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How to start a charcoal grill and arrange your coals for cook-out success


Starting a charcoal grill is easiest with a chimney starter, but you can also use charcoal, newspaper, and a lighter. Here’s how to do it.
Starting a charcoal grill isn’t quite as straightforward as turning on a stove, so Matt Groark of Groark Boys BBQ and Liam and Myles Snider of Mother Tongue break down the steps below, along with the do’s and don’ts.
We pulled together easy step-by-step instructions to light the best charcoal grill, whether you’re using a chimney starter, lighter fluid, or no lighter fluid at all. Plus, we included tips on how you should go about arranging your coals for a perfect cook. How to use a charcoal chimney 

Using a chimney starter to light charcoal is the preferred method of most grilling experts.


Charcoal chimney starters are the preferred way to start a charcoal grill for most people. To start a charcoal grill using a chimney starter:
1. Fill the chimney with charcoal. Add as much charcoal as necessary for the food you’re cooking (see chart above).
2. Place lighter cubes, newspaper, or paper towels under the chimney. Add one of these to the chamber underneath the chimney. This will serve as your starter.
3. Light the starter. Use a long lighter to spare your fingers. If you’re using newspaper or paper towels, consider adding a few drops of cooking oil to help ignite it.
4. Wait for the charcoal to ignite. This should take about 12 to 15 minutes. You’ll eventually see an amber glow and the top layer of charcoal will turn grayish-white.
5. Dump the lit charcoal into the grill. Once ignited, carefully dump the lit charcoal into the grill (under the grate) in your preferred arrangement (see below) and begin cooking.How to light charcoal without lighter fluid or a chimney
If you don’t have a chimney starter, another reliable, yet simple option for starting a charcoal grill is the newspaper method. 
1. Place newspaper under the grill grate. Ball up newspaper and place it wherever you wish to place your charcoal. If you plan to have multiple heat zones, place the newspaper in each location charcoal will be. Sprinkle a bit of cooking oil on the newspaper to help it ignite.
2. Arrange the charcoal around the newspaper. Use enough charcoal to cover the newspaper sufficiently while still allowing airflow to encourage ignition.
3. Light the newspaper. Find a piece of exposed newspaper and light it with a long lighter. Remember to light your newspaper in every zone you established.
4. Wait for the charcoal to ignite. This will take a bit longer than it would with a charcoal chimney but the charcoal should all ignite within about 15 minutes. Keep your grill open to let oxygen feed the fire. You’re ready to grill once your charcoal is grayish-white.How to start a charcoal grill with lighter fluid
According to the experts, this is the least recommended of the three charcoal grill starting methods.

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