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July 2, 2012

Lighting Charcoal – part two

by BBQ Insanity

We’ve already discussed the advantages of using a chimney starter when lighting charcoal in an earlier post.  But how do you light the charcoal to begin with?

Lighting charcoal

Don’t use lighter fluid, the smell can taint the food.  But having said this,  there is a very successful BBQ pitmaster that does use lighter fluid!  More on this later… Some purists say only to use newspaper to light the chimney starter.  The technique is to scrunch a sheet of newspaper up into a ring, and stuff into the bottom of the chimney starter.  I prefer not to do this.  I’ve had sporadic results, sometimes the charcoal catches, other times not.  And every time, a lot of smoke is created!

I prefer to use BBQ lighters.  It’s just less hassle and far more efficient.  It’s important however to use proper barbecue lighters and not regular fire lighters.  Barbecue lighters are specially designed for use with food and do not contain petroleum and don’t cause nasty fumes.  Generally, two cubes placed below the chimney starter will suffice, although you can get away with using only one.  However, if you use only one, the charcoal may take longer to ignite, and who wants to wait around when it’s time to start cooking some delicious barbecue food!


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