A lot of BBQ’ers only know one way to light up their grill — pile up charcoal in the center, soak it with lighter fluid, and light a match.

However, not only can lighter fluid impart a nasty taste in your food but also end up being in your food, which is dangerous, and no one would like that.

But what if we told you there is a safe and effective way around lighting the grill without lighter fluid?

There are many ways that you can follow to light your grill without even touching lighter fluid, but one of the most prominent and prevalent ones is the Charcoal chimney.

Whenever we hear the word chimney, we relate it with something like an auto-clean chimney for the kitchen or a greasy chimney filter.

Nevertheless, a charcoal chimney is no such thing but a cylindrical jar-shaped device that can quickly light up your grill.

If you don’t know how to use a charcoal chimney? Don’t worry; we got you covered with this guide.

So without wasting more time here, let’s dig in.

What is a Charcoal Chimney?

Before we get into the usage, let’s quickly understand what this thing does.

Long story short, a charcoal chimney is a metallic cylinder that resembles a jug shape with a grate in the bottom.

It allows you to light your barbecue safely without the need for lighter fluid.

As for the nomenclature, the logic goes like this: the fire burns, rises the heat, and pulls fresh air from the bottom. This is called the chimney effect, which typically provides air to speed up the heating process.

Since the coals are stuffed very close together, the fluid lits very quickly.

How to Use a Charcoal Chimney?

When it comes to using a charcoal chimney, it is straightforward and easy. Plus, effective and better than traditional lighter fluid.

So get ready with your chimney, and let’s understand how to use it.

Inserting the Paper

The first step involves inserting the paper, but you will need to flip the chimney for that.

Basically, there are two sides of a charcoal chimney one is deep and the other is shallow. The shallow is where you will be inserting the paper.

No need for any fancy printed paper; just a simple new paper will do the trick. You can also use cardboard.

Flip the chimney, crumble the newspaper and loosely place it inside. Ensure that you are not packing it too tight, or it might smother out.

Once inserted, flip back the chimney to add charcoal.

Adding Charcoal to the Chimney

Next, gather your charcoal and add it to the deep side.

If you are using lump charcoal, make sure that the smaller pieces are at the bottom, followed by a more significant piece on the upper side.

The reason for this is, the smaller pieces on the base will get heated quickly. As for the larger piece, they will take time to heat, so it is best to leave them on the upper side.

Lighting the Paper

Now, it’s time for you to light up the newspaper with a lighter or match stick.

Before that, place your chimney on the grill and while lighting the newspaper, ensure that you are lighting the paper from different sides to get adequately burned.

Once correctly burned, you will see smoke popping out. The holes on the side create perfect ventilation.

Dump the Charcoal from the Chimney to Your Grill

Wait for around 20 minutes before you start dumping.

After around 20 minutes, you should be seeing the ember starting to glow and fire traveling upwards.

Once you start seeing the top portion of the charcoal turning ashen and the ember is pretty good, it’s time for you to dump the charcoal to your grill.

Make sure that you are wearing a heat-resistant glove. You can dump the charcoal into a direct or indirect grilling.

There is no wrong way to do it, but ensure that the charcoal is even and set.

Start Cooking

Lastly, start your scrumptious cooking by placing the grate over the top. A general rule of thumb is to refresh your charcoal every 45 to 50 minutes, especially if you are cooking something that will consume more time.

To refresh your charcoal, you can even purchase grill gates that can open, mainly if you abide by kettle-style grilling for cooking.


You see how easy and safe it is to use a charcoal chimney? Moreover, you say bye-bye to that nasty lighter fluid that is not only dangerous for your health but also adds an obnoxious taste to your delicious food.

A charcoal chimney is one of our favorite grilling tools, making lighting grilling quick and excellent time after time. If you have grillers in your life, don’t forget to forward this article, they might need it.

Anyways, thanks for reading till here; we appreciate it — if you have any doubts or want to share your ideas and thoughts, please comment them down below. We would love to hear from you.

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