Go Back
Place charcoal in the chimney starter with paper on the bottom.
No ratings yet

How To Start a Charcoal Grill

Learn how easy it is to start a charcoal grill using a charcoal chimney. Ditch the lighter fluid and use this method to get a hot charcoal base in 20 minutes.
Prep Time0 mins
Active Time20 mins
Total Time20 mins
Keyword: charcoal Chimney, how to start a grill
Cost: $10.00


  • Charcoal Chimney Starter
  • Lighter
  • Wad of Paper
  • lump charcoal


  • 1 wad paper Two pieces of newspaper should work. Alternatively you can use paper grocery bags too. Just don't stuff too densly.
  • 1 full charcoal chimney starter of charcoal We strongly recommend lump charcoal.


  • There are two sides to the chimney, a shallow side and a deep side. The shallow side is for your paper and the deep side for your charcoal. Crumble up a sheet of newspaper and place it loosely inside the shallow side. Don’t pack too tight otherwise it might smother out. Then flip over the chimney to prep for the charcoal.
  • Add your charcoal to the deep side. If you are using lump charcoal, be sure that the smaller lumps are at the bottom just above the paper, as they will heat up faster. Sometimes you can get huge pieces, and if they are at the base, it takes a little longer to get those lit.
  • Place the chimney in your grill. Light the paper in a couple of different places and watch it burn. You should see smoke coming out from the paper combusting. The chimney forces the flame up and the holes on the side create perfect venting.
  • Watch and wait. Right around 20 minutes you should see the embers start to glow and the fire travel toward the top. When you have good ember and the top charcoal turning ashen, dump the charcoal into your grill with a heat resistant glove.
  • Set up grill for your preferred method like direct or two-zone grilling and follow the recipe instructions.



One chimney of charcoal will typically last for 45 minutes of grilling time. If you plan to grill longer run another chimney of ignited charcoal and dump onto fire to keep it hot. 
You can also add unignited charcoal onto the ignited embers, however this will temporarily cool down the fire while it ignites.