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Charcoal Starters

Save your eyebrows and light your charcoal the clean and safe way


There are so many better ways to light charcoal than the old lighter fluid. Lighter fluid is one of the top causes of grilling related injuries, creates a great deal of petroleum based pollution, and is simply frustrating to work with. By doing a little green grilling and investing a little money (often not much more than the cost of a bottle of lighter fluid) you can light your charcoal, save the environment and never burn off your eyebrows again.

1. Weber Charcoal Chimney

Weber Charcoal Chimney
Weber-Stephen Products Company
Not only is the Weber Charcoal Chimney a perfect way to light charcoal it is also reasonably prices. Place a piece or two of crumpled newspaper in the bottom, fill the top with charcoal, and light. In about 10 minutes you will have burning hot coals. Pour them (gently) into your grill and you are ready to cook. One of the great advantages of a charcoal chimney is that you can start up more coals anytime you need them. The Weber charcoal chimney is well built and durable enough to last through hundreds of start ups. This will light more charcoal than a dozen bottles of charcoal lighter fluid and will save you a lot of money (and frustration) over the years.
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2. Grill Pro Electric Charcoal Starter

Grill Pro Electric Charcoal Starter
Onward Manufacturing Company
To get charcoal burning all you really need to do is get it hot enough to light. An electric charcoal starter is nothing more than a loop of heating element that gets very, very hot when you plug it in. By using an electric charcoal starter you can get your coals burning in just a few minutes without even striking a match. Best of all you can use it where ever you need it. Pour charcoal in your grill and insert the charcoal starter, or heat up coals in a metal buck if you need to add more to your fire. The Grill Pro electric charcoal starter has a wide loop with a curved line so you can get a lot of coals in contact with it all at once.
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3. Fat Wood

Fat wood is a slang term from the South referring to a natural resin saturated wood from the base of ancient pine trees (typically from the stumps of trees already harvested). This wood is highly combustible and can be lit with a match. Once burning is burns very hot so it is excellent for lighting any kind of fire and is particularly good for lighting charcoal. This is the old traditional way of lighting up your grill or smoker and is a safe and natural way to get your grill burning in no time.

4. Diamond Strike a Fire

Diamond Strike a Fire
Jarden Home Brands
These charcoal starters are made out of a paraffin saturated press wood material that burns for about 10 minutes lighting your charcoal easily. What I like best about these is that the work just like a match. Take on out, strike the red tip igniter on the strike strip on the back of the box and it lights just like a match. Once the end is burning simply push it down into a pile of charcoal and you have a fire going in no time. While not necessarily the most environmental solution these are great and don't require electricity of sheets of newspaper making them great for lighting charcoal when you are not at home.
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5. Looftlighter 60 Second Charcoal Starter

60 Second Charcoal Starter
Hammacher Schlemmer & Company, INC.

Most charcoal starters require 10 to 15 minutes to get the charcoal burning completely. This electric blow torch of a charcoal starter can do it in 60 seconds. This works like a high powered paint stripper, focusing hot air (around 1250 degrees F.) at the coals not only giving your charcoal the heat to get the fire going but also fans to flame as a high powered blower. Of course at around $80 it isn't the cheapest solution but it sure is the fastest.

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