If you spent winter daydreaming about how this summer will be the time you finally add charcoal grilling to your grill master resume, then you won’t want to miss this guide on how to use a chimney starter!
What is a Chimney Starter?
Before we can explain how to use a chimney starter, we thought it would be important to explain exactly what they are so that there is no confusion. Chimney starters are used for lighting charcoal lumps and briquettes, and they eliminate the need to work up a sweat fanning microscopic embers. These starters are essentially metal tubes with strategically cut slits that promote airflow so that you can create a smoking hot bed of coals in a flash. While it may sound simple, if you don’t know how to use a chimney starter you could get smoked out before you get a chance to cook out.
Most Charcoal grills have two grates, a large one at the top for grilling and one on the bottom to hold up the charcoal. Remove the top cooking grill and place some crumpled up newspaper, compressed recycled wood chips, or wax on the bottom grate. Then you’ll want to place the chimney starter over the top of whatever burnable material you use so that it can nestle inside the bottom portion of the starter. Once it’s sturdy, fill the top portion of the chimney starter with unlit charcoal lumps or briquettes and light the newspaper or paraffin with a barbecue lighter.
Once your firestarter fuel of choice is lit, the flames and heat will slowly ignite the charcoal. As the fire underneath burns and the heat rises through the charcoal it draws more air into the chimney, and that flow of oxygen fuels the flames more and continues to ignite the charcoal using what is known as thermodynamics.
Once the charcoal lumps or briquettes are covered in white ash, they’re ready to be poured into the grill. Using high-quality insulated barbecue mitts, lift both handles of the chimney starter and carefully pour the hot coals into your grill. The second swinging handle is intended to help you safely lift the chimney starter and pour the coals exactly where you want them. Once your coals are safely in your grill, you can carefully add more coals, a few at a time, until you have a solid bed of grill-ready coals.
For more tips on how to get the most out of your gas or charcoal grill,
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