How to Start Charcoal Using a Charcoal Chimney Starter

There are many ways to start charcoal and there are also many apparatuses for starting charcoal.  Today I want to focus on the charcoal chimney.  The charcoal chimney is a round cylindrical unit that looks almost like a coffee can with a handle on it.  In the bottom of a charcoal chimney is a grate or another piece of metal with holes in the bottom of it.  The idea is to place your charcoal into the round cylindrical unit on top of the grate. 


A fire is then lit underneath said grate and it burns in order to ignite the charcoal that is on top of the grate in the charcoal chimney.  Most people including the manufacturers of the charcoal chimneys will tell you to use a sheet of newspaper or paper towels to set on fire and place the charcoal chimney over the top of the fire. 



The problem with setting a newspaper on fire or setting a paper towel on fire is that if there is any sort of breeze when you go to dump the coals the ash will blow all over the backyard or anywhere where you happen to be trying to light charcoals on fire.  What I would recommend for starting charcoals with a charcoal chimney is InstaFire brand charcoal starter.  The InstaFire brand charcoal starter, lights with ease, Burns for over 15 minutes, and Burns hot enough to get any charcoal briquette to light. 


To use the InstaFire brand charcoal starter, there are several configurations that you could use.  One configuration is the Cellulose pouch the Cellulose pouch is comprised from corn sugar and wood pulp.  The pouch is designed to be burned, igniting the InstaFire inside.  The burn time of the Cellulose pouch, is about 15 minutes.  When using the Cellulose pouch, I would recommend setting the pouch on a non-burnable surface such as concrete, or a steel table.  Light both sides of the burnable pouch with a match or lighter, then waiting for about 20 seconds or until the pouch opens like a flower.  The Cellulose pouch, when lit on both sides, burns across the front of the pouch will meet the middle, and then open similar to a flower exposing the fresh product inside burning for 15 minutes.  After the pouch has opened exposing the fresh product and the pouch is fully engulfed in flames, place the charcoal chimney that is filled with your desired amount of charcoal right over the flame.  After 3 to 5 minutes, lift the charcoal chimney into the air slightly, and using the bottom edge of the charcoal chimney, scratch the top of the surface of the InstaFire that is burning.  This will expose fresh new product and continue to burn.  Return the charcoal chimney over the top of the flame and in 3 to 5 minutes repeat the process. 
Another configuration is the bulk bucket.  InstaFire brand charcoal starter comes in a 2 gallon bucket.  When using the bulk product, I would recommend scooping out a half cup of product and place on a non-burnable surface such as concrete or a steel table.  When lighting the bulk product it is important to remember to use a match or lighter and touch the rock part of InstaFire.  Do not try to light the wood pellets as that will take forever.  After the product is lit and on fire you do not have to wait, simply place the charcoal chimney right over the flame.  In 3 to 5 minutes lift the charcoal chimney slightly and with the bottom edge scrape along the top of the pile of InstaFire.  This will expose fresh new product and the fire will continue to burn.  Place the chimney over the fire and repeat the process every 3 to 5 minutes.  
Whether you use the Cellulose pouch or the bulk product in 10 minutes your coals will be red hot, glowing, and ready to use.  Whether you’re cooking with the Dutch oven, grilling on the backyard grill, or trying to smoke a fresh turkey, InstaFire truly is the best way to get your charcoals going with no harmful chemicals.  In my next segment, I will discuss the properties of InstaFire, and what makes it so safe to use when lighting charcoal. 
Until next time, this is Frank Weston reminding you that all good fires start with InstaFire.