Best of Barbecue: Ultimate Square Charcoal Chimney Starter


Getting your charcoal started can be an intimidating and frustrating experience, but it doesn’t have to be! With Steven Raichlen’s Charcoal Chimney Starter, getting your grill going is as easy as filling it up and lighting it up! Best of Barbecue’s Sarah shows you how to get your coals started without having to resort to nasty lighter fluid chemicals. Your grill will be ready for cooking easily and quickly!

Brand Best of Barbecue
Products Used SR8041
Time 3:26
YouTube Link
Upload Date 03/15/13


There’s no doubt about it, the best way to get authentic barbecue flavor is to cook on a charcoal grill. However, a lot of people are intimidated by trying to get their charcoal started, so they avoid it all together, or they resort to using chemical lighter fluid, which works but it leads an off taste, and let’s face it, it’s just not really that healthy.

The good news is you don’t really need to use lighter fluid if you have a charcoal chimney starter. So here at Best of Barbecue, we have been designed the largest capacity charcoal starter that there is on the market. Let me show you a little bit about it. It has this unique square shape, which is going to allow your charcoal briquettes to light at an even rate so that’re all ready about the same time. You also have this really heavy duty handle right here in that is going to make you feel really secure when you’re pouring out those blazing hot briquettes. You have a heat shield to protect your hand a little bit, and then this extra grip to help you pour with a little bit more assurance.

So, that is the starter itself; let me go and show you how to get it ready for the grill. So first thing’s first, we’re going to go ahead and take my lid off of my grill and remove the grill grate. All I need to get this started will be a couple of pieces of newspaper. I’m going to crumple those up and put them at the bottom of the starter, just like this. The newspaper is crumpled underneath, and I’m ready to add my charcoal. It’s gonna hold about eight half pounds of charcoal, which is more than enough to get you through most of your grilling needs.

Now, I’m using charcoal briquettes, but you can use lump charcoal or even hardwood if you like. A few runaways there, no big deal!

All right, so. We’re ready to get this lit. I’m going to go ahead and put it inside of the grill, just like this. So all I need is a single match to get this going. I’m going to light the paper inside the chimney just like that, and you can see immediately the paper’s going, it’s burning, and that’s all we need. We’re going to start to see that the smoke is coming up through the chimney itself, and that’s all you have to do!

Now we’re gonna wait about twenty minutes and then the charcoal should be ready for use, so I’ll see you in twenty!

It’s been about twenty minutes and our charcoal looks like it’s about ready to be dumped. Let me show you, so you can see inside here that most of the charcoal has started to ash over, you can definitely see some flame coming out of there, it’s good and hot, it’s ready to dump into the grill now. So let me show you how I’m going to do that.

I’m going to go ahead and wear gloves, even with that heat shield you’re still going to protect your hands. So with my left hand of any use the extra grabber there, we’ve got a good grip on the chimney starter, and I’m just going to go ahead and dump those into the grill. You’re going to want to be sure to keep this, after you’ve dumped your coals, you’re going to want to let it cool off on a heat-resistant surface.

So, going to go ahead and replace the grill grate so that it starts to come up to temperature, and then you can put your lid back on. Use your vent to control how much heat you have going on; I’ve got it open right now because I want maximum heat from a grill. So there you have it, it’s that simple to get you charcoal chimney started. Enjoy.

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Daniel Replogle

Daniel does business development and marketing at The Companion Group. When he isn’t writing you can find him rock climbing or doing ceramic artwork.