How to Safely Light a Charcoal Grill With or Without Lighter Fluid

In Backyard grilling tips by marketninjas

When it comes to grilling any kind of food, you usually have the option to use lighter fluid or alternative methods. This is really just based on the preference of the griller, but there are plenty of ways to do both, depending on what you choose.

How can you safely light a charcoal grill with or without lighter fluid? To light, a charcoal grill with lighter fluid can be done safely two ways: Charcoal pyramid mound and using a Charcoal Chimney starter.

To light, a charcoal grill without lighter fluid requires using more materials for igniting power like paper towels, newspaper, vegetable oil, twigs, matches and a charcoal chimney starter.

There are a few ways to start a charcoal fire with or without lighter fluid, it really just depends upon the griller’s preference. Master grillers always have preferences as to how they want to grill their food. Some grillers believe that starting the charcoal with lighter fluid gives the grilled food a chemical taste and it’s not eco-friendly.

For those grillers that prefer lighter fluid, there are a few methods used to safely light the charcoal, which we will be discussing in this article. Keep reading to find out how you can safely light a charcoal grill with or without lighter fluid.

How to Safely Light a Charcoal Grill with Lighter Fluid

To safely light a charcoal grill with lighter fluid, a griller can use the charcoal pyramid mound or the Charcoal Chimney Starter.

The charcoal is gathered into a pyramid mound. The second method is using a charcoal chimney starter. It is a device where the charcoal is poured into a metal cylinder first for igniting purposes before it is transferred to the bottom of the grill.

How To Safely Light a Charcoal Grill With Lighter Fluid:

  • Build a charcoal pyramid mound
  • Generously use the lighter fluid
  • Long-stemmed match or mechanical lighter for igniting
  • Charcoal Chimney Starter.

Begin by building a pyramid mound at the bottom of the grill, which is the traditional method of grill ignition.

Generously spray the charcoal with lighter fluid for igniting purposes. Make sure that the mound is not too high to avoid high flames that can become uncontrollable.

Light the charcoal with a long-stemmed match or a mechanical lighter. It is safer to use long-stemmed matches to avoid burning accidents. Then stand back while it ignites.

For the charcoal Chimney Starter, set the device down on a flat and even surface inside the grill. Place the charcoal in the chimney in layers.

Generously spray it with lighter fluid. Light it with a long-stemmed match or mechanical lighter, then add more charcoal. Repeat this entire process until the chimney is full.

Wait until the charcoal has burned down and it has a very good ash look before pouring it into the bottom of the grill. Finally, add more charcoal and lighter fluid as needed or to your own personal preference in order to successfully light the grill.

How to Safely Light a Charcoal Grill Without Lighter Fluid

To safely light, a charcoal grill without lighter fluid requires using more materials for igniting power like paper towels, newspaper, vegetable oil, and a charcoal chimney starter. For igniting a fire in the grill, make sure that the materials being used are the ones that are included in the list down below.

Materials to use for lighting a charcoal grill without lighter fluid:

  • Paper towel
  • Newspaper
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Long-stemmed match or mechanical lighter
  • Charcoal Chimney Starter

At the bottom of the grill, begin by adding four or five large paper towels. Generously spray it with vegetable oil. Then, ignite it using a long-stemmed match or mechanical lighter before you proceed to add the charcoal in the same location.

Next, crumple up pages of a newspaper and place it on top of the charcoal. Generously add more vegetable oil to allow it to catch onto the existing flame. Allow the charcoal to burn until it is an ash look and repeat this process as needed until you achieve the desired results.

In order to use the Charcoal Chimney starter method, you will need to set the device down on a flat and even surface inside of the grill.

After that, you will place four or five large paper towels in the bottom of the chimney. Add vegetable oil to the paper towel very generously before you proceed.

Add the charcoal on top of the paper towel and vegetable oil tower that you have already created inside of the bottom of the chimney. You will then ignite the paper towel and wait until the charcoal is burning.

You will know that it is ready when the top charcoals are turning to an ash color. At this point, you will add a few crumpled newspapers at the bottom of the grill and wait until it ignites. Then transfer the well-lit charcoal ambers to the bottom of the grill.

Lastly, you will add more charcoal and wait until it is burning before adding more. Continue to repeat this process until your fire is burning consistently. Once you have accomplished this, you will be ready to start grilling your food.

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The Best Substitutes for Lighter Fluid (That Are Safe for Charcoal Grills)

The best substitutes for lighter fluid that are safe for charcoal grills are both user friendly and environmentally sound. The following list will outline some of the best substitutes that you can use in place of lighter fluid.

Here are some of the best substitutes that you can use instead of lighter fluid:

  • Electric Charcoal Lighter
  • Metal Chimney
  • Twigs and Matches
  • Newspaper, paper towels, and Vegetable oil
  • Lighter Wood
  • Looflighter
  • Diamond Strike Charcoal starter

An electric charcoal starter is a heating element that heats up to 110 volts when plugged in. This eco-friendly device works by starting charcoal with heat from a coil instead of a live flame. It can ignite up to two pounds of charcoal. Once it is ignited, make sure to immediately remove the device.

The Chimney method is another alternative to lighter fluid for charcoal grills. To do complete this, set the device down on a flat and even surface and light it with a match or mechanical lighter.

Place four or five large paper towels in the bottom of the chimney. Generously add vegetable oil to the paper towel, then add the charcoal on top.

Ignite the paper towel and wait a few minutes until the charcoal is burning. You will be made aware that the fire is ready when the top charcoals are turning to ash.

You will then add a few crumpled newspapers at the bottom of the grill and wait until it ignites. Vegetable oil is the primary choice for substitution as opposed to other oils due to its thin texture. Any other oil with a thin texture will do as well like Corn or safflower oils if you do not have access to vegetable oil.

To use twigs and matches, add a large number of dry twigs to the bottom of the grill, using long-stemmed matches to ignite them. Allow the twigs to burn for about five to ten minutes. Then, add the charcoal on top of the burning pile. Repeat this process as needed or until you are satisfied with the way the fire is burning.

Newspaper, paper towels, and vegetable oil can be a great aid in starting a fire as well.

Add crumpled newspaper and four or five large paper towels to the bottom of the grill to get this started.

Spray generously with vegetable oil, using a long-stemmed match or mechanical lighter, ignite the paper. Then, add the charcoal. Repeat the process if needed until you have successfully lit the grill.

Lighter wood is highly combustible as well, and can be lit with a match to start a charcoal grill. It can burn wet or dry due to its naturally rough texture. It burns extremely hot, which is perfect for lighting any kind of fire or charcoal.

Using lighter wood is the old traditional way of lighting up a grill. It is a safe and natural way to get the grill burning and it is chemical free and no additives. In no time, the griller can begin grilling food just like normal. 

Looflighter, on the other hand, can ignite a grill in a minute’s time where other methods take 10 to 15 minutes.

The Looflighter method is a safe and eco-friendly starter. It can light charcoal, briquettes, and wood in 60 seconds without using any dangerous chemicals, and it works by using superheated air.

Like a high-powered paint stripper, it focuses hot air, around 1250 degrees F, at the coals. Just lay it between the charcoal for igniting. Once there’s a flame, immediately remove it from the grill. Grillers must be very careful with this device and monitor the process with extreme caution in doing this, though.

Diamond Strike charcoal starters are pressed wood saturated with a paraffin. This material starts burning within ten minutes from ignition.

It works just like a match, easily and efficiently ignites the charcoal. Unfortunately, due to the paraffin, it is not free of additives. Therefore, this option may be a last resort when choosing an alternative to using lighter fluid.

In summary, there are ways to light a charcoal grill with or without lighter fluid. It all depends on the griller’s preference. For the griller’s that are health conscious, are genuinely concerned about the environment and whose preference is igniting the grill without lighter fluid, there are substitutions for igniting a charcoal grill that is very user-friendly and very safe for the environment.

There are the electric charcoal lighter, the charcoal chimney starter, and lighter wood to name a few that are all environmentally safe. A charcoal grill without lighter fluid requires using more materials for igniting power like paper towels, newspaper, vegetable oil, and a chimney starter.

For the grillers that prefer lighter fluid, there are two main methods of lighting a grill: the traditional way is placing the charcoal in a pyramid mound and generously adding lighter fluid for igniting power, and the charcoal chimney where charcoal is added in a metal cylinder before it is transferred to the bottom of the grill.

Either way, the process of igniting a charcoal grill provides the griller with choices to appease their grilling preferences while still achieving the same quality results.

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