Chimney starters for BBQ

If you use a charcoal BBQ, you should definitely be using a chimney starter.

The old days of soaking charcoal in lighter fluid are over.

This traditional form of lighting a charcoal grill is a bit dangerous, leaves a unpleasant odor on your food, and is just inefficient.

There is a better way, and it starts with using what I feel is the best chimney starter.

Weber chimney starterWeber Rapidfire Chimney Starter

The design of this device is simple.

There is a metal cylinder with holes, grates, and a handle.

It’s made with aluminized steel and the handle is designed to stay cool. This particular model is 7.5 inches by 7.5 inches and 12 inches tall.

It’s extremely easy to use, and the best part is that it eliminates the need for lighter fluid.

How Do You Use It?

To get this device working, you will need either newspaper or lighter cubes.

Newspaper works fine, however lighter cubes are more reliable, especially when you’re outside. If it’s raining and you need to use your grill, you will want to have some lighter cubes on hand as they’re work much better in the rain than newspaper.

Another reason I like lighter cubes is because they make no mess. You might find bit of newspaper blowing around after lighting your chimney starter with newspaper. Again newspaper works fine, however it’s not my first choice.

Whether you’re using newspaper or lighter cubes, the concept works like this. You light a fire with the newspaper or lighter cubes at the base of the chimney starter, and this heats up the coals. With this particular device, you can expect the coals to be ready in 15 to 20 minutes.

how to use a chimney starter
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So either stuff the bottom on your chimney starter with newspaper, and then fill it up with charcoal. If you use lighter cubes, simple place 1 or 2 on the base of your charcoal BBQ, light them, and then place the filled chimney starter over top of the cubes. It's as easy as that!

Once the charcoal turns grey, you can carefully pour it into the base of your charcoal grill.

pouring coal from a chimney starter
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The amount of charcoal you need will depend how much food you're cooking. The first time you use this type of starter fill it up and see how that amount works. You can adjust the amount for your future barbecues.

If you have a very small grill, or perhaps your camping, you might want to consider Weber's small device called the Compact Rapidfire Chimney Starter which is ideal for portable grills.

My Results After 4 Weeks

After taking the plunge many years ago, I am still using these devices every time I start up my charcoal barbecue.

I have tested out a few different models, and this Weber device is by far the best in my opinion.

Bottom line, the convenience is definitley worth the investment. Here's what I really like about this particular starter.

The Weber Rapidfire model outlined here is great because it's able to hold quite a bit of charcoal. Many other models are too small for certain grills. If you don't need as much coal, simply fill it halfway. But if you do need a lot, it should meet most people's needs in this area.

Like many other Weber products, it's built with high quality materials. It resists rust very well, and the design of the inner wires should be noted. The design holds up the charcoal, which allows it to light much easier when compare to some other models.

It's priced very well, and it has a better design than some other types of starters.

Again if you have a charcoal grill, you should definitely get one of these!

Other Things You May Need:

Weber Lighter Cubes

Premium Hardwood Lump Charcoal