Lighting Charcoal Barbecues

by Doris Donnerman
(last updated June 10, 2015)

So, you have a charcoal barbecue but you dread filling it because of the mess. Try some of these tips to make it easier when you start grilling this weekend.

Next time you buy charcoal, fill paper grocery bags with the briquettes. Put just enough in each bag for one grilling. When it's time to fire up the grill, just toss in one of the bags and light it. The paper will burn quickly and ignite the charcoal, all without you getting your hands or clothes dirty.

You can also arrange your charcoal in a paper milk carton or similar flammable package. When you're ready to start grilling, just set the package inside your barbecue and light it at the bottom.

If you're using lighter fluid, put your charcoal in the barbecue and soak it with two one-second squirts per pound of charcoal you're using—that is, if your barbecue takes two pounds of charcoal, count, "One, two, three, four" while you're squirting the lighter fluid, and then be done. That's all you need. Arrange your soaked charcoal in a pyramid, and light from the bottom. If you have a big pile, light it in a couple places.

Did you know that instead of lighter fluid, you can use light-weight cardboard (like cereal boxes)? All you need to do is tear the cardboard into small pieces, put it in the bottom of the grill and place the charcoal or wood chips on top. Make sure some of the box pieces peek through the charcoal so you can easily light them. You may find this method preferable to using lighter fluid. There is no waiting for the fluid to soak into the coals, your food will probably taste better, and it reduces the amount of garbage you put in landfills.

Air is the key to really getting your barbecue going. Do you find yourself huffing and puffing into the coals of your barbecue to get it going and then again to revive it after a few hours? This is tiring and unsafe, so you might want to resort to using a bellows to provide the needed air. You can make a tiny bellows for your barbecue coals by using an empty plastic squeeze bottle. You will find that a little well-placed air should do the trick. You can also use your electric hair dryer. Both are simple, yet effective alternatives to your lungs.

It will take about twenty minutes for your coals to be ready for cooking. When they are covered with white ash, spread them evenly over the bottom of your barbecue, and get cooking!

Author Bio

Doris Donnerman

Doris is a jack of all trades, writing on a variety of topics. Her articles have helped enlighten and entertain thousands over the years. ...

MORE FROM DORIS

How to Care for Books

Books are a great and wonderful thing to have in any home. There is a down side to these types of collections though, and ...

Discover More

Keep Your Hands Wet When Stroking Your Pet

When pets shed, it can be really annoying, and often there's nothing you can do about it. While sometimes you may be at a ...

Discover More

Old Fashioned Beef Stew

Are you tired of the same old meals? Do you miss the old fashioned stew that you had as a child? This recipe is just like ...

Discover More
More Cooking Tips

Planning a Picnic

When the weather is right, there is nothing better than a picnic. However, do you know how to go about planning a picnic that ...

Discover More

Perfect Pulled Pork

Pulled pork can be a wonderful treat when you are in the mood for some great barbecue. However, to really achieve some ...

Discover More

Something Different on the Barbecue

Ready for something different at your barbecue? You don't have to do much to make your next grilling a memorable one.

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured cooking tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 9 - 2?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Videos

Subscribe to the Tips.Net channel:

Visit the Tips.Net channel on YouTube

Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured cooking tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)