Using a Charcoal Chimney

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Alright, so this might be overly simplistic, but I know a lot of folks that have never used a charcoal chimney to start their charcoal. I though it was high-time that I do a short piece on using a chimney, and it’s benefits. I wouldn’t be without one.

First, lets start with your options. You basically have two major differences in the types of charcoal chimneys you’ll find available for purchase….size and material, regular steel or stainless. So, I recommend, and own a stainless chimney, which was the largest I could find.  Stainless steel lasts longer in the elements, which was my reason for buying a stainless chimney. As for size, you don’t have to fill the chimney with charcoal, so the larger the better. It gives me more flexibility.

Now, why a chimney? It allows you to get a good even burn on your charcoal or wood and it allows you to light up your next batch of wood or charcoal to add to the fire. Burning wood down a bit will eliminate the potential of getting any bitter taste from bark and it will burn off any chemicals, if your using charcoal that is not natural.

So, how do you use one? It’s simple:

  1. put some old newspaper underneath the chimney
  2. put some lighter fluid on the newspaper
  3. add half the amount of charcoal you intend to use
  4. put lighter fluid on the charcoal
  5. add the rest of the charcoal to the chimney
  6. put some more lighter fluid on the charcoal
  7. light the paper under the chimney
  8. come back in about 25 minutes and the charcoal should be ashed over and ready to use

If you’re using wood, follow steps 1 and 2. Then add a few pieces of charcoal and add some lighter fluid. Put your wood in the chimney and light the newspaper.

That’s all that’s to it. Now go get yourself a chimney.

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