How to Light Charcoal (+5 more charcoal grilling tips)

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Kingsford and the Home Depot. All thoughts and opinions expressed are 100% my own.

We have been loving our NEW Vision Grills Ceramic Kamado Grill that we recently got at Home Depot. But, it did take a while for us to learn how to light charcoal properly and how to best use a charcoal grill since we had previously only barbequed over gas grills. With Super Bowl around the corner, I thought it would be a great time to share our BEST charcoal grilling tips including how to light charcoal easily and safely.

How to Light Charcoal (+5 more charcoal grilling tips)

The BEST Tips on how to light charcoal and how to cook over a charcoal grill. #Kingsford #homedepot #grilluptheholidays #sponsored

With the new backyard remodel my boys are super excited about hosting our first ever home-gate with friends. Of course, with tons of company coming over its also the perfect time to pull out the grill.

The BEST Tips on how to light charcoal and how to cook over a charcoal grill. #Kingsford #homedepot #grilluptheholidays #sponsored

Truth is a few months ago when we first got our charcoal grill I was a bit hesitant to use it. I was so used to using gas as a fuel that I wasn’t confident about knowing how to light charcoal. But, after researching the internet, watching some YouTube videos and consulting a few grill masters I finally have it down to a science. Today I am sharing everything I learned about lighting charcoal so that you can feel confident about grilling over charcoal this Super Bowl Sunday (and every other day of the year).

The BEST Tips on how to light charcoal and how to cook over a charcoal grill. #Kingsford #homedepot #grilluptheholidays #sponsored

How to Light Charcoal in 3 Easy Steps

Not sure how to light charcoal? Don’t stress these 3 simple steps will have you looking like a pro in no time. In fact, lighting coal is actually easy when you know the basic steps.

The BEST Tips on how to light charcoal and how to cook over a charcoal grill. #Kingsford #homedepot #grilluptheholidays #sponsored

Step 1: Create a mound with your coals. This makes it easier for the fire to spread throughout the coals. *We like to use Kingsford® Original Charcoal. You can purchase a 2-pack from Home Depot for a great price. See here.

Step 2: Add a generous amount of lighter fluid to the mound of coals (unlit) and then immediately light. It is VERY important that you follow the instructions for your liquid lighter fluid. I personally use the Kingsford® brand. *Never squirt lighter fluid onto flaming or hot coals.

Step 3: Watch for coals to turn gray with ash. Once most of the coals are completely covered in gray ash and you can see the glowing red in the center you are ready to grill.

A Few Things to Consider if You are Experiencing Trouble Lighting Your Charcoal

  1. You want to be sure you cleaned out any leftover ash or debris and deposit them in your trash.
  2. It is important to open the bottom grill vent if you have one. This allows the charcoal to get air which helps it burn.

I have read in some articles that it is better to allow some of the lighter fluid to soak into the coals for 3-5 minutes prior to lighting. Some say this prevents the lighter fluid from immediately burning off the coals when you light them. So, if you are having trouble this may be something to try. If you use this method after allowing the lighter fluid to soak in for 3-5 minutes you moisten the coals again with a little more lighter fluid and then you light them.

How to Light Charcoal Using an Electric Starter

The BEST Tips on how to light charcoal and how to cook over a charcoal grill. #Kingsford #homedepot #grilluptheholidays #sponsored

Another great way to start your charcoal is to use an electric starter like this one from Vision Grills that I got from Home Depot.

  1. Place the curved electric starter directly into the fire bowl and cover with coals creating a mound. Plus the electric starter into the nearest electrical outlet.
  2. Remove the starter once the charcoal is glowing red in the center and covered in gray ash. Usually, about 8-10 minutes.

More Charcoal Grilling Tips

The BEST Tips on how to light charcoal and how to cook over a charcoal grill. #Kingsford #homedepot #grilluptheholidays #sponsored

  • Prevent food from sticking to the grill grates by taking a paper towel soaked in vegetable oil and wiping down the grates before placing them over the hot coals.
  • Patience is key when dealing with charcoal grills. Once coals are hot they are typically burning at high heat. If you give them 20-30 minutes of burn time prior to cooking you have a better chance of maintaining a medium heat which is easier and more forgiving to bbq with.
  • Cook dense veggies like corn on the cob and onions during the initial high heat period. Steaks and burgers also do well with the high heat. This is good multi-tasking 🙂
  • Learn how to use your vents. Most grills have vents on the bottom and on the lid. To increase the temperature simply open the vents more to allow more oxygen in. To decrease the temperature, close the vents. Just be careful not to close them completely or you run the risk of the fire burning out.
  • Create cooking zones by stacking more coal on one side of the grill. This will be your hotter zone, and the side with fewer coals will be your cooler zone. Make sure to use tongs to move the coal.
  • Don’t forget to clean your grill. It is best to clean it while it’s still hot (right after cooking). You want to use a stiff-wire grill brush like this one.

The BEST Tips on how to light charcoal and how to cook over a charcoal grill. #Kingsford #homedepot #grilluptheholidays #sponsored

Did you know how to light charcoal before reading this article?

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