When preparing a charcoal fire, allow enough time for the fire to get hot. Chimney starters are easy to use and leave none of the aftertaste that can come from petroleum-based starters and fluids. Light the charcoal about 30 minutes before you plan to begin cooking.
Make sure the grill’s air vents are fully open. Place chimney starter upside down on the fire bed. Crumple newspaper, then stuff it under the grate in the bottom of the chimney. Turn the chimney right side up and fill with charcoal. Center chimney on the fire bed.
Light the paper with a long, wooden fireplace match or gas wand. The flames will ignite the coals. Let the coals burn for 15 to 20 minutes to ensure that all of the coals are lit.
The coals are ready when they’re covered in gray ash and glowing. Pour the hot coals onto the fire bed. If needed, add more unlit charcoal. The glowing coals will ignite the unlit charcoal.
Starting with an electric coil
Position the coil of the fire starter in the fire bed. Arrange coals in a pyramid over the coil, stacking the charcoal in a compact pile. Use a sufficient amount of charcoal; once the coals are lit and spread, they should cover the bottom of your fire bed. Plug the starter into the electrical outlet. When the charcoal is fully ignited, carefully remove the fire starter from under the coals and move it to a heatproof location to cool completely.