How to light the coals and work with charcoal safely.

Many people are intimidated by charcoal. But it’s actually very simple to light and cook with. For more tips on lighting the charcoal, you can learn from the experts at

For great-tasting barbecue, the makers of KC Masterpiece® Barbecue Sauces, Marinades and Seasonings recommend grilling with Kingsford® charcoal briquets.

There are 3 basic ways to light the coals. One is with a chimney starter. The second is with lighter fluid. The third is simply with a match using Kingsford® Match Light® Charcoal.

  • To light coals with a chimney starter, pour unlit coals into a chimney, then crumple a sheet or two of newspaper on the bottom chamber of the chimney. Light the paper and add more as necessary to light the edges of the coals. Pour out the hot coals and start cooking when you can see flames on the top layer of coals, which takes about 15 minutes.
  • To light coals with lighter fluid, arrange the coals into a neat pile, then apply fluid according to the directions on the package. Light the coals and let the flames burn down. Coals are ready when covered with gray ash, which takes about 15 minutes.
  • To light coals with Kingsford® Match Light® Charcoal, arrange the coals into a neat pile, then light the pile in several places with a match. No additional lighter fluid is required. Let the flames burn down and start cooking when the coals are covered with gray ash. The process takes about 10 minutes.
  • Never add lighter fluid directly to hot coals to get a sluggish fire going again. Never use gasoline or kerosene to light a charcoal fire. Both can cause an explosion.
  • Never use aerosol spray oils over hot coals.
  • Remember, coals get hot—up to 1,000°F. Use insulated, flame-retardant mitts when cooking or handling any part of the grill. Also, use long-handled barbecue tongs and utensils for safe handling of food and coals.