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How To Light A Portable Charcoal BBQ

Ready for your next Camping BBQ?

The great outdoors is calling, and you're ready to answer.

 But how do you cook a meal while camping, hiking, or fishing?

 Well, you can use your portable charcoal BBQ!

 But wait, how do you actually light it up?

 In this article, we'll show you how to light a charcoal grill so that it's ready for cooking.

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Getting Your BBQ Ready

Safety First

It is always important that before lighting up a charcoal barbecue, the location you are in is fire-resistant.

Ensure that the area is safe with no trees above you and no combustible materials close to the barbecue.

Remember that a charcoal barbecue can get to very high temperatures, making it a safety hazard to you and others if carelessly handled.

 Always check if your area has fire bans in place before lighting up the barbecue.

Getting Your BBQ Ready

Cleaning Your BBQ

It's important that before lighting any charcoal barbecue, you clean out any ash or grease that has been left behind from previous cooking.

To do so, wipe down the charcoal and cooking grate with fresh cooking oil.

Getting Your BBQ Ready

Open The Vents

Make sure you open the vents on the bottom of the grill for it to let in more air to fuel the flames.

Getting Your BBQ Ready

Pick Your Charcoal

When selecting what charcoal to use, you need to consider the quality of the charcoal and the flavour it infuses into the food as this will affect the overall taste of the food.

You can determine this through the clearness of the smoke when you cook over the coals.

Selecting a quality product like the Everdure 100% Natural Lump Charcoal will greatly enhance the existing flavours of your food.

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Fire Up the BBQ

The Lighter Fluid Technique

Pack charcoal briquettes close together in a pyramid shape at the bottom of your charcoal grill.

Make sure there is enough space for air to flow between them—this will help the charcoal burn evenly and slowly.

Coat each charcoal briquette with an even layer, about 1/4 cup of lighter fluid per pound of charcoal - though you might need more lighter fluid depending on the type of charcoal.

Allow the lighter fluid to soak for 30 seconds for the fire to catch easily.

Light the lighter fluid with a long match or BBQ lighter.

Be patient and allow the charcoal briquettes to burn until there's no smoke and they turn white on half of their surface - usually takes about 15 minutes.

This allows for a more even cooking while also eliminating any undesirable smell from the lighter fluid - giving a more clean charcoal smoky flavor that we all love.

You can rearrange the charcoal briquettes to adjust the heat distribution and temperature as required. (Always use tongs or flame-resistant gloves to handle the briquettes as they can get quite hot - please take care not to burn yourself.)

We recommend putting the charcoals on one side of the charcoal grate and allowing the other side of the cooking grill to be the place where you can take the meat off the heat.

Fire Up the BBQ

The Newspaper Technique

Great for those that don't like lighter fluid affecting the taste of their BBQ, or if you don't have access to one.

For this technique, in place of lighter fluid, you'll need some newspaper and some twigs.

First, crumple a couple of newspaper sheets up into balls (don't compress too hard) and place them at the base of the cooking grill.

- Next, snap some dry twigs and place them over and around the wad of newspaper balls.

Place your briquettes over and around the newspaper, making sure that it's packed while still allowing air to flow between them.

Light the newspaper with a BBQ lighter or a long match.Be patient and allow the briquettes to burn with the newspaper.

All the newspaper has been burned up and you can see fire going on in the middle, rearrange the unlit charcoal briquettes to the middle to get it going as well. Now is also a good time to add some more coal to the appropriate amount you require.(Always use tongs or flame-resistant gloves to handle the briquettes as they can get quite hot - please take care not to burn yourself.)

It generally takes about up to 20 minutes for the charcoal to turn white on half its surface and have a good cook fire going. Then, you can start cooking some steak!

Fire Up The BBQ

The Charcoal Chimney Starter

When using a charcoal chimney starter, fill the chimney with an appropriate amount of charcoal.

How much you fill depends on the temperature you would like the coals to reach.

Coals filled up to a quarter of the chimney brings the temperature up to 107°C, great for low and slow smoking.

Half of the chimney filled with coal briquettes would bring the temperature up to 148°C, and a chimney full of coal will have a temperature up to 176°C - perfect for searing meats, steaks, fish, you name it!

After you fill the chimney to the desired height, roll and crumple a bunch of newspapers underneath the chimney.

Proceed to light the newspapers underneath in several spots. As the newspaper burns in the chamber below, the flames light the edges of the charcoal above.

Peek through the vents of the chimney to check if the coals have started and the edges of the coals have turned grey.

If all the newspapers have burned out and the coals have not started, place and burn more newspapers. You can also drizzle the newspaper with cooking oil before lighting so it burns longer.

After about 10 minutes, you will see the coals starting to glow through the vents and flames starting to flicker over the top layer of coals. Pour them out into a pile on the charcoal grates of your charcoal portable BBQ and wait until the coals are half covered in ash and grey in colour. Then spread the coals out.

The entire process takes approximately 15 minutes. Finally, it's time to start grilling some steak!

Fire Up The BBQ

The Tucker Charcoal Chimney Starter

Tucker Barbecues has designed a charcoal chimney that can sit on top of a wok burner on the side of your barbecue.

 You can then use the jet lighter of the wok burner to vastly speed up the lighting of the coals without requiring you to burn lighter fluid or newspaper.

 All you have to do is to fill the Tucker Charcoal Chimney with coal up to the desired height (the more you fill it up, the hotter it will get) and place it over the Tucker Wok Burner and turn it on.

 Click HERE to purchase one of your own.