How to light a charcoal grill without ligther fluid?

One of the very first steps in the grilling world is to light a charcoal grill. That’s why I am going to guide you with the most common and healthiest technique to set fire to a charcoal BBQ.

I will also show you some tips that have helped me to control the temperature of the fire while grilling.

This may interest you: Best BBQ accessories

What you should know before lighting a charcoal BBQ?

It is important that you remember the following:

  • In order to have fire, you need oxygen. That’s why there should always be spaces between the materials you use to light the charcoal, or else you will end up smothering the fire and it will go out.
  • The smallest material is the one that ignites the largest one. And usually, the smallest material is the flammable one. Hence, you should not light the charcoal directly; the flammable material is first.

How to light a charcoal grill?

There are actually many lighting techniques and each charcoal grill has its own special tricks. But here I will show you a natural and healthier technique since we will avoid the use of toxic materials, like lighter fluids.

It is also my favorite technique, and if you master it, it will surely be yours too.

Materials to ignite a charcoal

  • Charcoal.
  • Newspaper or any other paper.
  • Vegetable oil (healthier and less dangerous).
  • Matches or lighter.

Pyramid Technique

  1. Form a pyramid with the pieces of charcoal, placing the largest pieces on the bottom and the smaller ones on the top.
  2. Leave the center of the pyramid completely empty. This means: leave a hole or space in the middle, since there we are going to place our flammable material.
set fire to charcoal in pyramid format
  1. Grab a piece of paper towel or newspaper, and make a kind of sag in its center so that it looks like a kind of bag.
  2. Inside that ‘bag’, put a little vegetable oil and then place it in the center of the charcoal pyramid.
set fire to charcoal in pyramid format
set fire to charcoal in pyramid format
  1. Light the paper with a match or lighter.
  2. Make sure that the coal completely covers the combustible material, but leaving spaces so that the fire does not suffocate.
light the charcoal in pyramid format
light the charcoal in pyramid format

A more effective method, but one that requires a special device, is to use a electric charcoal lighter . You simply plug it into the power, let the bar glow red hot, and place it on top of the charcoal to ignite it.

Other techniques for lighting a charcoal BBQ

Read also: Steak doneness guide

How to control the temperature of your charcoal grill?

To keep the fire constant during a roast, the only principle to remember is the grill distribution.

For example:

A slow fire requires less charcoal and indirect heat. Ideally, you should concentrate the charcoal or wood in the surrounding spaces of the grill and leave the center completely empty. Precisely in that center (where there is no direct heat) our cut of meat is placed and we proceed to grill.

On the contrary, if you want strong fire , you will require a lot of grill and direct heat. So the coal will go just below our cut.

Also read: How to check the temperature of the grill

Final tips when lighting a charcoal grill

These are some tips that I can give you:

  1. Before lighting the grill, try to place it in a place away from flammable objects in case fire or a burning coal pops out.
  2. Also try to be as far away from windows so that smoke does not enter your home.
  3. The grill should be on a firm surface so it won’t wobble.
  4. Before placing meats or vegetables on the grill grates, make sure the grill is hot. If it is cold, the food will stick.
  5. Measure the height of the grill while grilling. It is preferable that the grill is not very high so meat does not dry out quickly.
  6. Avoid using flammable liquids as much as possible because they can contaminate food. Natural methods are always the best.

References that complemented this post: The capital

Mitad brasileño - mitad ecuatoriano. Amante de los asados, del surf y la fotografía. Cocinero empírico. Constantemente estoy aprendiendo y compartiendo mis conocimientos en este blog.

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