The Charcoal Chimney

Introducing the easiest way to light charcoal


Weber 7416 Rapidfire Chimney Starter
Rated 5/5 based on 683 reviews

Weber Charcoal Chimney

The charcoal chimney is one of the best pieces of equipment I have in my kit.

The one I have is the Weber 7416 Rapidfire Chimney Starter , but there are other starter chimneys around that are cheaper and do the same job.

I have watched a couple of BBQ chefs lighting charcoal with white spirit, about half a pints worth in one case - the finished food was barely edible.

On the other hand, this gadget is an excellent way of avoiding the taste of any lighter fuel on your food.

The idea is that you have an efficient means of lighting charcoal and getting it hot enough to use without using lighter gels etc, or wasting time and energy poking and titivating hot (but not hot enough) coals.

The end result is uniformly red hot coals, ready for cooking.

"...an efficient means of lighting charcoal...without lighter gels, or wasted time..."

How to Use a Charcoal Starter Chimney

It is worth noting that although this method is labor saving, isn't time saving - although the coals look after themselves and light evenly, it takes just as long.

But the benefit is that once the paper at the bottom is lit, you don't do anything until the coals are ready - and they are perfectly, uniformly hot when they are.

Another benefit over light-able bags of charcoal is that you can use better quality charcoal, that burns longer and more consisently - giving even better cooking results.

A full load will take something like 30 minutes before it is covered in white ash and ready for cooking with. Experience will tell how long a smaller load will take to prepare.

Relax and actually socialize with your guests for a while before the real business of cooking starts.

charcoal chimney

Firstly, roll up a few of sheets of newspaper and/or some shredded cardboard, and stuff it (not too tightly) into the smaller compartment at the bottom of your chimney. Like so.

Top Tip: soak the paper in cooking oil first. There is a wicking effect and it burns more evenly!

charcoal chimney

Next, fill up the larger top compartment with charcoal.

charcoal chimney

Put the starter chimney on the grate of your grill and light the newspaper from beneath; the flame and heat is drawn vertically up the chimney thus lighting all the coals.

charcoal chimney

Wait until the charcoal at the top of the chimney is covered in a layer of white ash, as usual.

charcoal chimney

Get your barbecue gloves on and pour out the coals, as if it were a jug and spread them out how you want.

And that's it, no lighter fuel of any kind (you can but it's not necessary), and minimal energy expended. Note that the chimney will remain very hot for many minutes after emptying!

The Verdict: Are They Worth it?

Definitely. If you have a charcoal grill, hands down they are the best way to light up.

Don't waste your time with any other method.

There are several good examples out there, check out the slide show at the top of the page or search via the box below.

Where to buy your charcoal chimney

The Weber 7146 Rapidfire Chimney starter is Amazon's best selling BBQ product - which is saying something considering the amount of BBQ equipment they stock.

Visit Amazon and have a charcoal chimney delivered to your door now!

  • Weber 7416 chimney starter
  • Search for "starter chimney"

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