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How to Start a Charcoal Grill

Spring is here and that means the start of grill season in the Central Rockies! Many people prefer the smoky richness that is infused into the flavor of your food when you use a charcoal grill. But if you’ve never used one before, you may be wondering exactly how to start a charcoal grill.

At Maximum Comfort Pool and Spa, we are a certified Weber® Alliance Dealer. We carry the highest quality Weber charcoal grills – grills you can’t find in national retail chains. 

So, exactly how do you start a charcoal grill? There are several methods you can use.

Method 1: How to Start a Charcoal Grill with a Chimney Starter

Start a charcoal grill using a chimney starter.

Many grill masters use a chimney starter to start a charcoal grill. Here’s how:

  1.  Place a starter on the lower grate—also called a charcoal grate. There are a variety of options to use as starters. Lighter cubes, newspaper, and old paper all work well. But you can also try items which burn more slowly like paper products or wood chips.
  2. Place the chimney on top of the starters and fill the chimney with charcoal. Note: the amount of charcoal you use will vary depending on what you are grilling for dinner. 
  3. Light the starters under the chimney. Once the charcoal turns white/gray with ash and you see flames poking through the chimney, carefully pour the briquettes onto the lower grate. This usually takes around 10-15 minutes.
  4. Carefully spread the briquettes out. Place the cooking grate back on and lower the lid of your grill. 
  5. Wait for your grill to heat up to the appropriate cooking temperature and then get to grilling. 

Many of our Weber grills have built in thermometers eliminating the need to open and close the lid of your charcoal grill. 

Method 2: How to Start a Charcoal Grill with an Electric Starter

Start a charcoal grill and infuse a smoky flavor into your food.

Electric starters are a fast way to start a charcoal grill. Many beginners find them easier and safer to use than other methods. Here’s how to use one:

  1. Arrange the charcoal briquettes in a pyramid shape on the lower grate. Be sure to make a wide base and stack coals in smaller and smaller layers.
  2. Plug in the electric starter; it will begin heating immediately. Put the end of it in the middle of the briquettes.  
  3. When sparks flare, slowly pull the electric starter away from the middle. Keep lighting coals by moving the starter around the coals until the fire starts. Then remove the electric starter.
  4. When coals turn white, carefully spread out coals and place the cooking grate back on. 
  5. Wait for your grill to heat up to the appropriate temperature and begin your grill session.

Method 3: Start a Charcoal Grill with Lighter Fluid

The traditional method to start a charcoal grill is by using lighter fluid on the briquettes. This method is potentially dangerous, so take extra caution when using it.

  1. Arrange the briquettes in a pyramid. Read the directions carefully on the bottle of lighter fluid. Use the proper amount.
  2. Squirt the fluid evenly on the briquettes. Safety note: Never spray lighter fluid on a lit fire.
  3. Light coals using a grill lighter or long match by evenly lighting the coals in multiple places. 
  4. When the coals turn white, spread them along the bottom grate. Carefully replace the cooking grate and wait for your grill to heat up.

Before You Start a Charcoal Grill

Maximum Comfort and Spa offers many Weber charcoal grills.

Before you can start a charcoal grill, you need to choose the grill that is right for you. 

Visit us at Maximum Comfort & Spa. We can help you choose from a variety of high quality Weber charcoal grills in order to find the perfect one for your Colorado lifestyle. 

Here are some ways to up your grilling game to the next level. You are sure to wow your family and friends with your extraordinary grilling skills at your next backyard gathering when you use a top-of-the-line Weber charcoal grill.