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What is the best way to light charcoal?

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Question: What is the best way to light charcoal?
Answer: First of all the best way to light charcoal is not to use any kind of charcoal that is self-lighting, or has an additive to make it start without lighter fluid. These additives can leave behind a bad taste that you certainly don't want. Charcoal should be clean and produce virtually no smoke when fully lit.

While you might find it easier to use lighter fluid, it too can add a bad flavor to foods. If you do use lighter fluids you need to make sure you leave plenty of time for all that to burn off. To properly use lighter fluid make sure that all your charcoal is in a nice neat pile and not scattered around the grill. Pour a generous amount of lighter fluid over the entire pile, making sure that each piece of charcoal has fluid on it. Allow no more time between putting the fluid on the coals than it takes to close the lighter fluid can and put it away safely before you light the pile. It is actually best to use a piece of newspaper to light the pile with. You want plenty of flame to get the pile burning as quickly and completely as possible. Remember, never add lighter fluid again. Even warm coals will cause lighter fluid to vaporize and can cause a nasty explosion.

The best way to light charcoal is without anything more combustible than a few pieces of newspaper. This is done with a charcoal chimney that you can pick up at most any hardware store. A charcoal chimney allows you to get a good amount of coals burning completely and quickly without adding anything to the fire that you wouldn't want to add to your food. Charcoal chimneys also allow you to be able to get more coals going while cooking.

Take a look at my list of Charcoal Starters to get a better idea of how you can light charcoal.

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