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Making Your Own Charcoal Starter

Category BBQ and Grill
Starting the charcoal for your grill is easy even without starter fluid or special briquettes. This is a page about making your own charcoal starter.


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By 3 found this helpful
June 30, 2011

Yesterday, I wanted to barbecue for the first time this year. I realized that I had no lighter fluid and really needed to start the coals up quickly. I thought of those charcoal starter chimneys and remembered I had a can of juice in my pantry. I emptied it into a pitcher and cut out the top and bottom. I put it on top of the bottom grate of my grill, put some newspaper in it, then some coals, and lit it. In no time, I had white hot charcoal. Easy!

By KatherineC from Reno, NV

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By 2 found this helpful
July 29, 2009

Okay, charcoal grill friends, this one is for you! Cabellas sells this thing called a Rapidfire Chimney Starter, and they want twenty bucks for it, plus shipping! Pshaw! You can totally make one out of an old coffee can.

Choose an all-metal can without the evil plastic lining. Cut off the bottom with your trusty can opener so that you have a hollow cylinder. Then, use a "church key", the other type of can opener or bottle opener; the little one that makes triangles, and punch triangles about an inch apart all along one side of the can cylinder.


Now here's the magic! Place the cylinder on the bottom grill of your BBQ and fill it with charcoal and newspaper if you use newspaper to start your coals. Light them, baby. Wait until the coals are grey and hot at the top of the cylinder and then pull the cylinder off. Voila! You have a nice hot bed of coals without having to mess with making that little charcoal pyramid. In fact, I don't touch charcoal at all anymore; I just pour from the bag! Happy grilling!

By Stephanie from Anchorage, AK

Comment Was this helpful? 2
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