Chimney Starter


The chimney starter (also called as charcoal chimney) is a device that is used to light charcoal for charcoal grills used in barbecue. It is usually made of steel and is cylindrical in shape. It is approximately 8 inches in diameter and 12 to 18 inches tall. This allows ample space for charcoal briquettes to be placed. The chimney starter has holes drilled horizontally on the bottom as well as vents above them to facilitate air flow. It comes with an insulated handle that is used to pour the hot charcoal briquettes into the grill.



History of Chimney Starter

The basic device was invented in the early 1960s by Hugh King, Garner Byars, and Lavaughn Johnson in Mississippi in United States.



How to Use a Chimney Starter

  • Two or three sheets of newspapers are rolled up into a doughnut.
  • This is stuffed into the bottom of the chimney starter.
  • Charcoal briquettes are poured into it, with a little room at the top.
  • The newspaper, which is now underneath the charcoal, is lit. This is done by using a long matchstick through the bottom side holes of the chimney starter.
  • This is done in multiple places through the side vents until all the paper is lit.
  • The chimney starter starts to smoke, and the charcoals start to get heated up.
  • In a few minutes, charcoals start to glow red hot.
  • When the charcoal is ready, the chimney starter is lifted using the handle, and the hot charcoal briquettes are poured into the grill.



Benefits of Chimney Starter

  • The chimney starter eliminates the use of lighter fluid or charcoals infused with lighter fluid.
  • The food cooked with the chimney starter does not have the unpleasant flavor that comes from using the lighter fluid.
  • Coals are in perfect condition to be used for barbecue.
  • All the charcoal briquettes are lit completely.
  • It is easy to use.
  • It is safe for the environment as it eliminates the need for chemicals.
  • It is least expensive.
  • It lasts for many years, without needing a replacement.



Types of Chimney Starter

Apart from the traditional chimney starters which need to be lighted manually, these devices also come with gas burners, which eliminate the need for a lighter or newspapers.




The chimney starter does not require any maintenance and can last for several years.




Spraying the newspapers with a spray of non-stick cooking spray will make the papers burn longer.