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Lighting the coals: why shouldn't I do this?

tiger1964

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I guess after almost 8 years, it might be late to change habits, but I thought I'd toss this out there.

This is my first non-gas grilling/smoking device ever, and having seen someone else use a charcoal chimney sold me on "going charcoal". Seen the various depictions on TV, OK i use a little start blocks and lump charcoal (for now). Well, to really get the coals going, I did it a little differently. Instead of setting the chimney aside and waiting until fully lit, I stick the chimney inside the Saffire grill, shut the lid and open both vents fully. I get a serious pillar of smoke billowing out the top, and perhaps 20 minutes later ready to dump into the grill. I figure I might be enhancing the natural Venturi effect of the chimney... or perhaps not. Any reason I shouldn't? I have not seen anyone else use this method. My only problem so far is that once I left it too long, and some of the plastic grip on the chimney handle melted a bit. Oops. Plus, I figure it's safer in there, I won't accidentally kick it over, or a rogue gust on wind knock it on its side.
 

tropics

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Leave the lid open nothing will melt. I use starter cubes or blocks the same way in my kettle
Richie
 

Bearcarver

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While we're on this subject, I feel I should mention this (below) to those who have never heard this before:

You should not set your Charcoal Chimney Starter on Concrete to light it.
The High Heat has been known to cause the Concrete to Explode!!

Bear
 

tropics

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While we're on this subject, I feel I should mention this (below) to those who have never heard this before:

You should not set your Charcoal Chimney Starter on Concrete to light it.
The High Heat has been known to cause the Concrete to Explode!!

Bear
That is why I lite it in the grill on the charcoal grate.
John I am sure that will help someone.
Richie
 

golfpro2301

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I have done this with lid open. I was tired of messing with chimney and started filling basket and using weed burner to light coals. Depending on grilling/smoking I would adjust how long kept torch on coals
 

jcam222

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I use a chimney to light my smokers but for my egg I’ve switched to an electric loop. So darn easy. Position in egg, pile a pyramid of your coal on top, plug it in and 15 minutes later you are cooking. I think if got it on Amazon for like $15.
C131572C-6981-4185-A7E9-10070C248FF5.jpeg
 

chopsaw

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Do like advised with the lid open . Dump when the bottom of the chimney is lit . The top will get going from the already lit bottom coals . That way you don't use up half the charcoal while it's still in the chimney .

known to cause the Concrete to Explode!!
Boils the moisture and pops the top layer off . Explode is the right term .
 

tiger1964

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So, so far, recommendations on leaving the lid open, but no reason why I cannot have it closed. That's fine. Might eventually try the electric ignitor, even though a big box of starter squares is dirt cheap.

And OK, won't set the chimney on concrete. Indeed, a friend called two years ago about his grilling experience. After dumping the coals into the grill, set the "empty" chimney in the unattached garage for storage. Garage burned down, taking the wife's car with it and stored items like X-decorations, fine china, you name it.

I just figured that with the lid closed and vents open, some % of the heat generated by the coals in the chimney would contribute to "preheating" the grill; usually the thermometer on the grille bears that out.
 

jcam222

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So, so far, recommendations on leaving the lid open, but no reason why I cannot have it closed. That's fine. Might eventually try the electric ignitor, even though a big box of starter squares is dirt cheap.

And OK, won't set the chimney on concrete. Indeed, a friend called two years ago about his grilling experience. After dumping the coals into the grill, set the "empty" chimney in the unattached garage for storage. Garage burned down, taking the wife's car with it and stored items like X-decorations, fine china, you name it.

I just figured that with the lid closed and vents open, some % of the heat generated by the coals in the chimney would contribute to "preheating" the grill; usually the thermometer on the grille bears that out.
You know another terrible place to put your chimney down? Your foot in a flip flop haha. I dropped one on mine last year and it tattooed me. Couldn’t wear a shoe for a week.
 

drunkenmeatfist

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So, so far, recommendations on leaving the lid open, but no reason why I cannot have it closed. That's fine. Might eventually try the electric ignitor, even though a big box of starter squares is dirt cheap.

And OK, won't set the chimney on concrete. Indeed, a friend called two years ago about his grilling experience. After dumping the coals into the grill, set the "empty" chimney in the unattached garage for storage. Garage burned down, taking the wife's car with it and stored items like X-decorations, fine china, you name it.

I just figured that with the lid closed and vents open, some % of the heat generated by the coals in the chimney would contribute to "preheating" the grill; usually the thermometer on the grille bears that out.
You have already listed one great reason not to have the lid down, you started melting your chimney. If the handle is melting then you are doing something wrong. I have seen posts where people didn't give their chimney enough room in an open kettle, forgot about the chimney for a bit, and melted the handle off.

I use a Vortex in my Vision kamado for wings. When I dump a fully lit chimney into the grill it will be up to temp in about 15 minutes.
 

chopsaw

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I had a bad habit of dumping the coals , then setting the empty chimney out of the way . Out of the way was at the corner of the chimney chase for my fireplace . Melted the corner trim for the vinyl siding .
 

fliptetlow

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I use cotton balls soaked in cheap rubbing alcohol in an old pickle jar. Just toss 3-4 in the ash compartment and light them, leave the top open and in 15 min you have a nice fire going.
 

mneeley490

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That's one of the reasons I like my Weber Performer. It has a gas assist to light the coals on the burner grate.
 

JWFokker

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I don't bother with the chimney anymore. I just clear a small hole in the charcoal down to the grate, stuff a lightly oiled paper towel down in the hole and light it. Wood chips around it helps get it going faster. When the fire looks big enough I put the deflector and grates in and close it up.
 

bill1

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You should not set your Charcoal Chimney Starter on Concrete to light it. The High Heat has been known to cause the Concrete to Explode...
I tried lighting one on a brick before and it made a pretty loud pop when it cracked. Other than that, I lucked out. Great advice Bear
 

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