How to Start a charcoal fire without lighter fluid

by sbhow ; Updated November 30, 2018

When grilling out a clean burning fire will provide you with pure barbeque flavor. Starting a charcoal fire can be done simply and easily without the need for hazardous fuels.

Arrange 10-15 charcoal briquets on the bottom of the grill

Place the electric starter on top of the base coals

pour an equal amount of briquets on top of the starter. Stack the briquets in a mound on top of the starter ensuring that the element is in contact with as many briquets as possible

Plug in the starter.

After about 10 minutes or when you see small flames, remove the starter. Caution: it is very hot.

Using long tongs, restack the coals in a mound. Allow the flames to ignite the rest of the coals.

Spread the coals in a single layer on the bottom of the grill and cover the grill to restrict the airflow.

The fire is ready when the charcoal briquets turn grey and the coals are hot but not on fire.


  • Smoothering the fire by cutting off the air flow will preserve the remaining coals which will probably be useful for one more fire with the addition of just a few additional coals.

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