How to Keep a Charcoal Grill Lit

Grilling is a summertime tradition that brings friends and family together. But, to get the most out of your grilling experience, you have to know how to keep your charcoal grill lit. This can be a tricky process, especially for those who are new to grilling with charcoal.

How to Keep a Charcoal Grill Lit

Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered! Let’s break down the steps you need to take to ensure your charcoal grill stays lit all night long. So keep reading to learn more about how to keep a charcoal grill lit.

Can You Keep a Charcoal Grill Lit?

Whether you’re planning a backyard BBQ with friends or just want to make something special for dinner, lighting a charcoal grill can be the best way to get that perfect flame-kissed flavor. But keeping your charcoal lit can be tricky – especially without lighter fluid!

The good news is that keeping the heat going in your charcoal grill is easy as long as you master some basics, like airflow and proper fuel placement. Once your fire goes, limiting the oxygen that feeds into it is important.

This can easily be done by closing any openings or vents on your grill and applying a layer of aluminum foil over the top to keep ashes and air from getting in.

After you’ve achieved the desired hot coals, carefully spread them around the cooking surface for even heat distribution—and you’ll have enough heat for plenty of grilling sessions ahead.

Why Should You Keep a Charcoal Grill Lit?

One of the best ways to enjoy your outdoor dining experience is to keep a charcoal grill lit. While charcoal grilling takes more time than gas grilling and comes with an added smoke factor, the flavorful end result is well worth the wait.

Charcoal grilling provides that smoky and robust flavor typical of outdoor summer barbecues and also imparts a unique charm that can’t be achieved with indoor cooking methods like baking or pan searing.

Furthermore, with a little practice and a few tips from experienced charcoal grillers, you can even learn to manipulate the temperature of your grill for consistent results every time.

Manipulate the Temperature of Your Grill

A well-stocked charcoal grill will give you those delectable grilled flavors without leaving you frustrated by failed attempts at cooking, making it perfect for tasty backyard cookouts!

7 Steps to Follow on How to Keep a Charcoal Grill Lit

Step 1: Start by Gathering All of The Materials You Will Need

The first step is to ensure you have all the necessary supplies before starting. You will need charcoal (preferably lump charcoal), a chimney starter, lighter fluid (optional), newspaper or kindling, matches or a lighter, and an oven mitt.

It is important that you use an oven mitt when handling hot coals, as they can cause serious burns if handled without protection.

Step 2: Prepare Your Grill Grate

Once you have gathered all of the supplies, it is time to prepare the grill for lighting. Begin by removing the cooking grate and any ash from previous grilling sessions. Then use a stiff brush to remove any caked-on debris from the cooking surface of the grate before replacing it on top of the coals.

Step 3: Light Your Coals

Now it’s time to light up those coals! Start by filling your chimney starter with charcoal and then crumple newspaper or kindling into the bottom of the chimney starter before placing it on top of the grate. If desired, add some lighter fluid over the top of your charcoal before lighting it with a match or lighter.

As soon as you see flames emerging from beneath your chimney starter, leave it alone and let them die down until they turn into glowing embers (this usually takes about 15 minutes).

After this happens, carefully pour those glowing embers over top of your other unburned coals on the grate and spread them around evenly using an oven mitt or heat-resistant gloves so that they burn evenly throughout your cookout session!

Step 4: Maintain Airflow

To keep your fire going strong throughout your entire cookout session, make sure that there is enough airflow going through both sides of your grill at all times—this means making sure that both vents are open and not blocked off in any way (this will help regulate the temperature within the grill).

Vents Are Open and Not Blocked

Additionally, make sure not to close off either vent completely, as this can cause oxygen deprivation which could put out even well-lit fires!

Step 5: Add More Coals as Needed

If your fire is starting to die before your cookout session ends, add a few more coals and spread them around evenly with an oven mitt or heat-resistant gloves. This will help give the fire a much-needed energy boost so it can continue throughout the entire cookout session!

Step 6: Make Sure You Have Some Water Handy

It’s always a good idea to have some water handy when grilling—this way, if your fire gets out of hand and starts to spread, you can quickly put it out by dousing it with water.

Step 7: Enjoy Your Grilled Culinary Masterpiece!

Once your coals are lit and burning strongly, you can begin grilling up all sorts of delicious food! Remember to be safe while cooking over an open flame and enjoy the mouthwatering results of your hard work.

That’s it! You’ve now learned how to keep a charcoal grill lit. With the right supplies, some know-how, and a bit of patience, anyone can become an expert griller in no time! So get out there and show off your newfound skills!

Things You Need to Know Before Keeping a Charcoal Grill Lit

Keeping a charcoal grill lit can be quite difficult, so make sure you know exactly what to do before trying it. First and foremost, it’s important to keep safety in mind and ensure that the charcoal grill area is clear of any combustibles.

Secondly, ensure that you have a good supply of charcoal, such as briquettes or lump coal (though briquettes will typically produce an even heat). Thirdly, familiarize yourself with the proper ways to light your charcoal, as there are several options out there.

Have a Good Supply of Charcoal

Finally, when your coals are burning hot enough for grilling, don’t be afraid to close the lid for even searing—this will help retain much-needed heat. After mastering all these grilling tips and tricks, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a master griller in no time!

Benefits of Keeping a Charcoal Grill Lit

Keeping a charcoal grill lit is a great way to enjoy enjoyable meals year-round. Charcoal grills are the preferred choice of outdoor cooks because they provide that unique flavor that can only be achieved with charcoal. They also produce no smoke, allowing your food to cook evenly without worrying about flare-ups.

In addition, it is easy to control the heat of charcoal grills – a great benefit for those who want to acquire specific flavors in their food creations! With charcoal grills, you can infuse marinades and sauces into your grilled deliciousness for an extra explosion of flavor.

Plus, charcoal grills’ temperature range makes them perfect for baking and smoking various recipes, from holiday treats to seafood specialties. When it comes to cooking outdoors, there’s nothing like keeping a charcoal grill lit!

4 Common Mistakes People Make When Trying to Keeping a Charcoal Grill Lit

1. Not Using Enough Charcoal

One of the most common mistakes people make when trying to keep a charcoal grill lit is not using enough charcoal. It is important to use enough charcoal so that there is a layer of coals that is at least an inch thick. If there are not enough coals, the fire will not be hot enough and will go out.

2. Not Letting the Charcoal Fully Light

Another mistake people make is not letting the charcoal fully light before adding food to the grill. Let the charcoal fully light to reach its optimal temperature is important. If food is added too soon, it will not cook properly and may even cause the fire to go out.

3. Not Keeping the Grill Covered

Another mistake people make is not keeping the grill covered. It is important to keep the grill covered so that the heat can build up and cook the food evenly. If the grill is left uncovered, the fire may go out, or the food will not cook properly.

4. Adding Water to Extinguish the Fire

One final mistake people make when trying to keep a charcoal grill lit is adding water to extinguish the fire. It is important to let the fire burn out on its own, as adding water can cause problems with future fires.

You Can Check It Out To Use Grill Mats

Important to Let the Fire Burn Out on Its Own


Keeping a charcoal grill lit may seem intimidating, but with these simple steps, anyone can do it!

As long as you remember to collect all necessary supplies beforehand, prepare your cooking grate properly, light up those coals correctly using a chimney starter (and maybe some lighter fluid!), maintain proper airflow through both vents while cooking out, and be careful when handling hot coals.

You should be able to relax and enjoy grilling with friends and family without worrying about whether or not your fire will stay lit throughout your entire cookout session!  Thanks for reading our post about how to keep a charcoal grill lit.

Angela Ervin

Angela Ervin

Angela is the executive editor of DIY quickly. She began her career as an interior designer before applying her strategic and creative passion to lifestyle and home. She has close to 15 years of experience in creative writing and online content strategy for housekeeping, home decorations as well as other niche efforts. She loves her job and has the privilege of working with an extraordinary team. She lives with her husband, two sons, and daughter in Petersburg. When she's not busy working she spent time with her family.

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