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Old 05-08-2006, 10:38 PM   #1
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Which type of charcoal?

Charcoal with lighter fluid or match light? I only ask because we tried both with different results.

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Old 05-08-2006, 10:53 PM   #2
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Buy regular charcoal and get a chimney starter instead of lighter fluid. In 10 minutes, the chimney will start up a load of charcoal with just a couple of sheets of newspaper and a match.
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Old 05-09-2006, 10:48 AM   #3
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I love match-light. I always buy those little-bitty 2lb bags, kinda "bend" the bag in the middle (like an "A") so the bricquettes are in the top and bottom and then just lay the bag (unopened) in the grill and light the bag. Voila!

No muss no fuss. :)

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Old 05-09-2006, 10:59 AM   #4
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chimney

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M.
Buy regular charcoal and get a chimney starter instead of lighter fluid. In 10 minutes, the chimney will start up a load of charcoal with just a couple of sheets of newspaper and a match.
definately chimney over lighter fluid. as far as the charcoal we use
the hard lump natural type, it seems to burn hotter.

happy grilling
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Old 05-09-2006, 02:24 PM   #5
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The lump charcoal will burn hotter but the briquettes will last longer.
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Old 05-09-2006, 02:51 PM   #6
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Get a chimney. Why do you want to eat food that tastes like lighter fluid? Chimneys are inexpensive and simple to use.
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Old 05-09-2006, 04:01 PM   #7
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Kingsford family here with lighter fluid...
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Old 05-10-2006, 08:05 AM   #8
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Forget the lighter fluid. Get a chimney and use that. I actually use two. I also use a mix of briquettes and lump hardwood. The lump if for heat, and the briquettes are for staying power.
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Old 05-10-2006, 10:07 AM   #9
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As long as it starts, I don't frankly give a . . . . . . . . you know. :D

Kingsford for me, for sure. I sound like the commercial, but having tried the others, including the "generic" brands, t'aint nothing like the King.
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Old 05-10-2006, 12:37 PM   #10
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I think the choice of charcoal depends on your use. I never had any luck with matchlight, and felt it retained a petrol aroma which was passed on to the meat.

I prefer real charcoal made from wood that you can get at Trader Joe's or at a roofing supplier [it's used by the guys that solder copper gutters together] for foods that cook quickly, like steaks and hamburgers. It's also great, no matter what you cooking, if you're at a windy place such as the beach. Given care, you can control the heat of the natural wood charcoal and slow cook with it.

However, for slower cooking foods such as roasts, chicken, and pork, I definetely prefer Kingsford charcoal, and as Big Dog says, there isn't much better than Kingsford, the rest can't compare. Kingsford charcoal is also best for cooking on a dutch oven.


I don't use a chiminey, and just use a little lighter fluid. You don't really need that much, as the charcoal wants to burn. If you add too much, then you have to wait longer to cook, to make sure the fluid has time to burn off.
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Old 05-11-2006, 08:27 AM   #11
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Thanks for everyone's replies. I forgot I started this thread. I've never heard of a chimney starter. I'll look around for it.
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Old 05-11-2006, 08:32 AM   #12
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This is what they look like and they are the choice of professionals. You will never catch a real pro using lighter fluid. 99% of them will use a chimny. They are so easy to use too. If you can light a piece of newspaper on fire then you can use a chimney.
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Old 05-11-2006, 03:54 PM   #13
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amber you can also make a homemade chimney out of a 3-lb coffe can. But the real ones are so inexpensive it's less trouble to just go get one.
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Old 05-11-2006, 06:50 PM   #14
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I dont see the advantage of a chimney starter. You pile up the coals vertically to conduct heat, you vent at bottom and top ( I do this too with regular charcoal). What type of charcoal is used in the chimney starter? Thanks GB for the pic that helped alot to visualize! Matts, charcoal made from wood? How does it ignite when you light the fire? I dont understand charcoal made from wood actually.
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Old 05-11-2006, 07:55 PM   #15
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Another vote for a chimney. The smell of petroleum hydrocarbon is not particularily appetizing to me. Another vote for Kingsford in terms of all-purpose use but my favorite choice is mesquite lump charcoal.
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Old 05-11-2006, 09:14 PM   #16
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You can use either briquettes or lump charcoal in a chimney starter. Once the newspaper gets the coals burning, you dump them into the grill and proceed as always.

The fire from the bottom of the chimney creates a strong draft that gets the closely packed charcoal burning in about 10 minutes,
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Old 05-11-2006, 09:52 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amber
Matts, charcoal made from wood?
Most charcoal is made from wood. The cheaper ones use bituminous coal, but the better brands use wood charcoal mixed with coal.

The wood charcoal I was elluding to is made of pure wood. It's the original charcoal [my father told me during WWII that he say the ladies in Italy making this fuel by piling wood up, lighting it on fire, and covering it up to smolder like a teepee with a whole at the top] , and is made by slowly baking wood down until is becomes the lightweight black pieces that you find in your fireplace or campfire. I can't remember the name of the retail brand of this charcoal, but it looks to me that they make it from scrap cuts of lumber.

This natural charcoal is very light and if you are in the US and have a Trader Joe's store near you they have it, or you can go to the US national roofing supplier The Roof Center to get it -- they're all over the place.

It burns hotter and faster then Kingsford, but it is controlable, and you may need to add more charcoal for long cooking [more than an hour]. But it lights fast, is great at the beach, and is light in weight. We keep a bag of each around and use whichever one fits the need, quick fast fire, or slow reliable heat.
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Old 06-21-2006, 12:24 PM   #18
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Here in Chicago I can Buy El Gallito (the rooster?) Brand Mesquite (lump) at the Mexican Market. I love it and I use lighter fluid if I am void of paper I can use. Every now and again I will pick up the Kingsford Mesquite but find it to have less of the smoky flavor.

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Old 06-21-2006, 01:00 PM   #19
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chunk charcoal with a chimney in my Weber...does me right for grilling and hot smokin' ... and my barrel barbeque for low and slow. Yes you need both! Aren't we all obsessive cooks?? lol
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Old 06-21-2006, 04:10 PM   #20
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Kingsford in the ECB smoker, stacked in the "Minion Method",
Lump carcoal for direct grilling. Always started with either a chimney or a propain torch.
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