How To Light Lump Charcoal – Tips For BBQ Smokers


It’s easy to learn how to light lump charcoal. What is lump charcoal? These are small pieces of coal that produce less ash, burns hotter, lights quickly, and easier to adjust the temperature of the fuel.

Whenever you are handling fire, there is always a potential for injury. You may end up hurting yourself or those around the grill. Always take caution and practice safe lump lighting.

Here are excellent safety tips you should consider;
• Don’t lean on the grill when lighting utilizing flammable fluids
• Use severe caution when handling lighter fluid and other volatile fuels
• Don’t add fuel to an already lit fire. The flames will flash up and probably explode.
Grilling is an exciting activity. Here are the best methods to light lump charcoal.

  1. The Charcoal Chimney Method

The Charcoal Chimney Method

Utilizing a charcoal chimney is the most preferred method. The technique works perfectly. It’s cheap and easy to clean. Also, it’s relatively quick to light than lighting the coal inside the grill. The technique is not well applicable using a kamado-style grill. The grill has narrow sides.

A charcoal chimney is a metal tube that holds the briquettes or charcoal in place. You ignite the charcoal from the bottom. Heat is transferred up the chimney as it sucks in air from the bottom. It means when the charcoal is lighting; they are self fanning. The chimney functions as if it’s being blown all at the same time. The charcoal becomes lit and hot in a short span. Well-constructed chimneys are affordable and sold in all stores. Smokey Steak Ranch can be useful guides on this one.

Here is the procedure of lighting a charcoal chimney;
• Get two pieces of wadded newspaper and place in the bottom of the chimney starter
• Carefully pour the briquettes or charcoal at the top. Ensure you fill the chimney to the brim for maximum heat in the grill.
• Place the chimney at the bottom of the grill. Get a lighter and light the newspaper
• Immediately the top layers of charcoal in the chimney start to ash over; the coals are ready. Slowly dump the chimney into the grill and carefully spread the charcoal evenly.


• Works every time
• Affordable
• No electricity or chemicals involved


The side handles make it challenging to utilize in narrow and deep grills like the Big Green Egg or kamado.

  1. The Looftlighter Method

The Looftlighter Method

The looftlighter method is a combination blower and heater that convey super-heated air towards the fuel, igniting it instantly. Looftlighter can conduct two tasks. They include;
• It can light charcoal in seconds
• It’s also a bottle opener

Here is the procedure to go about a Looftlighter.
• Plugin the looftligher to a source of electricity
• Make contact with the base of the charcoal pile and then press the start button
• When sparks or glowing coals are evident, hold the looftlighter back about an inch. Remain to point the same point at least for 60 seconds.
• After 60 seconds, the coal will be well lit. The heating will be enough to burn the rest of the pile. Turn the looftlighter off and open a cold beer using the bottle opener feature.


• No chemicals involved
• The tool has an inbuilt bottle opener
• It’s the fastest technique to light briquettes or charcoal


• Requires electricity
• It’s an expensive method
When opening bottles using the looftlighter, be careful not to sear your hand. Looftlighter is a preferable method that works well with Big Green Egg grills and Kamado style grills.

  1. The Electrical Starter

The Electrical Starter

This technique is an effective way to start a grill without involving chemicals. The electric starter has similar features with the stove burner. However, it is bent having a ‘U’ shape with a handle.

The electric starter is not as good looking and fast as the Looftlighter. But, it will still get your fire going.

Here is the procedure to go about an Electric starter.
• Correctly place the burner element at the base of the grill with the handle sticking out
• Pile the coal on the top of the grill.
• Plug the electric starter to a power source
• Once the charcoal begins to spark or glow, unplug the starter and remove it from the grill
This technique is suitable for lighting a smaller area compared to the chimney method. The method might take a while to light a big fire if you decide to grill over a large area.


• It’s fast for lighting smaller areas
• No chemicals involved
• It never breaks down or fails


• Requires electricity
• Slow when lighting big fires

  1. Firestarter Or Firelighter Method

The Firelighter Method

Firestarter is the ultimate best and most cost-effective technique for lighting up kamado-style grills. The firelighter utilizes paraffin wax, coated wood shavings, or compressed cardboard to ignite the coal. They work perfectly, lighting up a chimney.

Also, the technique doesn’t leave ash as newspapers do. Paraffin wax doesn’t leave behind a bad odour or residue. Also, it’s non-toxic.

There are a variety of brands of paraffin wax. Most come in strips and cubes. They are always packed in a bag or box.

Here is the procedure to use a fire starter.
• Carefully place the fire starter directly under the chimney or on the pile of charcoal
• Go ahead and light it.


• Weatherproof
• They work perfectly. They can burn for 8 minutes if your briquettes or coal are wet
• Affordable


If the flammable used is chemical, it can negatively impact your food, leaving a nasty taste. Go for natural agents.

The fire starters work well in any campfire or grill. Always avoid fire starters that utilize chemicals besides vegetable oil or paraffin wax.

Those are the techniques to light the best lump charcoal.

Always ensure food stays away from lighter fluids or chemical fires. Electric techniques are the best. They are efficient and clean. As long as you are close with a power source, utilize electric techniques. If you are in the woods camping or indulging in other activities, use the other methods

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Preeti Shah is a person who loves checking out different styles and designs of houses. She took interior designing in college and is practicing in the field of home improvement for five years now. In her spare time, she is usually searching the web for interesting and fascinating home designs.


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