Using cardboard to start charcoal?

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BAPyessir6

Senior Cook
Joined
May 15, 2020
Messages
157
Location
Prior Lake
My dad always used newspaper in his chimney starter, but I have no newspaper but a TON of Amazon/shipping boxes. If I cut up the boxes finely (not using maybe any tape or stickering on the box I figure), could I use that to light my coals?
 
I would hesitate. There is glue between the layers of corrugated cardboard.

I get my newspaper from a neighbor who has an endless supply.
 
My dad always used newspaper in his chimney starter, but I have no newspaper but a TON of Amazon/shipping boxes. If I cut up the boxes finely (not using maybe any tape or stickering on the box I figure), could I use that to light my coals?

Yes, you can use cardboard. I would remove the plastic and glue tape, but the cardboard will be okay. The very act of cooking over charcoal is asking for cancer, according to people on the internet. Using Amazon boxes to start the fire is not going to raise that risk. It can't be any worse than using petroleum lighter fluid to start your charcoal, like millions of people do.

I use Weber starter cubes under my charcoal chimney, mainly because we have burn bans in Texas, and using newspaper sends burning embers into the air. During one of our many droughts, that can set somebody's yard on fire. I really don't want to apologize to my next-door neighbor for setting his yard on fire.

Those starter cubes are made of paraffin wax. Completely safe. You can actually make your own, but The Weber cubes are cheap, and I don't want to be bothered with making them myself.

CD
 
My dad always used newspaper in his chimney starter, but I have no newspaper but a TON of Amazon/shipping boxes. If I cut up the boxes finely (not using maybe any tape or stickering on the box I figure), could I use that to light my coals?
Yes, you can use finely chopped charcoal. Make sure the coals are well lit before adding more coals or food
 
the plastic tapes and their adhesives could be problematic . . .
not the glue itself.

but the real problem is corrugated liner (the brown stuff...) does not light and burn as readily as "paper"

paper towels? that'll work, perhaps too fast.... soaked in cooking oil . . . no clue, never heard of or tried same . . .

pick up the sales flyer at the supermarket.
push-to-shove . . . buy a local fish wrapper.
it's enough "newsprint paper" to do 10-20 chimney lights.
we get enough junk mail to light 30-40 charcoal chimney stacks per day . . . . mebbe per hour . . .

once upon a time the world went insane over burning glossy papers with color ink.
those vibrant inks could/may be made using (heavy) metals.
the EPA put a big kabosh on that in the 1970's - such ""dangerous"" inks are no longer used in publications/ads/flyers. feel free to burn all the colored stuff you want - not a danger.
 
Sunday morning go out to the store and buy the biggest newspaper available and you'll have enough paper to last a season.

Oh, you can also read the news before to burn it.
 
These things cost about 7-ish dollars for a pack of 24, and one is enough to light a chimney full of charcoal. You just put one under the charcoal chimney, as you would a big wad of paper. Safe, easy and cheap.

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CD
 
I don't have a chimney for starting charcoal. But, I do use some fire starter blocks made of sawdust and other natural stuff. They smell like the left some of the sap in the wood before turning it into sawdust. They smell pretty darned nice and work quite well.

When I was Girl Scout, back the 1950s and 60s, we used empty, waxed, milk cartons to start campfires and any used wax paper we happened to have.
 
You can use almost anything IF you let it burn long enough to get rid of any "off-flavour"
I use olive oil that started to go off (rancid) on small pieces of wood and used kitchen paper and indeed cardboard. Whatever I got around.
I find charcoal starters work pretty good, but mine rusted out
 
My dad always used newspaper in his chimney starter, but I have no newspaper but a TON of Amazon/shipping boxes. If I cut up the boxes finely (not using maybe any tape or stickering on the box I figure), could I use that to light my coals?
I like to use pine needles and/or cones that I gather when walking the dogs
 
Hi BAP,

I see Prior lake on your profile, is that Prior lake Mn?

Go for a walk in the woods and gather all the free Birch bark you want, off dead/downed birch trees. Birch bark burns hot and fast so I would also use the Veg oil as the bark acts as wick and won't burn until oil is gone.
 

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