How To Start a Charcoal Grill Without a Chimney 

Charcoal grills can be hard to handle because of the manual labor needed in the working of this grill. If you want to start a charcoal grill without a chimney, you have to follow a different method and a certain series of steps. Many people do not use this alternative method or they don't know about it. Take a look at the article to know more. 

5 Methods

Do you have a chimney starter? No worries because we have got you even if you do not have one. We won't lie. A chimney starter and lighter fluid does make it easier to start a fire in a charcoal grill but if you find yourself in a situation where you have to light a charcoal grill and you have no chimney starter near you (maybe you forgot it at home on a camping trip) then you can go for the alternative options. There are many methods for starting the charcoal grill. Take a look at each of them. 

Lighting Charcoal With Newspaper

Lighting the charcoal grill with newspaper can be very easy. Your father or your grandfather might be used to this method since it is an ancient method. This means that you can rely on this method. The only problem is that you need to find yourself some newspaper and in today's world where we get all the news online, newspapers are scarce. Any thin paper will do if you do not have a newspaper at hand. Even the charcoal bag will work if it is made of paper. It does not necessarily have to be newspaper but any paper without the plastic coating. Yes, many papers have plastic coating on them! 

You need some twigs to place on the paper too. Some people say that the paper will work just fine and you do not really need the twigs but if you can find them then the addition is not going to hurt you. You just have to find some dry twigs and place them on the paper. The paper will burn fast but the twigs can burn for a longer period of time. First you need the scrunch the newspaper into balls. The number of balls you need depends on the size of the grill. You can generally get away with 4 of them if you are on a medium grill. It all depends on you. Place the twigs in a pyramid shape around the grill. 

Now you need to stack the charcoal around the base of the structure. Now place them in a pyramid formation too against the twigs. Leave a little gap at the top from where you can light the newspaper. You can then light each of the newspapers. Once you find the newspaper to be alight, the twigs will catch fire and this will spread to the charcoal. 

Lighting Charcoal With An Egg Carton

Lighting a charcoal with an egg carton works very well too. You can expect the egg carton to work as a fire starter. You are going to need a few cardboard egg cartons for this method. Open the egg carton and fill it with charcoal in place of the eggs. Now close the lid and place the box in the grill. Now you can also stack some charcoal around and on top of the carton. Now you need to light the four corners of the egg carton. The carton will burn. The charcoal inside the carton and around it is going to be lighted. You can extend the burning time of the carton by adding some grease to it. 

Lighting Charcoal With Fire Lighter Cubes 

Fire lighter cubes are a good invention. It is a good way to light the charcoal grill without the need of any chimney starter or lighter fluid. They do not make any fuss and you can use them pretty easily. They are easily available in a set of 24. They are generally made from paraffin wax and they can burn for a long time. The charcoal can get lit in that amount of time. Now you only need three or four of the cubes. Make sure that you store them in a tight container because they can evaporator if left in the air for too long. 

Now you need to place the cubes under the grill and stack the charcoal around it. You need to leave some space so that you can easily light them. Then you can leave them to burn. They will burn for about 5 minutes which is enough time for the surrounding charcoal to catch fire. They will spread the flame to the other charcoal. 

Light A Charcoal Fire With Vegetable Oil

 This alternative method of lighting a charcoal grill without the use of chimney starter is not used by many people. It needs some vegetable oil and some kitchen paper towel. The paper towel is going to hold the oil properly and allow the lighting to be smooth. Take the towel and make some balls. Douse the balls in vegetable oil and then place it on the grill and surrounding it. You have to drizzle some oil over the charcoal nearest to the balls too. Then light the balls on fire. The flames will spread to the charcoal in a matter of minutes. 

Using Alcohol To Light Charcoal

You can use alcohol to light a charcoal grill too. It is easy to do so. You just need some paper towels or any other absorbent material. Cotton balls will also do the trick. The alcohol that you are using should be high-proof alcohol. Any other kind of alcohol will make it difficult to light the charcoal around it. You can go for whisky since it has a high alcohol content. However, many people are reluctant to use good whisky. You can also go for vodka. It should work fine with vodka. We understand that you don't want to waste good alcohol. This is the last option we have included in the list for a reason. This is like the last resort. 

In case you really don't want to use good drinking alcohol for the purpose, you can use rubbing alcohol. The success rate is going to be low because rubbing alcohol evaporates very easily and you need to hurry to light it up. Scrunch up the paper into balls and douse them in the alcohol of your choosing. It is always better to have the charcoal stacked and then you can push the paper balls in between them. 

You have to be very careful while lighting the paper because alcohol is very flammable. Stand back and use a long lighter to do the job. You can also use match but instead of lighting it normally, we recommend you toss it at the paper balls. It should light easily and light the charcoal around it. 


Thank you so much for giving this article here a read. We so hope that you have been able to light your charcoal grill without the chimney starter. It is indeed convenient to have the chimney starter but we have other options that can get the job done just fine. Make sure that you are safe when you are dealing with fire. Thank you once again for reading to the very end. Have a good day and take care of yourself. Happy grilling!