It is the summer season and no summer is complete without having barbeque party, grilled meat and charcoaled delicacies. As tasty as they can be to eat, food prepared over coal requires prior preparations and experience with handling. One of the preparation is to get the coals ready. There is no push button here to assemble and light your coal, so you have to do it the old fashioned way by getting your hands dirty. Of course, there are ways to make the whole process more efficient nonetheless and I am going to discuss about them below.
Creating A Charcoal Stack
This is the most conventional method of lighting coal and takes about 15 minutes to execute. It is not bound to having any instrument or device. Just stack up your coal in a mound or pyramid, inside a tray, and spray / splatter lighter fuel evenly on the stack. Putting the coal in a stack increases the contact between each piece and promotes combustion.
As soon as you put the fuel on the coal, light it with a match or lighter (do not attempt to put lighter fuel once the coal gets red hot). Once the fuel burns off, you are going to notice that the edges of the coal become gray. After the ashes cover the coal mostly, you should prepare to spread the stack and then line up your food for cooking.
A charcoal chimney helps to simplify the charcoal preparation process and takes less time than the aforementioned technique. As its name reflects, this device is like a metal chimney. It holds coal within its enclosure and uses paper (any ordinary paper such as newspaper or printing paper) to light it up. Since the coal pieces are confined and sit above a burning flame, they get heated up quickly and the edges light up to heat the neighboring coals. It is like a chain reaction. Depending on your requirement and the scale of your setup, you may require a small sized or large sized charcoal chimney. A typical average small sized chimney can hold 100 coal pieces.
To use the chimney, just put pieces of enlightened paper under the provided space, whilst the coal pieces are inside. As the flame burns, it will light the edges of the bottom most coal pieces and they will gray out. You can use this as a sign that the coal is getting prepared. With time, the coal pieces at the top will also have their edges grayed out. (If you see that the coal is not burning, just add more burning newspaper inside the chimney).
All the coal pieces should be red hot and prepared within 5 to 10 minutes. Then you have to pour out the pieces and wait for them to become covered with ash. After that, just spread them out and use the prepared coal as you would normally do.
If you are interested in getting yourself a charcoal chimney, I would recommend you to have a look at Chimney of Insanity Charcoal Starter. It is an innovative device that reduces the charcoal preparation time to as little as three minutes! I personally use it and appreciate how easy it has made the whole process, every time I have a barbeque party in my backyard.