Wednesday, November 29, 2023


How to start a charcoal grill without lighter fluid or a chimney

By Cheri Sicard
If you have ever wondered how to start a charcoal grill without lighter fluid, this extremely short but invaluable video is for you.

I specifically sought out this video because my own recent attempts at BBQ lighting have turned out abysmal. Last time I could barely get it to light and wasted a bunch of charcoal.

Instant-light charcoal briquets don’t always light instantly, I have found. Plus, they’re more expensive and can leave a funky flavor.

The same can be true of using lighter fluid to start the charcoal burning.

I know people who douse their charcoal with so much lighter fluid, you can smell it around the camp for hours afterward. I find this also leaves a flavor residue on the food. Yuck.

At home, I use a chimney and this works great. I don’t want to take one on the road because for one thing, they are a big, bulky item that I would need to find somewhere to store. And secondly, chimneys get dirty and sooty once you use them.

So, not only would I have to store a bulky item, but I would also need to find a way to wrap it first so that it didn’t end up making a mess of everything.

There is a better way. And the video below will show you how.

You don’t need any lighter fluid at all. There is no need for a chimney either. But, you are going to fashion a chimney out of paper.

Food, fatherhood, and DIY expert Warren Nash makes one on camera and lights his fire in under a minute and a half. Wow, that is quick!

What you will need to start a charcoal grill without lighter fluid:

  • A large bottle or another object to fashion the paper chimney around
  • Some newspaper
  • Charcoal
  • A lighter or matches

That’s all!

Even better, when you use this method, you don’t even have to stir your charcoal around.  Just light it and about 10 minutes or so later you are ready to cook. Genius!




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kevin (@guest_201443)
1 year ago

They make collapsible chimneys. They are square and fold down. I see them on Amazon and they are probably available from other sources as well.

Ronvada (@guest_201437)
1 year ago

Get on the internet and you will find a charcoal chimney that is about half the size of your Weber and works real good when you go RV and out there to do something and I don’t have a trouble getting my charcoal yet I take that newspaper wad it up in a little bitty ball wet and use four or five of those and just fires that chimney right up

Thom R (@guest_201404)
1 year ago

Where does a person find newspaper these days? Hehe

Bob M (@guest_201362)
1 year ago

I find some charcoal briquettes won’t light, I think one of them is Cowboy briquettes. I had a coal stoker stove and they use to sell small paper bags with charcoal briquettes in. Light the bag and the briquettes would always start and light the coal.

Bob p (@guest_201359)
1 year ago

You spoke of not wanting to carry your chimney because of it size and dirty, but it looks like the bottle is as big and breakable. The chimney could easily be put into a bag to keep its dirt off other things. And it probably isn’t much larger than the empty wine bottle.

Snoopy (@guest_201395)
1 year ago
Reply to  Bob p

Hmm, good catch!!!! But it does sound like a great idea, I’m sure you could improvise on something else besides an old bottle!

Cheri Sicard (@guest_201409)
1 year ago
Reply to  Snoopy


Cheri Sicard (@guest_201408)
1 year ago
Reply to  Bob p

I don’t carry a bottle, there are any number of things in the rig that can fill in for it.

Tommy Molnar (@guest_201348)
1 year ago

I like this! I never would have thought of it. I used to always carry my fave charcoal bbq with me until almost every state I traveled in banned the use of any open fires, including charcoal grills. Now I just bring my c r a p p y propane bbq. Ugh.

Thomas Champagne (@guest_201343)
1 year ago

Wow ! He was using real coal not the ‘briquettes ” that are sold here in Rhode Island

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