Chimney starters are a tried and true way of lighting your charcoal fire. Once you know how to do it right, it's easy and will get you cooking without having to fuss about with your fuel. Here's how:
- First, gather the materials. You'll need a chimney starter, a fire starter, a bag of natural charcoal, and a match or lighter. Make sure you have a safe place to light the fire, such as a backyard or a fire pit. NOTE:Lighter fluid should not be used when starting charcoal because it adds chemicals and unpleasant flavours to the food being cooked.
- Next, take the chimney starter and fill the bottom compartment with a fire starter. The fire starter serves as kindling to start the fire.
- Fill the top compartment with charcoal. Make sure the charcoal is level and fill the compartment to the top.
- Place the chimney starter on a stable surface, such as your charocoal grate, a concrete patio or a fire pit. Light the fire starter through the holes in the bottom compartment.
- Wait for the charcoal to start burning. This will take about 15 to 20 minutes. You can tell the charcoal is ready when it is covered in ash and is starts to turn gray.
- Once the charcoal is ready, carefully pour it out of the chimney starter and into your barbecue. Spread the charcoal evenly across the bottom of the barbecue or to one side to create a two-zone cooking area.
- Place your cooking grids in place and allow them to come up to temperature with the rest of the barbecue.
- Place your food on the grill or barbecue and start cooking! The charcoal is now hot enough to cook your food.
- Once you are done cooking, let the charcoal cool down before disposing of it.
When using a chimney starter, you should also be sure to use it in a well-ventilated outdoor area, or it can be dangerous. Keep it away from any flammable objects. Also, be sure to keep a hose or bucket of water nearby in case of any emergency, to extinguish the fire if necessary.