How To Work with a Charcoal Chimney
You love to grill, and your family loves it when you grill. Maybe you are known to turn out some of the best steaks in the neighborhood (then again, maybe you just recently found your new hobby). Nevertheless, you may be wondering, what is this charcoal chimney deal and how can I get one? We have these answers for you, and some pro tips to get you started.
Charcoal chimneys provide one of the best ways (safest, economical, and efficient) to start your charcoal grill. And the best part is, you can ditch the lighter fluid because these starters work without them. All in all, the chimney is a metal cylinder of magic. Read on for more.
Steps to Buying and Using a Charcoal Chimney
It is time to get in front of the grill and start grilling. The first step is to light your grill. You are in luck because we have just the thing for you: the charcoal chimney.
As we mentioned before, this is a simply designed metal cylinder, also known as a chimney starter. You can use it no matter if you grill with charcoal briquettes or lump charcoal. Just do not buy any lighter starter or charcoal lighter fluid because you will not be needing it.
The science behind the charcoal chimney is genius: the heat from the grill rises up into the bottom of the chimney. Because of the protective walls surrounding the coals, the heat has no where else to go. The result is intense heat pointed directly at your charcoal, for an easy start to your grill.
But charcoal chimneys are good for other uses as well. For instance, starting your grill with the charcoal starter allows the coals to burn through any chemicals before you start grilling your food. Now that you know this pro tip, you probably will not even want to use your regular starter anymore.
Not to mention, say you need to light more coals while you are grilling. Just use the charcoal chimney along the way, which is especially helpful if you are grilling with self-igniting or instant briquettes. This is because these coals give your food that smoky flavor due to the petroleum smoky burn that occurs when they are added unlit to the grill.
By now you are probably wondering: how do I know which starter to buy?
These are sure ways to get the most out of a chimney starter so that grilling is a joy, not a pain (literally).
And now comes the answer to your next question: how do I start with a charcoal chimney. The steps are simple.
Step One To Using A Charcoal Chimney
You should always open the air vents and loosely pack two or three newspaper pages (or kindling wood) at the bottom. Once again, loosely packed is key because this allows the air to flow freely, which is crucial for the paper to burn efficiently. You will notice that there are holes at the bottom of the chimney.
Poke the kindling material through these holes so they are sticking out in several places. This will make it easier for you to ignite.
Step Two - Add Coals to Your Charcoal Chimney
Now is the time to add the coals to the chimney. Set the starter on your charcoal grate in the grill. This is an ideal place because the air flow to the burning coals is optimal due to the elevation. Now you are ready to light up the kindling material. Just be warned, there will be a bit of smoke at first.
Step Three - Gain Heat & Start Grilling
Once the coals start to catch fire, which happens after about 2 minutes, the smoke will die down. Still, you should wait about 20-25 minutes for coals to gain heat, but check back regularly to ensure that the coals are still burning. Then it is time for you to start grilling.
Pro Tips for Grilling with a Charcoal Chimney
Those three steps were easy, not to mention, there is no need for the lighter fluid! Now here are some helpful pro tips for making the best use of your charcoal starter.
We know grilling is not just a hobby. It is a passion fit for a chimney. So tell us what you think! Will you opt for a charcoal chimney? Is starting without fluid easier? Do you find your grill cooks better with option of relighting along the way? How are the recipes? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
For a more visual tutorial, check out this video!
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you use a charcoal chimney starter?
Follow our easy to understand, step by step process in this article to learn how to use a charcoal chimney. It’s as easy as opening the air vents, packing it full of coals, lighting your kindling material, and waiting for the coals to fully ignite.
Do you need lighter fluid with a chimney starter?
The great thing about a charcoal chimney is that it’s designed to efficiently light your coals without lighter fluid. That means you don’t have to wait for the fumes to burn off before you can start cooking over your charcoal grill. If you prefer working with lighter fluid, though, you can certainly use it to speed up the ignition process.
How many briquettes can you fit in a charcoal chimney?
The number of briquettes that will fit in your chimney really depends on the size of your starter. If you have a very small grill, you only need a medium-sized chimney starter, but we really recommend buying the largest starter available. You don’t have to fill it all the way, but it’s always nice to have just in case you need it! Check with the manufacturer to see how many briquettes will fit in your particular model.
What is the best charcoal chimney starter?
There are a number of different brands of chimney starters, from Weber to Char-Broil and Steve Raichlen. Check out our in-depth guide of the best chimney starters to find the right one for you.
How do I know if my chimney starter is ready?
When the charcoal briquettes are no longer actively on fire and they’re glowing deep red, they’re ready to use. Once the charcoal on the top of the chimney starter is starting to turn grey with ash, they are definitely ready.