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Charcoal lighting techniques

edited 1:54AM in EggHead Forum
Ok guys... what do you prefer when lighting your grill?

I currently use the electric starter that BGE sells, but am curious as to your opinion of other options.

ie. Mapp Torch, weed burner, etc.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.


  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 22,980
    weedburner at home and oil/napkin at camp. ive burnt up two mapp torches in the past before getting the weedburner, the weed burner lasts along time and is a better deal if you have a tank from an old gasser
  • I use the compressed sawdust/cellulose starter blocks (sold by BGE and others). Having tried multiple other methods, I keep coming back to this one. The blocks aren't affected by ambient moisture, they light quickly & reliably, and they don't require attention once aflame. I generally use one, even when starting my large...multiples don't seem to cut much time off of lighting, and I almost always use the heating-up period to do prep work. Plus, you can buy several boxes at a time; the blocks never go bad.
  • I have used the blocks too...

    They did seem to do the job. I recently purchased a bag of the Wicked Lump charcoal, and from what I have read, it takes a while to start. Thus, I am trying to see what method will start it faster.

    As for the weedburner...every video I look at on the internet makes it look like a flame thrower!! LOL.

    Is it safe?
  • kip stabonekip stabone Posts: 51
    I use the electric starter as well and have been really happy with it. Left it out in the rain accidentally last weekend and it keeps right on working. It seems from reading posts around here that not many people use the electric starter. I've been curious as to why not?
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 22,980
    you have the flame thrower option if you pull the trigger, its not needed to light an egg, just light the torch and adjust the flame and light
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 22,980
    they tend to burn out in a relativly short time
  • vidalia1vidalia1 Posts: 7,092
    Because the MAPP torch & or propane burner is quicker & easier IMO..
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,935
    No exterior power supply, and if a fire needs to be restarted at night, a torch shows the way.
  • Capt FrankCapt Frank Posts: 2,578
    I use the starter cubes, cut them in half diagonally, and use three triangles, 1 1/2 cubes, placed equally around the lump, 10,2,&6. As soon as they are burning I close the lid, both vents wide open [top vent off], and go do my prep or whatever. Very easy and dependable. B)

    Capt Frank
    Homosassa, FL
  • Jai-BoJai-Bo Posts: 566
    I use the electric starter because I have an outlet right at my grill. When I build my table, I'll have to use an extension cord so I might change procedure.
    I saw a youtube video where a guy used rubbing alcohol to light his and it looked like it worked great...

    Just don't know anything about it though....
    Hunting-Fishing-Cookin' on my EGG! Nothing else compares!
  • irishrogirishrog Posts: 375
    I use a starter cube and a chimney starter of fresh lump, which I sit in top of the old lump in the egg. When the fresh lump is lighting I pour it out onto the old lump, and this works fine for me. I do shake down all the small pieces of lump which block the air holes in the grid, before I start. Restricted air flow is the only thing that will delay getting a good temperature quickly in the egg.

    Greetings from Ireland, Roger
  • I use a large chimney to light my Medium BGE and a stick lighter. I find it useful since I reuse the lump whenever possible and it seems like a good way to incorporate old and new charcoal or even chunks of raw wood. A sheet or 2 of newsprint and it's flaming within a few minutes, the chimney sits in the egg at a slight angle and I just tip it over when the flames are above the coals. I add more coal to the hot stuff if I am doing a long cooking time, otherwise the chimney holds enough for most grilled meats.
  • PacoPaco Posts: 27
    I've been using my BGE electric starter for over a year and it still works great. (I probably just cursed myself)
  • bobSTLbobSTL Posts: 105
    I use rubbing alcohol (90%) I get from work. Costco sells 70% and it works well, but the 90% acts like the back end of a jet plane for a few minutes!!
    I tried the electric starter, I like the alcohol better. Just be careful, because it will get going fast!! :laugh:
    Thanks, Bob
  • field handfield hand Posts: 420
    Had been using an electric starter, but they don't seemed to hold up. I went to the electric because I had trouble with the starter cubes blowing out before they could get going good and I could close the lid. Our property is flat and we have strong breezes and winds often. So now I use the starter cubes most of the time and only use the electric starter on windy days. After this electric starter dies, I don't think I'll buy another.

    Marthasville, MO
  • HelfyHelfy Posts: 13
    Definitely an electric starter convert. Hadn't heard that they burn out, but for under $20, I'll just replace it unless it becomes a recurring problem.
  • RascalRascal Posts: 3,802
    I vary between a MAPP torch and alcohol. Got lots of time on the torch and it's still going strong. Lights the lump in a big hurry (be sure to wear an old shirt)!
    Here's a video on using alcohol:

    A friend told me he could light his Egg by just breathing on it and lighting a match. Haven't heard from him in a good while..
  • AZRPAZRP Posts: 10,116
    I remember that Egg in the video, It is painted gold. He posted pics of it here when he first painted it some years ago. -RP
  • otisdogotisdog Posts: 187
    I started with the oil and napkin which worked fine.

    Then I went to the BGE starter material. Worked fine.

    Next was a propane torch. It's not supposed to work but it was fine for me. Went thru two cylinders with no problem.

    Next was alcohol. That worked well too.

    Now I'm back to oil and napkin. Easy, simple and works virtually every time. Basically like so may egg procedures, many ways to do it, just pick the one you like.
  • hornhonkhornhonk Posts: 3,841
    WileCoyote sent me an alcohol starter kit and I like it so much I gave away my Mapp torch and 2 tanks of Mapp gas in OKC. I haven't looked back. ;)
  • I always use paper towel and canola oil. Super easy, works every time.
  • LoneStarEggLoneStarEgg Posts: 287
    I use the 90% Alcohol. You can get it a Walmart.
  • CrueznCruezn Posts: 317
    I use the electric starter. Had mine for a year or so, with no issues. I think I paid $7 from Menards.
  • stevesailsstevesails Posts: 990
    i use a propane torch.. 30 seconds in two locations. open the bottom vent, put in place setter if you are going to use it. put on grill, close the lid, take off cap and come back in 15-20 minutes to adjust vents to temp you want
    unless it is low and slow. better make it 10 minutes
    XL   Walled Lake, MI

  • hornhonkhornhonk Posts: 3,841
    Mike, love your "thing". Any word? How ya been?
    Great topic because I was going to ask about the alcohol method. It's the one I've been using with great success and didn't know if I was the only one.
  • rolltidefanrolltidefan Posts: 17
    I changed my fire box grid to a 1/2 wire mesh. Cut it out of a screen from a rock crusher. Now I just a wad up a piece of newspaper put it under the grid through the vent and light it up. After the first piece of paper is gone I will put one more in and she is up and running. This method allows the fire to start at the bottom and work up. The mesh grid also allows more air flow because the holes do not get clogged. Seems to be more responsive when opening or closing the vent.
  • I learned the canola on napkin trick from stike. Works well and borderline free. The trick is go go very light on the oil. What's not to like?
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