Thursday, July 20, 2023

Charcoal Chimney Starter Reviewed

 Over the years I have been back and forth between charcoal and gas grills. Five years ago my daughter gave me a Char-Griller Smokin Champ combination offset smoker and grill. Ever since I've been all about the charcoal grilling and smoking.

Charcoal Chimney Starter Reviewed

If you're cooking with a charcoal grill or a smoker, then a chimney starter is a must-have. The chimney starter is the easiest and fastest method of lighting any kind of charcoal. Getting your charcoal started and ready to cook is really easy. To me, the chimney starter is the safest option. You could use charcoal lighter fluid but the chemicals found in lighter fluid could leave your food tasting like the fluid.

The chimney starter in the photo is my Weber Rapidfire Charcoal Chimney Starter. I have had this one for five years now.

Features of my Chimney Starter:

It measures 13-inches High

7.5-inches in diameter

Cone shaped grate on the bottom

Ergonomic handle with heat shield


Durable Construction

How to use a Charcoal Chimney Starter:

Charcoal Chimney

The first thing that I do is flip it over and wad up 3 sheets of newspaper placed in the bottom of the cone-shaped grate. You can buy charcoal starters specifically made to light a chimney, but I find the newspaper works just as well.
Charcoal Chimney Starter

Turn the chimney over on the grill grates and light the newspaper. I use a small grill and set it up on a picnic table. When you light the newspaper you'll see a lot of white smoke as seen in the photo. Don't worry this stops once the charcoal gets going.

Weber Rapidfire chimney starter

In this photo, you can see the red glow of the charcoal moving up to the top. Looking at the top the coals are starting to turn white on the corners. This chimney is ready to dump into my grill. The process will be about 15 minutes and you'll be ready to cook with hot charcoal.

A word of caution: For dumping the hot charcoal into your grill you should have a grill glove made for high heat. I use heavy leather gloves when I'm dumping the charcoal. The hot charcoal can be 500 degrees or more. The charcoal chimney is a fast and easy way to start your charcoal.

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  1. What a helpful review, Sam. Now I know exactly how to work a charcoal chimney starter. I remember from other review how much you enjoy your Char-Griller Smokin Pro. Just one question, now. When are you inviting me over for a charcoal grilled smoked dinner.

    1. Pat, you are welocme here anytime for dinner. Stop over and we will fire up the smoker.

  2. We have always (all of my life) used a chimney starter. My father has one that has lasted him "all of my life". When we cook out, we first head over to Dad's house and he pulls out the trusty charcoal chimney. I have seen people us the light fluid like you mentioned. All I can say is yuck! Plus, lighter fluid is dangerous, in my opinion. It works, but eyebrows beware! The Charcoal Chimney is the only right way to start a great charcoal fire for cooking out.

    1. My brother and I used the match light charcoal once and our food tasted terriable. The chimeny is the best way to get the charcoal ready.

  3. I have never seen a charcoal chimney before, Sam! This looks like a wonderful and much safer way to light a charcoal grill vs. using lighter fluid. I’ll share this review with my husband for sure.

    1. Charcoal chimney starter, not charcoal chimney, lol.

    2. Margaret, the chimney is the best way to light your charcoal for sure. I don't think I'll ever go back to using a gas grill. So, it's charcoal for me all the way!!!

  4. It's no surprise that I haven't heard of this because I'm not the BBQer in this house - However, I can see how important it would be to have one of these - anything that promotes a safer BBQing experience I'm all in for!

  5. What a great idea! Wish I had known this 30 years ago when I barbecued frequently during the summer.

  6. Nothing like true charcoal grilling - thanks for all the great tips and DIY, what a great way to start off with evenly hot coals!

  7. I did not know something like this existed until right now! Sam, a few years ago my Son In Law bought a BBQ for coals and it took us forever to get it fired up. Now I know how to help him! I will copy this review just for him and I'm sure he'll be happy to know there is a great tool for this purpose! I appreciate your Review Sam Monaco!

  8. We rarely Barbeque so I am not familiar with a chimney starter, but your explanation of it and and how to use it is very clear and useful. I would not want to be using lighter fluid and this sounds like a much better, safer and quicker way.


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