How to Start a Charcoal Grill Fast: Tips on How to Keep the Charcoal Hot

Mar 22nd 2023 - Team

How to Start a Charcoal Grill Fast: Tips on How to Keep the Charcoal Hot

You can quickly ignite charcoal using one of the methods outlined in our charcoal grill lighting guide. Particularly for first-time charcoal grillers, lighting the charcoal can be a frightening undertaking. Here, you'll find solutions to your most pressing issues and resources that will make charcoal cooking a breeze.

Method 1: Using a Lighter Fluid

  • One-quarter cup of liquid for every pound of charcoal is the maximum that should be used.
  • Simply wait 30 seconds for the lighter fluid to soak in before lighting.
  • Lighter fluid should never be used to put out a fire.

Important Lighter fluid is unnecessary while lighting charcoal. Plus, there are a handful of compelling arguments against using lighter fluid. Flammability and air quality are two major concerns. Vapors from a lighter fluid might make your food smell and taste funny.

Because of their propensity to contribute to photochemical smog, the ingredients in the charcoal lighter fluid are regulated and even forbidden in some locations. These ingredients include petroleum (mineral spirits) and alcohol (ethanol and methanol).

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Method 2: Using Newspaper

Using newspaper as a fire starter for a charcoal grill is a simple way to recycle paper.

  • Tuck several pieces of newspaper under the coals in various areas.
  • Set the starter with newspaper on fire with a fireplace match or lighter.
  • Make sure the fire is well-lit by adding newspaper.

There are a number of reliable approaches to lighting charcoal, but several tools might make the process more manageable. In order to facilitate the process of lighting charcoal, you can use these tools:

Method 3: Using a Charcoal Chimney Starter

Charcoal chimneys and starters are designed to hold a quantity of charcoal in a compact, evenly distributed form, allowing for easy lighting of individual lumps or briquettes.

  • You can start a fire using a chimney with charcoal starter by placing a ball of newspaper on the charcoal grate.
  • The newspaper can be lit using the starter's bottom holes. It takes around 15 minutes for coals to become ashy, at which point they are ready for cooking.
  • When the coals are ready, spread them out on the bottom grill grate using a spatula or tongs with a long grip.

Method 4: Using an Electric Starter

You can recognize an electric charcoal starter by its handle and the metal loop (the heating element) at the opposite end of the gadget. You can use an outdoor extension cord to power the charcoal starter.

  • Place a single layer of charcoal in a compact area close to the grill's center.
  • In the middle of the pile of charcoal, place the heating element of the electric charcoal starter.
  • Cover the chimney starter and the surrounding coals with a second layer of charcoal.
  • Turn off the charcoal starter once the coals are glowing.

Electric charcoal starters take a bit longer to get the coals going than an open flame, but they eliminate the need for lighter fluid, newspapers, matches, and lighters for lighting a grill.

When Do You Know If the Charcoal Is Ready to Grill?

The charcoal is ready for use when it takes on a grayish-white color. This is the most noticeable sign of the beginning of the grilling process. After that, you can decrease the heat.

The charcoal in grills can be heated to a considerably higher temperature than the stovetops in most homes.

You can obtain a fantastic sear on meats and veggies and spark new reactions that build rich taste in this way. This benefit is contingent on your patience in waiting for the charcoal to catch fire.

How to Keep Charcoal Hot: Helpful Tips

Keep the coals from flying apart by using your tongs. You don't want them airless, but you also don't want them scattered around.

  • The vents on a charcoal grill allow you to regulate the cooking temperature. By allowing more oxygen into the room, the fire can burn hotter. A decrease in fire temperature can be achieved by blocking off airflow to the fireplace.
  • If you want maximum heat, make sure both vents are open. More oxygen means a hotter cooking fire.
  • Be sure to empty the ashtray often. Ash blocks oxygen from reaching the coals, smothering them in the process.

How to Keep Your Charcoal Grill Hot Fast?

Grilling requires constant attention and the addition of coals to maintain a high temperature. Adding new briquettes should be done before they are nearly gone. Instead, add 5-10 charcoal pieces whenever you have around half of your charcoals left (approximately every 30 minutes).

Using gloves while burning charcoal is key to keep your hands safe from the fire.

How to choose the right charcoal

Get the best charcoal for your meal by reading up on the various types available. In contrast to typical briquettes, which burn more slowly and are not as hot, lump charcoal can be lit and used immediately.

Bulk Charcoal Briquettes Charcoal with an irregular shape, crafted from real timber. bits of coal dust or other flammable substance that are crushed into a similar shape More ash Less ash Incendiary heat Less sweltering heat Intensified heat More gradual heat up The more expensive and natural alternative Costing less Perfect for foods that take less time to cook, such as veggies, thinly sliced meats, and other such items. Ideal for slow cooking of cuts of meat and poultry for a prolonged period of time.

How Much Charcoal Do I Need to Use?

Half to three-quarters of a chimney is a good rule of thumb, but keep in mind that too little charcoal could cause the grill to not get hot enough, and too much could cause it to get too hot.

The amount of charcoal you'll need depends on the temperature and length of time your meal requires cooking, just as the sort of charcoal you use can vary depending on what you're making. Generally speaking, half to three-quarters of a charcoal chimney for the average home cook.

When grilling without a chimney, use enough coal to completely cover the base of your cooking grates. In the event that the charcoal burns low after a prolonged grilling session, simply add more to the pile.

Ways to best place charcoal for regulating heat

Now that you know how to light your charcoal, you'll want to arrange it in the best way possible for grilling your food.

Simple one-zone arrangement

A layer of coal covers the entire base of the barbecue. This setup is the simplest, but it can only produce direct heat.

Only use it for charcoal grilling for foods that need quick, direct heat.

Classic two-zone arrangement

The grill's charcoal can be placed in the middle or to the side. A "hot zone" can be established for rapid cooking with direct heat, while a "cool zone" can be established for resting and cooking at a lower temperature with indirect heat.

If you plan on grilling a wide variety of meals, some of which may need to be cooked at different temperatures for varying amounts of time, or if you simply want the freedom to adjust the temperature as you go, this is the tool for you.

Snake method

Fresh charcoal is laid out in a 300-degree arc around the outside of the grill, with none in the center. Charcoal briquettes are lit at both ends of the "snake," where they slowly light the charcoal and keep the fire going throughout the cooking process.

Use it when you want to cook or smoke something for a long time.

Minion method

A pile of lighted charcoal is placed in the center of a circle of the unlit charcoal. Charcoal that hasn't been lit will catch fire gradually, allowing for more consistent low-heat cooking.

Use it when you want to cook or smoke something for a long time.