How to Light a BBQ?

There are several reasons to know how to light a barbecue correctly. It can make grilled food appear and taste nicer. Still, more significantly, it may guarantee that heat is uniformly dispersed throughout meat items to ensure that hazardous bacteria such as salmonella are eliminated. This is beneficial for both hungry visitors and exhausted hosts. After all, you wouldn’t want your party attendees to take home an upset stomach as a memento of their time spent with you, would you?

Therefore, if you have all the equipment (including the best bbq tools and accessories), but you have no idea how to light the thing, put a bunch of experts in the hot seat with a quick-fire round of bbq-related questions so that you can claim your well-deserved title of grill master or grill mistress.

How to Light a Bbq?

When it comes to lighting an outdoor barbecue, various kinds of grilling concepts need different ignition methods. Charcoal grills need the greatest physical labor, but once you’ve acquired the necessary skills, operating one isn’t all that difficult. This information is provided by Weber, which opens in a new tab. In addition to that, there are a variety of lighting aids that make the process even less complicated.

If, rather than a charcoal grill, your backyard has a gas or electric grill, lighting it up is often accomplished with nothing more than the flip of a switch or the press of a button. This makes it the easiest kind of grill to use. According to Weber, though, there is a certain level of skill involved in bringing them up to the ideal temperature.

Which Type of Charcoal should you Use for your BBQ?

Lump wood or briquette charcoal for your BBQ.

So you’re looking for information on how to fire a barbecue that uses charcoal. First, you’ll have to decide whether to use briquettes or lump wood charcoal in this recipe.

  • According to the Char-Broil team, lump wood charcoal is created from uncompressed materials such as cherry, coconut shells, mesquite, and tamarind. This charcoal is not compacted (opens in a new tab) and burns hotter and quicker while producing less ash than other fuels. According to the team, since it is more difficult to spread uniformly, it is an excellent option for cooking procedures that include low and moderate temperatures.
  • Weber notes that whereas lump wood charcoal warms up more quickly, briquettes maintain their temperature for longer. According to Char-Broil, they are often built almost entirely of sawdust and have a regular shape, making it simpler to control the heat level. They are an excellent option for cooking food in a short amount of time, such as steak or fish.
  • According to the website Bar-Be-Quick, lighting the two distinct forms of charcoal requires somewhat different methods, with briquettes often requiring more time to reach a state in which they are ready to be used for cooking (opens in new tab). They state that you shouldn’t have any problems as long as you light them at least a quarter of an hour before you want to begin cooking.

How to Light a Charcoal BBQ with a Chimney Starter?

Barbecue chimney starter for the charcoal grill

If you are seeking simple advice on igniting a barbecue, a chimney starter is a method you may try.

  • Do you plan on using briquette charcoal for the grill? The use of a chimney starter is one method that is both quick and straightforward for lighting them. Weber divulges some of their secrets:
  • To begin, remove the cooking grate from the oven.
  • Use the briquette scoop, often provided with charcoal grills, to measure the correct quantity of charcoal, and then pour that amount into the chimney starter.
  • On the grate holding the coal, ignite three cubes of lighter fluid.
  • The chimney starter should then be positioned such that it is directly above the cubes.
  • Hold your breath until you see flames rising from the top of the chimney starter. This indicates that the charcoal that lies below is lit up. It ought should take around 10–15 minutes to complete. The top pieces will have begun to take on a grayish hue due to ash accumulation.
  • After reaching the appropriate state, gently pour the blazing charcoal into the grill basket.
  • Utilizing tongs, arrange the components into the desired configuration (if you’re looking for an upgrade, our shopping guide for the best barbecue tools features some excellent recommendations). After that, put the cooking grate back in place, and you should be ready to go.

How to Light a Charcoal BBQ with Wood Wool?

Portable grill manufactured by Gardenesque; instructions for removing rust from grills and barbecues

  • The usage of wood wool is yet another helpful method for lighting charcoal briquettes.
  • In addition, you may light charcoal briquettes using starters made of wood wool. The following is the method that Bar-Be-Quick recommends for lighting a barbecue:
  • To begin, spread the charcoal briquettes out on the bottom of your BBQ in an equal layer (with the cooking grill removed).
  • In the middle, position three or four individual pieces of wood wool.
  • The next step is to create a little mound in the middle of your barbeque by placing the briquettes on top of and around the wood wool.
  • After lighting the wood wool, wait around twenty minutes for the briquettes to begin becoming white.
  • When they are nearly completely white, use tongs to spread them out so that they are uniformly distributed, and then turn the cooking grill back on so that it is ready for use.
  • Are you looking for further inspiration to eat outside? All of our ideas for eating outside have a stunning presentation.

How to Light a Charcoal BBQ Using Lighting Gel?

If you are looking for information on how to light a barbecue, lighting gel may be an addition that you find helpful.

  • You may also learn how to light a barbecue using lighting gel if you are grilling with charcoal briquettes. This process takes around half an hour to complete. Bar-Be-Quick breaks down the process for us as follows:
  • Make a compact ring of briquettes and place it in the middle of your grill (with the cooking grill removed).
  • Apply some lighting gel to cover the region in the middle of the circle.
  • You may make a little mound by adding a few additional briquettes on top of the area coated with lighting gel.
  • A little bit of lighting gel should be placed on top of the mound. Should place the remaining briquettes around the perimeter of the area.
  • Wait for the briquettes to turn white after lighting the gel with a long match or a long-reach lighter before proceeding further.
  • After the briquettes have reached the point where they are virtually white, use tongs to spread them out so that they are uniformly distributed, and then turn the grill back on. Time to begin cooking!

How to Light Instant Lump Wood Charcoal for your BBQ?

Instructions on how to ignite a barbecue with lump wood charcoal that is packaged in a bag

  • Lighting instant lump wood charcoal requires very little effort.
  • For the most flavorful meals in your outdoor kitchen ideas, you could find that lump wood charcoal gives you the best results. Several varieties come pre-wrapped in a paper bag; all you require is igniting the bag on fire. This is how Bar-Be-Quick recommends doing it:
  • Take the inside bag of charcoal out of the container (some packs have more than one bag depending on their size).
  • After giving the bag a few good shakes to distribute the contents evenly and ensure that they are separated, place it flat on the bottom of the grill.
  • Start a fire in each of the corners of the bag using a match or a long-reach lighter.
  • After some time, the flames will go out, and the charcoal will start to become white; this should take around 15 to 20 minutes. If this occurs, turn the cooking grill on so it is ready for use.

How to Light a Charcoal BBQ Using Newspaper?

You can get a charcoal fire going using recycled newspaper if you want to know how to ignite a barbecue and use charcoal (either lump wood or briquettes). This is the best option if you want low-cost ideas for your garden. The following is how Char-Broil recommends doing it:

  • Put a layer of newspaper folded up behind densely packed charcoal in a few different places.
  • You may use a long match or a lighter with a long reach to ignite the newspaper.
  • Continue to add newspaper to the fire, taking care to add a few pieces at a time until the charcoal is sufficiently ignited.
  • Wait for the flames to go out and the charcoal to start turning white before proceeding. After that, use tongs to spread it out into an equal layer, and then put the cooking grate back in place.
  • When using this method, be sure not to add an excessive amount of newspaper at one time. Additionally, to avoid potential dangers, you should always maintain a constant watch on the fire, just like any fire.


How to Light an Electric Bbq?

  • An electric grill is a way to go if you are looking for a solution that requires little upkeep.
  • An electric grill might be a wonderful addition if you are looking for garden ideas that need no upkeep. You won’t have to deal with coal or ash, and there won’t be any gas. You won’t even have to worry about it. The following is an explanation provided by Weber on how to fire a barbecue if you select this sort of design:
  • Connect the grill to an electrical outlet.
  • Set the controller to the “high” position.
  • Allow it to heat up for around 25 minutes with the lid on until it reaches the ideal temperature for cooking the food.

More Tips for Lighting and Using Bbqs

A barbeque with the family getting dinner ready

  • If you are looking for further tips to make your grill the highlight of your backyard party ideas, then keep reading. Try Some of These Tips from an Expert:
  • Try sprinkling some wood chips over the coals of the fire if you’re looking to spice things up a little bit in the kitchen. According to Char-Broil, doing so is an uncomplicated method to give your dishes a boost and infuse them with the tastes of wood smoke.
  • Weber recommends that you always use a barbecue thermometer to check the temperature of your food before serving it. This will guarantee that the food is cooked to your specifications and that it is ready to be served.
  • The charcoal should be moved about on a grill to achieve different temperatures, as recommended by Bar-Be-Quick. Instead of spreading the coals evenly over the barbecue grate, you may try tilting them to one side. Indirect cooking will benefit from using a cover since it will assist in keeping the temperature consistent.
  • If you want the greatest results from your barbeque, maintain it clean and free of rust. Our tutorials on cleaning a barbecue and removing rust from grills and barbecues contain helpful hints.
  • According to Char-Broil, using lighter fluid should be avoided owing to the fumes and the risk of starting a fire. Despite how tempting it may seem, When lighter fluid is used, it releases chemicals that are harmful to the environment and may alter the flavor and aroma of food. Lighter fluid is often comprised of petroleum or alcohol. However, now that you know how to ignite a barbecue, you’ll realize there are several other methods for having an enjoyable and risk-free time outside cooking food.


It is well worth your time to learn how to light a barbecue grill because doing so will reward you with delicious food that has been cooked on the grill. On a gas grill, maintaining a certain temperature is as easy as selecting the right setting on a dial. The heat is controlled via air vents on a charcoal barbecue. Do not place briquettes over the bottom air vents to prevent ventilation. Additionally, keep the grill’s top vent open at least partly. The flue’s degree of opening determines how hot your grill will cook. Cover the vents approximately halfway for mild heat.