With good weather comes plenty of backyard barbecues. To successfully host a great barbecue and get the most out of your grilling experience, you should know how to light up charcoal confidently and efficiently. Many grill masters will admit that their first few times lighting up their grill wasn’t as productive or clean as it could’ve been. Mastering the art of the grill means mastering the art of lighting your charcoal. To help you achieve ideal grill temperatures and the perfect char for your food, Zenfiyah created a complete guide on how to easily light up charcoal briquettes. With the following advice, you can get the most out of your charcoal purchases and have a breezy cooking experience.
But First…Common Mistakes That People Make When Trying to Light Up Charcoal
Your journey to mastering the art of lighting up briquettes doesn’t have to depend on trial and error. Before we get into tips for lighting up your charcoal briquettes with ease, we’ll explore the most common mistakes people make when trying to ignite their charcoal. If you’re doing any of the following, you’ll have a difficult time getting the most out of your charcoal briquettes and keeping your grill at an ideal temperature.
You’re Unfamiliar With Your Charcoal
Some briquettes take longer to ignite than others. Get an idea of how long your type of charcoal briquettes takes to get hot before attempting to light it up. Knowing what you’re getting yourself into ahead of time can inform best lighting practices. Slow-burning charcoal briquettes are great for controlled temperatures and minimal lighting hassle.
You’re Using Too Much Lighter Fluid
Lighter fluid is an excellent tool for getting a fire going in a pinch, but it can have an unfavorable impact on your food. Adding too much lighter fluid to your coals will impact your food’s flavor. Often, lighter fluid can impart a notable chemical flavor that masks the charred taste most grillers are aiming for.
You’re Not Using a Chimney Starter
Some folks shy away from chimney starters, which is a big mistake. Chimney starters are essential to lighting any kind of charcoal easily and quickly. With a chimney starter, some bunched-up newspaper, and a lighter, you’ll have hot coals in no time. We’ll cover how to use a chimney later.
You’re Too Far Away From the Grill
A hot grill can be intimidating, but it’s important that you’re not too far away from it while you’re getting your coals hot. Trying to ignite your briquettes from a distance isn’t safe. Remember, the fire will take a moment, so you can remain next to your grill while the coals heat up.
Keeping Safe at the Grill: It’s best practice to keep oven mitts or a small towel nearby for when things heat up. Cheap grilling tools tend to get hot, so always opt for high-quality grilling utensils when cooking.
You Over/Underestimate Your Needs
A surefire way to give yourself a tough time lighting your briquettes is to go in without a plan. Always consider your ideal grill temperatures and how long you plan to grill to confirm you’re lighting the correct amount of charcoal.
Your Grill Is Dirty
A dirty grill is an unsafe and ineffective grill. If you allow grease and ash to build up in your grill’s vents, you compromise your grill’s airflow, which is critical to effective ignition. Clean your grill after every use to avoid trouble lighting your charcoal briquettes.
You Forget to Disperse Your Coals
In most cases, you’ll want to avoid an even spread of your briquettes in the grill. Most grillers use indirect and direct heat to control the taste and temperature of their food. You’ll achieve greater temperatures and a more thorough ignition by positioning 75 percent of your briquettes to one side for direct heat.
Tips to Effectively Clean Your Grill
Cleaning has a direct impact on how easy or difficult it is for you to light your coals. If you notice that your grill is a little grimy, do yourself a favor and clean it before attempting to light your briquettes. Make sure you check that you’ve taken care of the following before and after each grilling session.
Remove cooled briquettes, and brush out remaining ash.
Scrub grime off the grill grates with a stiff-wired brush or a ball of aluminum foil and tongs.
Apply vegetable oil to the clean grates to prevent rust and buildup.
Use a steel brush and mild soap to wash the inside of the grilling bowl.
Lighter Fluid vs. Chimney: Tips to Light Your Charcoal Briquettes
The second half of our complete guide on how to easily light up charcoal briquettes will focus on what you should do to efficiently light up your coals, whether you prefer lighter fluid or a chimney.
Lighting a Charcoal Grill With Lighter Fluid
Though lighter fluid isn’t the best option for lighting your charcoal briquettes because it tends to influence overall taste, it’s still a highly popular choice for novice grillers. Should you use lighter fluid, be sure to use the following tips to stay safe and get an optimal coal ignition.
Arrange Your Coals Into a Pyramid
Spread your coals to create a wide base. Narrow your stack with smaller layers until you have a pyramid-shaped pile.
Squirt Lighter Fluid Over Coals Evenly
Carefully douse your coals with lighter fluid. An even coat will make for an even light.
Let the Briquettes Absorb
Let your charcoal briquettes soak up the lighter fluid for about 30 seconds.
Light the Coals
You may use a lighter or long-nose match to light the coals evenly. Light the coals in various spots, and do not add lighter fluid once they’ve caught fire.
Place Your Grate Back Onto the Grill
Once they’ve turned white, your coals are ready for use. Place your grate back onto the grill, and begin grilling!
Lighting a Charcoal Grill With a Chimney
Add Your Charcoal
Fill up your chimney with your charcoal of choice. Be sure to avoid an overflowing chimney.
Place the Starter Under the Chimney and Light It
Gather bundled newspaper, paper cups, wood chips, or anything around the house that catches easily to ignite your chimney. Place your chimney starter under the chimney, and light the materials on fire.
Dump Coals Once There Are Flames
Once flames start to peek through your coals, it’s time to dump your coals into the grill bowl.
Place Your Grate Back Onto the Grill
Allow your charcoal to sit for a minute in your grill. As mentioned, white charcoal is a sign that it’s time to grill. Place the grate back onto the grill once the coals are white, and get cooking.
If you’re looking for slow-burning briquettes that offer a clean, odorless, and sparkless grilling experience, consider Zenfiyah. Our coconut shell briquettes last up to three times longer than regular lump charcoal, making them the cost-effective choice for any level of grilling. Not only are our briquettes budget-friendly, but they’re also extremely eco-friendly, as they don’t require wood for production. Check out the rest of our website today to learn more about our products.