Throw out the Lighter Fluid!

     Days of soaking charcoal in lighter fluid and throwing on a match, creating a mushroomed fireball, is over.  Get rid of the lighter fluid and get a charcoal chimney starter.  A charcoal chimney is a metal cylinder with a handle.  Inside there is a grate a few inches from the bottom.



(CharBroil on left, Weber on right) 

You load plain charcoal into the top compartment,  then place crumpled up newspaper in the bottom below the grate.  Place on a safe surface, such as the charcoal grate of your grill and light the newspaper.  Some outdoor cooks even light theirs with a turkey fryer, which is faster and cleaner than using newspaper.  I prefer using the latter of the two methods.  Lighting the coals in a chimney will be able to savor your food without that nasty lighter fluid taste and smell.  There are a few brands out there to choose from.  The most recommended by far is the Weber chimney(  With its craftsmanship and load size, it’s worth ordering on-line if you can’t find one local.  I started with a CharBroil chimney, and soon realized its short comings.  When the handle came apart with a lit load on the way to the firebox, I decided to upgrade.  I watched for the chimney to go on sale on  When it did I talked 3 coworkers into ordering one also(this made the purchase qualify for free shipping).  This made a total price under $10 for each one.  Using the Weber chimney for a year now, I would pay double for a replacement if I had to.

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