How To: Build the perfect barbeque fire

Build the perfect barbeque fire

Learn how to build the perfect barbeque fire.

Build the perfect blazing barbeque fire and experience a feeling of primal backyard pride long before the rib-eyes are done.


You Will Need

* Newspaper
* Chimney canister
* Hardwood lump charcoal
* Outdoor charcoal grill
* Long wooden matches
* Fire tongs
* Fire-safe gloves
* A sheet pan


Step 1. Stuff newspaper

Crush two sheets of newspaper into balls and stuff into the bottom cage of the chimney canister.

Step 2. Fill the canister

Fill the chimney canister with lump charcoal.

Step 3. Light the canister

Remove the top grate of your barbeque and rest the chimney canister on the bottom grate. Strike a match and ignite the newspaper through the holes in the bottom of the canister. Note that you don't need lighter fluid—just regular newspaper and charcoal will do the trick.

Step 4. Leave the canister

Leave the chimney canister on the bottom grate for about 20 minutes. The charcoal will smolder, flame, and then begin to glow red.

Step 5. Dump the coals

Once all the charcoal in the chimney is glowing red, turn the canister over and dump the hot coals into the bottom grate of the barbeque.

Step 6. Arrange the coals

Use fire tongs to spread the coals, creating one higher, hotter side with more coals and a medium-hot side with fewer coals.

Step 7. Replace the grate

Replace the top grate so the cooking grill begins to heat.

Step 8. Get grilling

If you are cooking a lot of food, or your recipe calls for a long hot cooking time, light another canister of charcoal—so those coals will be ready when the grill starts to cool down—and place it on a sheet pan. Now get to grilling!


Warning: Always use common sense and precaution when working with fires.

Fact: The "inventor" of charcoal briquettes was one Ellsworth B.A. Zwoyer, a Philadelphia man who patented a design for them in 1897.

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