Tips & Techniques Grilling The Fire: Starting a Grill


A chimney starter is far superior to any other method of lighting charcoal. To use a chimney starter, lightly stuff newspaper in the bottom with the vents. Using too much paper will actually smother the fire; usually, 2 sheets will work. Next, pour charcoal briquettes or hardwood charcoal into the top of the chimney, filling it completely. Light the paper using a fireplace match or gas wand. The fire will burn upward and ignite the charcoal. Let the coals burn until they are ash gray in color, 15 to 20 minutes. Lift the chimney starter by the handle (use an oven mitt) and carefully pour the coals ont the fire grate in your grill. This method is effective and more environmentally friendly, and leaves none of the aftertaste that can come from petroleum-based charcoal starters.




Open the lid on your grill. Turn on the valve on the propane tank, all the way to open. With natural gas, open the valve. Turn all of your burners to high and then push the igniter button. If you don't have an automatic igniter, use a long match or gas wand to light the burners. Close the lid and allow the temperature to rise to at least 350˚F (180˚C); higher is better for steaks, burgers and chops. With most gas grills, this will take about 15 minutes. When ready to cook, open the lid and adjust the burner controls to the heat level that works best for your food.