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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.


  • : Always use common sense and precaution when working with fires.
  • 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.
  • TIP: Wear shoes when working with flaming charcoal. They don’t call it 'hot foot' for nothing!
  • 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.
  • TIP: For extra burn protection, use fire-safe gloves when arranging coals.
  • 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!
  • FACT: The 'inventor' of charcoal briquettes was one Ellsworth B.A. Zwoyer, a Philadelphia man who patented a design for them in 1897.

You Will Need

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

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