do not preheat the grill grates – Always we are in a hurry to start grilling, we add foods without preheating the grates properly. As a result, most of the foods stick on the grill grates. To avoid this, you need to make sure the grates are hot enough, once the fire starts to spread and you should cover it with a lid for 10-15 minutes to heat up. 

Mistake – 3# Choosing the wrong type of heat – Using the right type of heat is very essential, otherwise your food is undercooked or overcooked and sometimes it can burn also. So, determine the accurate type of heat based on what you are going to cook.

Mistake – 4# Not using the vents properly – This one is done by most of us. We never use the vents of the grills properly, as they are very important for airflow. By adjusting the vents, you can also control the cooking temperature.

Mistake – 5# Too much lifting the lid – A perfect grilling always depends on your patience level. Most of the people frequently lift the lid of the griller to check the progress. So, do not open the lid for a longer time, close it as fast as possible after checking the food.

Let’s Enjoy Your Grilling!

When you spend your money to buy a perfect charcoal grill, the right instruments, expensive meats, and steak, then why do you compromise with the taste? Isn’t it misfortunate? 

After reading the entire article, now you know how to light a charcoal grill without lighter fluid or chimney. We hope we will convince you not to use harmful lighter fluids. So, choose your preferable method and start to set up the fire. 

Be ready to host an awesome barbeque party! 

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