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Make Your Own Charcoal Starter

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

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July 30, 20090 found this helpful

I have used this method for years but since I use a smaller grill (just for 2) I have used empty V-8 (or other juice) cans. We don't drink coffee from cans so never had any laying around. The V-8 can is just the right size for smaller fires and if you need larger, you could always use 2.

I usually take an ice pick or a nail and put just a couple of small air holes about 1/3 of the way up the can too. This seems to speed up the process.

Don't forget to use tongs to remove the can once the coals are ready and be sure to set it someplace fireproof to cool down. I have used one can for up to 2 years but since we love V-8, a new one a couple of times a year works well for us.

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