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lighting charcoal

OrsiOrsi Posts: 14
What's your favourite method for lighting charcoal?  Maybe I am just impatient but the paraffin blocks, electric coil and torch all seem to have drawbacks as to getting an even start.  Looking at a chimney starter but not sure about putting a bunch of hot coals in an unheated fire ring.  Thanks for your feed back.  
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Comments

  • RRPRRP Posts: 24,233
    When I really want FAST then I use many good long squirts of 91% rubbing alcohol!  It doesn’t have the nasty after affects (stink) of the charcoal fluid..BUT watch out…even 91% is RISKY and nearly explosive! IBut you asked…
    Re-gasketing America one yard at a time.
  • lkapigianlkapigian Posts: 8,367
    Chimney camp all the way
    Visalia, Ca

    LGBE- Pit's by Klose Trailer -Stumps XL Stretch - Custom Santa Maria-Modified HD Offset Smoker Reverse Flow- FatStack Smoker FS120 coming soon FatStack 500- Blackstone 36 Blackstone 22 - Custom Cold Smoke House and a lonely Brinkman Vertical Smoker
  • stlcharcoalstlcharcoal Posts: 4,437
  • PowakPowak Posts: 1,234
    edited June 25
    Bernzomatic torch with mapps gas for a couple minutes in 3-4 different places on the bed of coal. Only drawback is pieces of hot coal down your shirt, shoes, etc when lighting fresh coal. I once had an ember land on top of my head for a second. 

    How do grass burners work? Do they shoot out embers like crazy with fresh coal?
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 38,617
    Weed burner is the fastest hands down.  Wear a fire suit.
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  • HeavyGHeavyG Posts: 7,956
    Powak said:
    Bernzomatic torch with mapps gas for a couple minutes in 3-4 different places on the bed of coal. Only drawback is pieces of hot coal down your shirt, shoes, etc when lighting fresh coal. I once had an ember land on top of my head for a second. 

    How do grass burners work? Do they shoot out embers like crazy with fresh coal?

    MAPP gas is no longer made. They quit making it about a decade ago.
    What is in the yellow bottles is MAP/PRO which is not at all similar the original MAPP gas. The real MAPP gas would burn at over 5000°F.
    MAP-PRO gas burns at 3,730°F, while (propane the stuff in the blue bottles) burns at 3,600°F. The blue bottles are about $4 each - the yellow bottles are about $12 each. Personally, I'm not going to pay three times the price for those extra 70°F.


    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” ― Philip K. Dik

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  • 4TheGrillOfIt4TheGrillOfIt Posts: 413
    I have tried most ways and have settled on the propane torch.  I don’t think a chimney starter really gains you anything.  The time factor is really more about getting the ceramics heat soaked and burning clean lump.  
    XL BGE, Large BGE, Small BGE, Weber Summit NG                                                                                               
    Memphis  
  • PowakPowak Posts: 1,234
    HeavyG said:
    Powak said:
    Bernzomatic torch with mapps gas for a couple minutes in 3-4 different places on the bed of coal. Only drawback is pieces of hot coal down your shirt, shoes, etc when lighting fresh coal. I once had an ember land on top of my head for a second. 

    How do grass burners work? Do they shoot out embers like crazy with fresh coal?

    MAPP gas is no longer made. They quit making it about a decade ago.
    What is in the yellow bottles is MAP/PRO which is not at all similar the original MAPP gas. The real MAPP gas would burn at over 5000°F.
    MAP-PRO gas burns at 3,730°F, while (propane the stuff in the blue bottles) burns at 3,600°F. The blue bottles are about $4 each - the yellow bottles are about $12 each. Personally, I'm not going to pay three times the price for those extra 70°F.


    Wow! I’ve noticed there’s like no difference in flame between the two bottles now. Makes sense I’m switching back to propane. 
  • xfire_ATXxfire_ATX Posts: 989
    Chimney starter on gas grill burner
    LBGE, Charbroil Gas Grill, Weber Q2000, Old Weber Kettle, Yeti 65, RTIC 20, Too many drinkware vessels to mention.

    Not quite in Austin, TX City Limits
    Just Vote- What if you could choose "none of the above" on an election ballot? Millions of Americans do just that, in effect, by not voting.  The result in 2016: "Nobody" won more counties, more states, and more electoral votes than either candidate for president. 
  • DondgcDondgc Posts: 696
    Weed burner is the fastest hands down.  Wear a fire suit.
    This. The second point is why I went back to a chimney. 
    New Orleans LA
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 28,356
    tried just about every method all the way to using burning anthracite out of the coal stove.  just use paper towel drizzled with oil now placed under some loose lump and light, its faster with a second sheet draped over the top as a little extra heat helps the oxygen draw
    fukahwee maine

    you can lead a fish to water but you can not make him drink it
  • RyanStlRyanStl Posts: 481
    I don't like the chimney starter with the egg.  Maybe because I use lump with egg where before I used briquettes.  It's not fast, but I use three wadded up paper towels dipped in used cooking oil.  It's cheap and readily available.
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 28,356
    im usually overshooting temps before i know it but if you want faster add a fan to the lower vent and push air in and take the daisy off the egg
    fukahwee maine

    you can lead a fish to water but you can not make him drink it
  • six_eggsix_egg Posts: 1,110
    I use the BGE electric one or BGE Butane one. one - two minutes light times.

    XLBGE, LBGE 

    Fernandina Beach, FL

  • CanuggheadCanugghead Posts: 8,624
    No charcoal lighting thread is complete without @Mickey ‘s pyro display  =)
    canuckland
  • OhioEggerOhioEgger Posts: 753
    Powak said:
    HeavyG said:
    Powak said:
    Bernzomatic torch with mapps gas for a couple minutes in 3-4 different places on the bed of coal. Only drawback is pieces of hot coal down your shirt, shoes, etc when lighting fresh coal. I once had an ember land on top of my head for a second. 

    How do grass burners work? Do they shoot out embers like crazy with fresh coal?

    MAPP gas is no longer made. They quit making it about a decade ago.
    What is in the yellow bottles is MAP/PRO which is not at all similar the original MAPP gas. The real MAPP gas would burn at over 5000°F.
    MAP-PRO gas burns at 3,730°F, while (propane the stuff in the blue bottles) burns at 3,600°F. The blue bottles are about $4 each - the yellow bottles are about $12 each. Personally, I'm not going to pay three times the price for those extra 70°F.


    Wow! I’ve noticed there’s like no difference in flame between the two bottles now. Makes sense I’m switching back to propane. 
    Yeah, thanks for that tidbit, HeavyG. I had no idea I've been overpaying.
    Cincinnati, Ohio. Large BGE since 2011. Still learning.
  • JohnInCarolinaJohnInCarolina Posts: 21,733
    I wouldn’t be too concerned about the hot coals from a chimney busting your fire ring.

    First of all, the fire ring will break eventually.  Secondly, here’s a little secret about broken fire rings: they still work.
    "A generation of the unteachable is hanging upon us like a necklace of corpses." - George Orwell 

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    Ruining the forum, one post at a time.  

    Living large in the 919
  • stlcharcoalstlcharcoal Posts: 4,437
    The egg is it's own chimney starter.  Put the paper or lighting cube under the fire grate and it does the same thing.

    For worries about sparks and such from propane torches, you're holding it way too close.  Hold a weed burner back about a foot.  Hitting charcoal with a 3000F+ flame is what causes a sparkler show.  It only takes 670F to get it lit, so how the flame back, let it get wider and you can light a larger surface area with less threat of getting injured.  Always wear eye protection!!
  • OrsiOrsi Posts: 14
    Thanks everyone for the input.  Guess I need to be a little more patient.  Will try the paper towel with vegetable oil or maybe bury the electric coil a little deeper.  I do remove the daisy when first starting the charcoal.  
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 38,617
    The egg is it's own chimney starter.  Put the paper or lighting cube under the fire grate and it does the same thing.

    Sure, this works but then you have a fire burning under your column of lump whose effluent is baking un-burned lump and smoke wood on the way out potentially prolonging the duration of "bad" smoke.

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  • SonVoltSonVolt Posts: 3,043
    I once caught a lit piece of charcoal between my lips. Hurt like a ****. Now I wear sunglasses and leather gloves and turn my head away. 



    South of Nashville  -  BGE XL  -  Alfresco 42" ALXE  -  Alfresco Versa Burner  - Sunbeam Microwave 
  • stlcharcoalstlcharcoal Posts: 4,437
    The egg is it's own chimney starter.  Put the paper or lighting cube under the fire grate and it does the same thing.

    Sure, this works but then you have a fire burning under your column of lump whose effluent is baking un-burned lump and smoke wood on the way out potentially prolonging the duration of "bad" smoke.

    Guess I'm not used to lump that has the "bad" smoke in it.
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 38,617
    The egg is it's own chimney starter.  Put the paper or lighting cube under the fire grate and it does the same thing.

    Sure, this works but then you have a fire burning under your column of lump whose effluent is baking un-burned lump and smoke wood on the way out potentially prolonging the duration of "bad" smoke.

    Guess I'm not used to lump that has the "bad" smoke in it.
    Touche on that, but I didn't realize your lump is VOC-free.  It's a major bargain if it will keep up with binchotan!


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  • GulfcoastguyGulfcoastguy Posts: 4,595
    Looftlighter for over 10 years now.
  • SGHSGH Posts: 28,237
    RRP said:
    When I really want FAST then I use many good long squirts 
    I do the very same when I have diarrhea. I find that good, long squirts brings much faster relief than short, slow squirts. The only downside to to blasting off a long squirt is everyone hears it. There is no hiding it. 

    Location- Just "this side" of Biloxi, Ms.

    Status- Standing by.

    The greatest barrier against all wisdom, the stronghold against knowledge itself, is the single thought, in ones mind, that they already have it all figured out. 

  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 38,617
    The egg is it's own chimney starter.  Put the paper or lighting cube under the fire grate and it does the same thing.

    Sure, this works but then you have a fire burning under your column of lump whose effluent is baking un-burned lump and smoke wood on the way out potentially prolonging the duration of "bad" smoke.

    Guess I'm not used to lump that has the "bad" smoke in it.
    Touche on that, but I didn't realize your lump is VOC-free.  It's a major bargain if it will keep up with binchotan!


    I've been in the charcoal business for 10+ years now and have yet to grasp this aversion to the evil VOC's.....especially when smoking meat!!  I see people talking about firing up charcoal for 30-60 minutes so it burns "clean"--then dumping a bunch of wood chunks on it to make smoke (thus reintroducing a ton of VOCs via un-carbonized wood.)

    I get it if you want a minimal amount of smoke flavor in something (like baking a pie, smoking cheese, etc).  Or if you are using a way underkilned charcoal or something made from a South American stink wood.....yeah, not a bad idea to burn them off.  But if you're using a good US-made charcoal, it's going to be primarily oak & hickory carbonized to at least 75-80% (or hopefully 85%).  The smoke flavor for any remaining VOC's is going to be very mellow, indiscernible between species, definitely not anything worse or different than the same smoking woods being added.  So, I don't wait, soon as it's to the desired temp, I'm cooking.

    And the whole premise of binchotan is to be able to cook inside without smoke, and not introduce too much of a wood flavor into a very expensive and delicate protein.  For 99.9% of what the average American home chef cooks on the BBQ, a little bit of smoke is not a bad thing.
    Using the same lump, and I'm not saying it was the best stuff out there, I have literally tasted the difference in low and slows between a stable fire and a newly lit or waning (choked) fire.  Maybe there's some kind of "Folie à deux" going on in the BBQ world.  It's certainly happening in politics, so I'm not one to discount it not possible, but there's been plenty of anecdotal evidence that's a real thing.


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  • Bayou_BuzzardBayou_Buzzard Posts: 111
    Used the Looftlighter for many years until it bit the dust.  Have just been using propane torch for past couple years.  Definitely need to watch out for the sparks.
    From the shores of Lake Michigan.  Grand Haven.
    Unsalted and Shark Free
    XL.  Woo Adjustable Rig Combo.  Flame Boss 300.
  • I've used every method listed, except the weed burner. I use a MAPP gas torch. The chimney is the fastest, but most labor intensive. The egg is about relaxing. If you want fast food, they are take out places, gas grills, and the microwave. 

    My advice, light the egg, prep your food, relax and talk to those you're cooking for, adjust the temp, cook and enjoy. There is enough in this life that is fast.

    I know a lot of nothing, but there is much more to life than fast. Have fun and enjoy.
    Formerly @dharley prior to some password bs.

    LBGE, 36" Blackstone, bad liver & a broken heart

    Three Rivers, MI
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