how to light a BBQ

How to Light a BBQ Quickly and Easily

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Summer is the time for cookouts and get-togethers with family and friends. And what’s more quintessentially summer than a barbecue?

If you’ve never lit a barbecue before, don’t worry – it’s pretty easy. This guide will teach you how to light a BBQ quickly and efficiently so that your cookout can go off without a hitch. So, prepare the grill, and let’s get cooking!

How to Light a BBQ Using a Chimney Starter

How do you light a charcoal BBQ grill? Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to light a bbq with briquettes in a starter.

Step 1: Choose the Right Spot for Your Charcoal Barbecue

Choose a spot in an open area with plenty of ventilation. Make sure the location is clear of any flammable items, like dry leaves or paper. The surface should also be flat and sturdy to support the weight of the BBQ.

Step 2: Set Up Your Charcoal BBQ

Set up your BBQ according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This will typically involve opening the bottom vent and placing the charcoal in the grill.

Step 3: Fill Your Chimney Starter With Coals

A chimney starter is a metal cylinder equipped with a handle on one end and a grate. It is used for lighting charcoal.

Fill the chimney starter with an appropriate amount of charcoal. This is about two-thirds of the way with coals.

Step 4: Light the Charcoal Briquettes

Lighting a bbq should be easy, even for beginners. Chimney starter manufacturers provide instructions on how to light a BBQ with coal. This can be done by adding a few sheets of paper in several areas and lighting them one by one.

Step 5: Wait for the Coal Briquettes to Light Up

Wait for the briquettes to light up. This could take anywhere from 10-30 minutes, so be patient.

The coals will start to glow red and then white-hot. You have to assess if the hot coals are ready. For example, if the coals have a white glow and the centre is red, it is ready for use for cooking meat under direct heat. White ash coals are perfect for grilling with indirect heat.

Step 6: Pour the Briquettes Into Your BBQ Grill

Once the coals have lit, pour them into your BBQ grill. Be careful to arrange your coals depending on the heat type you want to achieve.

Spreading the coal in an even layer is excellent for creating the highest heat possible, ideal for cooking food like thin-cut steaks. Pushing the coal to one side, on the other hand, makes an indirect heat source for keeping cooked food warm while you’re grilling another batch of meat.

Now that you know how to start a BBQ, it is time to start cooking. Place food on the grill and cook to perfection! Get creative with your recipes and enjoy the summer weather.

How to Light a BBQ With Firelighters

We’ve provided tips on how to light a barbecue using a chimney starter, but what if you don’t have one? Here’s how to light a BBQ using the stacking method.

Step 1: Choose the Right Spot for Your Charcoal BBQ

Like with the chimney starter method, choose a flat surface in an open area with plenty of ventilation. Make sure the spot is clear of any flammable items, like dry leaves or paper. The surface should also be flat and sturdy to support the weight of the BBQ.

Step 2: Arrange Your Charcoal

Stack up the charcoal into a pyramid shape. This will help the fire to spread evenly. Make sure there are ample spaces between the briquettes in the stack.

Step 3: Insert Firelighters in the Stack

Insert scrunched up pieces of newspapers in the spaces between the briquettes. You can dip the newspapers in cooking oil to help them ignite more easily.

You can also use natural firelighters like wood, wool, and cardboard. Light newspapers or wood chips and wait for the flames to light the charcoal in their own time.

Be patient and avoid adding more firefighters. This step takes time, usually more than 10 minutes.

BBQ Lighting Tips for Beginners

If you’re a beginner, the thought of lighting your barbecue may seem daunting. But with these simple tips, you’ll be able to light your BBQ like a pro in no time!

Choose Your BBQ Spot Carefully

Choose the right spot for your BBQ. You’ll need a level surface and plenty of space so the grill can be set up comfortably. Make sure there are no overhanging branches or anything that could catch fire, and keep in mind that you may need room to move around the grill when it’s hot.

Prepare the Grill

Once you’ve chosen your spot, it’s time to prepare the grill. Start by removing the cooking grates and giving them a good scrub with warm, soapy water. Then, apply a light coating of cooking oil to help prevent sticking.

Have the Proper Barbecue Equipment

Gather the right supplies. Aside from your grill, you will need a chimney starter, firelighters, match, heatproof gloves, and long-handled tongs with insulated handles.

Choose Good Quality Charcoal

Not all charcoal is created equal. For the best results, use good quality charcoal to light quickly and burn hot.

Make sure that the charcoal you are using is made from wood approved by Forestry Commission.

Safety Considerations When Lighting a BBQ

Close up man with gloves chimney starter barbecue grill in open air at country garden house. Flaming hot red yellow charcoal grill on green lawn backgrounds. Concept of country recreation. Copy space

When lighting a BBQ, there are safety considerations to keep in mind. Below are some of them:

  • Set up the BBQ away from flammable objects.
  • Make sure the grill is stable and will not tip over.
  • Never leave a lit BBQ unattended. Keep your kids and pets away from the BBQ at all times.
  • When a BBQ loses heat, you can add more charcoal but not overdo it.
  • Store charcoal in a safe place, out of reach of children and pets
  • Never pour lighter fluid on an open flame. Instead, use a chimney starter to light the charcoal.
  • Make sure the grill is cool before moving it to prevent burn injuries.
  • Shut down your barbecue correctly by putting on the lid and ensuring all ventilation ports are closed. You can also drop the briquettes in a metal container filled with cold water.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case of an emergency.
  • If you don’t have a fire extinguisher, keep a bucket of water nearby.

FAQs About Lighting a BBQ

How Long Does It Take to Light a BBQ?

It usually takes around 10-30 minutes to light a BBQ properly. Be patient and allow the charcoal enough time to ignite.

Can I Use Lighter Fluid to Light My BBQ?

Lighter fluid should not be used when lighting a BBQ. Instead, use a chimney starter to get the coals going.

What’s the Best Charcoal to Use When Lighting a BBQ?

Charcoal briquettes for barbecue

Coppiced wood is the best charcoal to use when lighting a BBQ. It lights easily and burns hot, resulting in better results. Try to avoid using coal that has been treated with chemicals.

How Do I Dispose of the Ashes?

When you’re finished using your BBQ, make sure to dispose of the ashes properly. You can wrap the ashes and charcoal in foil and place them in a metal container. This will help to prevent any accidents from happening.

Enjoying the Perfect Summertime Cookouts

Now that you know how to light a BBQ, you must be ready to host your first summertime cookout. Be sure to invite your friends and family over for a delicious meal cooked on the grill.

If you have questions about lighting BBQs, let us know in the comments below. Be sure to check out our other blog posts for ideas as well.

Additional Resources

How to Use a Smoker BBQ UK

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