Good, basic charcoal should burn cleanly and not leave a bad taste on your food. Putting lighter fluid on charcoal will add a bad taste if you don't do it right. The best way to light charcoal is with either an electric charcoal starter or a charcoal chimney. These devices allow you to get a good fire going without adding chemicals to your fire. Remember this is the fire you cook with. Don't put something on the fire that would kill you if you consumed it.
If you do use lighter fluid to get your fire going apply it sparingly and evenly. You want each and every coal to get a dose of lighter fluid, but not too much. You definitely don't want a pool of it forming in the bottom of your grill.
Secondly let the lighter fluid soak in for 30 seconds to a minute. This allows the fumes to escape and lets the lighter fluid sink in. When you do put a match to the coals you won't get a big roaring fire, but the fire will spread over the coals. It actually only takes a couple of minutes of fire to heat a charcoal coal to the point of combustion.
A charcoal fire is ready to cook with when the coals are hot and white, but also when the smoke coming off the fire is white and at a minimum. A smoky charcoal fire is not good for grilling.