How To Light A Charcoal Grill With A Tin Can

Learning to light a charcoal grill isn't something that is normally part of public school education for children, whether you think that's just or not. Thus, it falls on many people to figure it out for themselves when they want to fire up a grill that uses charcoal as a heat source. Unfortunately, that can often be a process of trial and error that includes several mistakes everyone makes with a charcoal grill.

To address those issues, Kingsford breaks down a simple process for lighting charcoal to grill with it, keying on the use of lighter fluid. Firegurus espouses the use of a chimney starter, which is essentially just a steel cylinder that acts as a kind of miniature fireplace. But what if you don't have either a chimney starter or lighter fluid? As long as you have a lighter of some kind or matches, you can get your coals burning using just a standard tin can.

Tin for the win

Don't toss that can your baked beans came from just yet. If you find yourself ready to try out one of the best charcoal grills of 2022 but don't have lighter fluid, that can might save you from having to return to the store. Essentially, this trick converts any tin can into a miniature chimney starter.

Serious Eats breaks down this trick you might need if the person responsible for bringing the lighter fluid dropped the ball. After removing both the can's bottom and top, punch a few holes near one end and set it on top of the grate of your grill with the opposite end on top. Then, put in some kindling like newspaper and a few pieces of charcoal. Light it up and watch as the magic happens. After those coals start burning, you can grab the can with a pair of gloves or a set of tongs, dump the coals out, and layer the rest of your charcoal on top. In short order, the chimney will be aflame.

Epicurious explains that this method is effective because it allows air to flow freely around the briquets and confines the hot coals in a tight space. Of course, it's uncertain just how often you'll be in a situation when you have a device or object able to slice through tin and newspaper but no lighter fluid, but should you find yourself there, you indeed have all you need to get your coals blazing.