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Video:How to Use a Chimney Charcoal Starter

with John Mitzewich

A simple-to-use chimney style charcoal starter is the cleanest, easiest, and most foolproof way to light charcoal for your grill. See how to a chimney charcoal starer and get started grilling with no fuss!See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Use a Chimney Charcoal Starter

Hi, I'm Chef John Mitzewich for About.com. Today I'm going to show you how to use a chimney style charcoal starter -- my favorite way to start charcoal. I barbecue a lot, so I use this all the time.

Add Newspaper to Bottom

These things last forever, I've had this one for 20 years. So this is your basic chimney style charcoal starter - very simple design. All you do is flip it over and in the bottom we’re going to wad up 3 pieces of newspaper. It will be tempting to add more, but that's a mistake. The paper needs a little air in between to burn properly. It shouldn't be super-tight.

Fill With Charcoal Briquettes

Flip it back over and fill with charcoal briquettes. One tip; use a good quality charcoal. Cheap charcoal will not work as well with this method.

Light With a Match on a Grill

Place it on the grill and use a match to light the paper. There are vents around the bottom, so put your match in there, in a few spots and it will ignite. The paper will burn up underneath the charcoal, and at first there will be lots of smoke, but don't worry. After a few minutes the newspaper will burn out and most of the smoke will disappear, except for a little bit coming out of the top of the chimney.

Wait for White-Hot Coals

This is good, this means the coals on the bottom have ignited. The fire will slowly burn up though the chimney and this is what you are waiting for. After about 20 minutes you'll see flames coming out of the top, and you know you are almost done. As soon as the edges of the coals on top turn a little bit white, you are ready. How easy is that?

Dump Coals Into Grill

Dump it into your grill and you are ready to barbecue. Using this method you are going to have perfect coals every time. You do not need lighter fluid, you don't need the charcoal that has the lighter fluid in it -- this is the cleanest, easiest method to light charcoal there is. Anyway, I hope you give that a try. Enjoy
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