How to Light Charcoal with a Chimney
This simple device uses paper — most commonly newspaper — to light the charcoal. The charcoal is held within the chimney above the flames, so the edges light quickly and help ignite the neighboring charcoal. It’s an easy and effective way to get your charcoal burning.
What You’ll Need
To make the process flow smoothly, be sure to gather everything on the list below before you get started.
- Kingsford® Original Charcoal Briquets
- Heat-Resistant Grilling Gloves
- Kindling: Old Newspaper, Used Paper Bags or Purpose-Made Chimney Starters
- Cooking Oil (Optional)
- Charcoal Grill
- Long-Handled Tongs or a Long-Handled Metal Spatula
- Matches or Lighter
Add Kindling and Light
- Add old newspaper, used paper bags or your choice of purpose-made chimney starters.
- To light with newspaper, loosely crinkle one or two sheets so that they’ll fill the bottom of the chimney. Place the newspaper on the grill grate and fully cover with the chimney. Light the newspaper in several spots.
Here’s How to Light a Chimney Without Kindling Place 3 Kingsford® Original Charcoal Briquets directly on the grill grate, squirt them with lighter fluid, then light by following lighting directions on pack. Place a full chimney on top, and the chimney will then light without kindling.
- As the newspaper burns in the chamber below, the flames will light the edges of the charcoal above.
- Peek through the chimney vents to see if the coals have started, and if the edges of the coals have turned gray.
What Should I Do if the Coals Haven’t Started to Burn?
Burn another piece of newspaper. If the coals have not started yet, you can drizzle a small amount of cooking oil onto the newspaper to create a fire starter that will help you light your chimney.
Safety Note: Be sure to apply the oil sparingly, as a little goes a long way. This technique should help get your fire going.
For your safety, use this method only with unlit charcoal. Never spray or pour cooking oil into an open flame.
Add Kindling and Light
When All the Coals Are Ashed Over, Pour Out the Chimney
- After about 15 to 20 minutes, you’ll see the coals starting to glow through the vents and flames starting to flicker over the top layer.
- When all the coals in the chimney are ashed over, pour out the coals. We recommend using a pair of heat-resistant gloves — the chimney will be hot.
- Grab your tongs or use a metal spatula if you need to spread the coals out further.
- Now it’s time to get grilling!
How to Gauge Grill Heat Without a Thermometer
Carefully hold your hand about 5” to 6” above the grate, and refer to the temperature settings below:
• High Heat (450° to 550°F):
2 to 4 seconds
• Medium Heat (350° to 450°F):
5 to 6 seconds
• Low Heat (250° to 350°F):
8 to 10 seconds
Make sure your clothing doesn’t touch the grate, and always move your hand away from the heat before you feel discomfort.
When you’re at temp, put cooking oil on a folded paper towel. Grab the oiled paper towel with long-handled tongs and oil the grate thoroughly.