Wood Chips and Chunks

Charcoal Starters

Starting a Fire


Keep it Going!

Is It Done Yet?

Charcoal Starters

Our DAD once lit a pile of leaves using old lawnmower gasoline. The blast blew him backwards halfway across Shelby County. That pretty much was our lesson in combustibles, and we have learned it very well.

There are many different ways to get the charcoal going, but we don't like any of them that start with liquid fuel of any kind. Yes, it's dangerous, but first and foremost, it stinks, and it makes the food stink, too. Quick-lighting charcoal, such as Matchlight, is the exact same thing, except they have taken some of the danger out of the equation by adding the lighter fluid directly to the charcoal mix when they manufacture the briquettes. It lights fast, but it smells just as bad.

A simple charcoal chimney can be purchased at any hardware store, and it's fast and simple. Put it flat in the bottom of the grill, stuff in two sheets of newspaper, leaving one corner up at the top, then fill with charcoal. Light the paper, and in a few minutes, the edges of the charcoal will turn grey. You can lift out the charcoal starter and spread the coals out.

Our fav, by far, is the Char-Broil Electric Charcoal Lighter, a plug-in contraption sold at Lowes' all year round (in the South, anyway) for about $10. We've put a picture of it on this page, so you will recognize it when you see it. It's a heating element with an electric cord, and a hook to hold it in the grill. You embed the heating element in the charcoal when you lay your fire, plug it in, and when you see flames, unplug it and put it somewhere safe until it cools off. No sweat, no mess, and best of all, only the sweet, sweet smell of barbecue!

The Char-Broil Electric Charcoal Lighter is sold at Lowes' for about $10. It lights fast, is easy to use and to store, and best of all — only the sweet, sweet smell of barbecue!
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