There are many options for lighting a charcoal grill, but electric starters are nice because the heat is off while you’re waiting for your coals to light. You can also leave them unattended while they do their thing.
If you haven’t invested in an electric starter yet, we’ve got you covered with step-by-step instructions and a how-to video. We bought this one for about $10, but there are many on the market, such as the Char-Broil Big Easy Electric Starter.
This electric charcoal starter has hooks that hang over your grill, or you can set it right on top of your coals. It comes with a 16-foot electric cord. Just plug it in and push the button! You’ll have flames lickin’ up them briquettes in no time flat. This thing is so convenient, you’ll wonder why you hadn’t gotten one sooner.
Make sure to read our article ” The Ultimate Guide To Fire Starters,” where covers every method imaginable for lighting charcoal grill, including chemical options like lighter fluid and chimneys.
The electric charcoal starter makes lighting briquettes fast and easy!
Watch the video below or follow these step-by-step photos:
How To Use An Electric Charcoal Starter
Assemble the device according to the included instruction sheet. You stick one end of the S hook into one side of your electric starter unit; then push the other end of the S hook into your grates with the starter box resting on top of it. Plugin your 16-foot electric cord to power up. Turn your dials so that both burners are set off.
When you’re ready to light your coals, place a few sheets of newspaper underneath the starter box. Crumple up about six sheets then straighten them back out and make a loose “nest” inside your starter unit.
Put one charcoal briquette in the center of the paper nest and light it up. After a minute or two, you’ll be able to see small flames licking at the edges of the briquette. The coals will begin to turn greyish-white when they’re ready for cooking.
Note: This device is NOT designed for burning wood chunks/sticks/other hardwood! Use only briquettes!! You can read our article on how to grill wood here.
An electric charcoal starter in action!
Follow these tips to ensure that you get your coals going quickly and easily:
- Never use lighter fluid to light a charcoal grill. This practice is dangerous and produces vapors that can be harmful if inhaled or worse, ignited by a nearby source of heat.
- The fumes will also make your food taste like an oil refinery. Use only the proper fire starters designed for the job. We’re not talking about birthday candles here. If you don’t have an electric charcoal starter, other options include chimneys, crumpled newspaper, paraffin cubes, or even a commercial ignitor.
- Make sure that it’s close to 100 degrees Fahrenheit outside when you start your fire, otherwise, your electric starter may overheat and shut itself off.
- Avoid sprinkling lighter fluid on your briquettes as this will produce a lot of vapors that can be harmful if inhaled or ignited by a nearby source of heat. Give your electric charcoal starter plenty of time to do its job and turn them slowly so they light evenly without any flare-ups.
- Don’t keep opening the grill lid to check the progress. You’ll lose all of your heat and prolong the cooking process dramatically! The average time for getting hot coals is about 15 minutes.
- Once your coals are ready, carefully lift out the starter box with oven mitts and set it aside until cool enough to touch. Lift one edge of the wire mesh using long-handled tongs then use a brush to sweep the ashes into your ash bucket and brush another layer of fresh briquettes on top. The mesh will prevent your coals from falling onto the ash bucket.
- Electric charcoal starter removed and coals ready for grilling!
- Store your electric charcoal starter unit in an upright position indoors when not in use to maximize its durability and lifespan – just like any other household appliance.
Now that you know how to use an electric charcoal starter, you can sit back and relax as John does all of the hard work for you.
How long does it take for an electric charcoal starter to work?
It usually takes about 15 minutes to get a bed of hot coals ready for cooking.
How long do you leave the charcoal in a charcoal starter?
You should wait until the coals turn grayish-white before putting them on your grill.
How do you start a charcoal fire starter?
Crumple up six sheets of newspaper then place them in the center of your starter unit. Place one charcoal briquette on top and light it up!
Wait for a minute or two until you see small flames licking at the edges of the briquette. The coals will begin to turn grayish-white when they’re ready for cooking.
Always use a timer when grilling so you don’t overcook your food!
How do you use a charcoal starter tube?
Follow these simple steps to get your charcoal briquettes going:
1. Remove the tube from its packaging and make sure that all parts are in place.
2. Fill the container with two pieces of crumpled newspaper and one piece of paraffin cubes, then light it up!
3. Once lit, let it burn for about 5 minutes before adding the briquettes.