How To Use a Chimney Starter

Step away from the lighter fluid!
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lighting charcoal chimney

Lighter fluid may be a surefire way to get the charcoal going, but it also gives off smelly fumes that can mess with the flavor of your food. Instead, use a chimney starter (basically a metal cylinder with a handle), which you can buy for around $20. You’ll build a hot fire quickly, with no added chemicals, in three simple steps. 

1. Flip the chimney over and push some scrunched up newspaper into the bottom. 

2. Remove the top rack from your charcoal grill and set the chimney right side up on the lower rack. Fill it with hardwood lump charcoal or charcoal briquettes.

3. Light the paper by sticking matches through the vents in several spots, and let the fire burn until the coals are covered with white ash. Using oven mitts to handle the chimney, dump the charcoal into the grill. Return the top rack and cover until it gets hot, about 3 minutes, or until the grill reaches a hot enough temperature for your recipe.