Most people find the chimney started to be a convenient method to light their charcoal grill during any barbecue season. Although it is convenient, indeed this is not necessary. You will find some more accessible ways to start a charcoal grill sans using a chimney starter.

One will need some simple rules and some suitable materials to light the grill. Without the fuss of chimney starter preparation and the time required, you will be a pro.

Pre Requirements for lighting charcoal grills

Before you start with the process, you should clean the grill. It will reduce the possibility of any residue taste that might creep up due to previous barbeque sessions.

If you skip this step, then the food compounds’ residual taste or chemicals will make their way into the freshly prepared food. Make sure that you clean out any unburned charcoal pieces or ashes. It should be done to prevent the vents of either side of the grill from unclogging. It would be best if you got rid of all the debris and grime before you get set to go.

Choosing the right charcoal

Charcoal grills are not as intuitive as electric or gas grills. The first thing you should keep in mind is choosing the best charcoal from the available different types. Your charcoal should give a naturally light smoking scent when burnt. Some of the charcoal is made by using a blend of maple, hickory, or oak wood. These charcoals are super easy to light, and we’ll give you more minor frustrations.

Charcoal Grill

Arrange the charcoal for charcoal grill

It would be just fun to place the charcoals on your grill and leave the rest to God. But that’s not the case here. You must know how to arrange the charcoal for your charcoal grill to provide the best result.

Not to mention that the method will predict the arrangements of charcoal. For instance, if you use lighter fluid, you will have a particular arrangement rather than use the fire starter method. Let us discuss the different methods of starting the charcoal grill for the upcoming barbeque session.

Methods To Start A Charcoal Grill Without A Chimney

The looftlighter method

If you opt for a looftlighter method for starting your charcoal grill, you need to combine the blower and heater. The combination will initiate the excess heated air towards the charcoal.

Once the air gets into the way of the charcoal, it will help to ignite within a second. There is a dual advantage of using the looftlighter method. As it lights the grill within a minute, you can also use it for opening any bottles—the built-in stand of the looftlighter acts as a bottle opener.

You can follow the steps to start your charcoal grill with a looftlighter.

Initially, you have to plug in the looftlighter in any power output. Once you do that, you need to touch the base of the charcoal pile with the tip of the lighter. While doing it, you need to push the button present on the looftlighter.

You have to do this for at least 10 to 15 seconds until you see sparks on the coal. As soon as the coal starts glowing, hold the lighter backward about an inch but still pointing at the previous point.

After 1 minute, the cold will have enough heat to keep on burning. Now you can turn off your looftlighter and enjoy the bbq session. Additionally, you can use the same looftlighter to open a bottle of cold beer.

The best part is, you can write your briquettes or charcoal quickly. There is no use of chemicals or hazardous substances in this method.

The only disadvantage of using this method is that it requires electricity and it is one of the most expensive methods. But the other use of a looftlighter as a bottle opener has a nice touch to the overall scenario.

You are using one of the most expensive methods, and you should choose it with utmost care. But once you get hold of a look lighter, you can rest assured.

The Electric Charcoal Starter

It is also a method where you can start your charcoal grill without the use of any chemicals. An electric charcoal starter looks like a stove burner element. Unlike the electric stove burner element, the charcoal starter has a bent u shape with the handle fixed at the end.

Let us see how you can start with the electric charcoal starter.

First, you need to place the electric charcoal starter element’s burner in the basement of the grill. While you do that, the handle of the burner will stick out. Its protruded handle will help you to move and work efficiently. It is attached to an electric cord.

Once the charcoal has been placed, you need to plug the cord into an electric output. After 30 seconds, coal starts to glow once you see that you can unplug the burner element and remove it.

This method, however, lights only a smaller section of the charcoal. It takes a bit longer to spread around and create a big fire over a significant area expansion.

Most people prefer low and slow cooking in their charcoal grill. They can opt for this electric charcoal starter. With fine chemicals and the fastest lighting capabilities, the charcoal starter is a pure hit.

Electric fire starters work perfectly with any kind of grill. But make sure that you have power output as this will not work without electricity.

Fire Starter Method

The fire starter method, also known as firelighters, works well for Kamado-style grills. But how will one use these firelighters?

Generally, the fire starters for lighters use compressed cardboards coated in wax or any kind of wood shavings that are wax coated. You can also use paraffin wax to ignite the charcoal of your grill.

It works pretty well and does not leave any residual ashes like any other method.

Paraffin wax is non-toxic, works well, and does not leave any residue or odor. These are also sold loosely, which comes in small pouches or boxes.

You can place the fire starters under the chimney of your charcoal grill. But if you are not using any chimney starters, you can directly place them on a pile of charcoal. Light it using lighter or match sticks. And that’s all. You can work this out with any grills. Additionally, if you are looking for something cheap and inexpensive for a campfire, you can use this method. But make sure that you use only vegetable oil or paraffin wax.

If you don’t burn the wax entirely, it can mix up with your food, giving you a chemicalized taste. Thus it would be best if you were sure while getting the explosive agent. Ensure that they are labeled as natural before getting them home for your bbq sessions.

You can also make fire starters on your own using shortening instead of paraffin wax and some paper egg cartons. But you will get a burn time of 8 minutes.

Paper Charcoal Method

With this method of lighting your charcoal grill, you need to be more patient. It is not a reliable method and requires intensive labor. But if you can get away with the paper charcoal method, you deserve a badge of merit for fire building.

To start with the charcoal method, you need to prepare the base for your fire. To do that, lay down your briquettes or charcoal. Over the charcoal briquettes, you need to pad up 4 to 5 sheets of old newspapers. Place those in the middle of the charcoal grill.

Put dry and thin sticks in any pattern over the paper. But the most preferred pattern is the Crisscross pattern. Make sure that you press down the thin sticks to create a leveled surface.

On top of that, please add some charcoal and light the papers. Within minutes you will see that your charcoals light up. It will create residual ashes. To ensure that the fire does not die out, you need to add more charcoal to build up a tremendous fire.

The best part of this paper charcoal method is there is no use of chemicals. But you need to have the best fire-building skills with dry kindling wood.

In other words, you are simply making a fire to start a fire for your charcoal grill. It is one of the slowest fire-building methods for your charcoal grill. You will find it hard, in fact almost tricky, to light the fire using this method in which condition or humid climates.

It takes the longest time to light the fire, but you will be satisfied that you don’t need any starters or lighter fluids to build a fire.

Lighter Fluid Method

Soggy charcoals or rain, whatever the reason may be, you are sure to light your charcoal grill perfectly with these lighter fluids.

What’s the only problem with this method is that it often leaves a chemical aftertaste. And also, it is one of the dangerous methods. To work this method out, you need to create a pyramid of coal or briquettes. It would help if you did it in the basement of your grill. Put some liberal amount of lighter fluid onto the coal or pile of briquettes. Leave it in that condition for at least 30 minutes for the briquettes to soak in the lighter fluid.

Make sure before lighting the fire, and you should put the bottle at least 10 feet away from the charcoal grill.

Now light the grill using rolled-up newspapers or a long matchless lighter. If you see any vapor flash fire, immediately move your hand out of the grill.


After reading this guide, you can now master some of the methods for lighting your charcoal grill.

It is best always to carry a lighter or some matches for backup. But if you are close to any power supply source, you can opt for the electric fire starters.