Starting a charcoal grill can be challenging. In this video, we’ll walk you through the steps to make sure starting your charcoal grill is as simple as possible.
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Do you need to know how to start a charcoal grill? Or how to light charcoal without lighter fluid? In this video, we’ll discuss step by step how exactly to start a charcoal grill.
Many people love the char-broiled taste you only get from grilling with charcoal. Lighting your charcoal, the proper way will have you up and cooking in no time.
There are basically two types of charcoal to choose from: lump charcoal, which is 100% hardwood that has been charred., and charcoal briquettes, which are manufactured using various charred woods, coal, sawdust and binders.
The Home Depot is your source for all of your charcoal grilling fuels. We have charcoal briquettes, wood pellets, and so much more.
Lighting your charcoal the proper way will have you up and cooking in no time.
Always begin by lifting open the lid to the grill and removing the top cooking grate.
There are three common methods to light your charcoal grill:
The first is lighting coals with a chimney starter, using no lighter fluid.
Place the empty chimney starter onto the lower grate, also called a charcoal grate, and pour in the charcoal.
For low heat (for cooking food like tender white fish or for using the coals to light a smoker) - fill the chimney one quarter full.
For medium heat for foods like burgers or brats, fill it one-half to three-quarters.
And for high temperatures fill the chimney to the top.
The amount of charcoal needed may vary based on the size of your grill.
Now that your chimney has charcoal you will need to add an accelerant such as lighter cubes or crumpled newspaper.
Put the accelerant at the base of the starter and light.
Once the top coals begin to turn grey with ash you’ll be ready to pour them onto the charcoal grate.
The entire process should take about 15 minutes.
The second method is lighting the coals with lighter fluid.
Arrange the charcoal in a pile or pyramid on the charcoal grate.
Keeping the briquettes close together will help the fire spread from coal to coal easily so they’re ready to use faster.
Read the lighter fluid directions for using proper amounts and don’t ever spray onto a lit fire or hot coals.
Squirt lighter fluid onto the top of the coals and light immediately.
The coals are ready for cooking when they turn gray with ash. A third option is to use matchlight charcoal.
Arrange the charcoal in a pile or pyramid on the charcoal grate and light.
The coals are ready for cooking when they turn gray with ash.
Regardless of your method… once your coals are ready place your cooking grate back on the grill and close the lid.
Allow the grill to heat up to the desired temperature using a thermometer as a guide.
If your grill doesn’t have a built-in one, use a surface thermometer placed on the cooking grate.
Once the grill is heated prepare it for cooking.
First, clean the grill grates using a grill brush and coat the grates with a grill spray or vegetable oil.
When you’re done cooking, clean the cooking grate while it’s still warm and any stuck-on food is easier to remove.
When done, fully close the vents and dampers on the grill to cut off the oxygen supply to the coals.
This will cause the coals to be extinguished. How long that takes depends on how much charcoal you still have left.
Once all coals are out and the grill has cooled down be sure to put on your grill cover.
To find out more about starting a charcoal grill, check out our full guide on homedepot.com or to browse our wide selection of grills, click below.
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How to Start a Charcoal Grill | The Home Depot