I was folding laundry on an overcast, misty Sunday afternoon when I was overtaken by eau d’ lighter fluid wafting into my house from my neighbor’s patio. Investigation into this matter revealed 5-foot-high orange flames jumping from his black kettle. That grilling enthusiast had gotten a bit happy with the lighter fluid.
There is, of course, ongoing debate about which type of grill is better — i.e., gas or charcoal. Both have their perks – convenience vs. time, pricey (some) vs. inexpensive, and sometimes permitted vs. prohibited. Adding fuel to the barbecuing fire is the conversation about what kind of charcoal to use – lump vs. briquet(te). Again, there are differences in cost and convenience. Regardless of which charcoal you use, you have to light the darn fire.
My neighbors lighting preference is to bathe the charcoal in lighter fluid, step back 10 feet, spark a match, and then toss it into the kettle (this is only a guess as I did not observe the ignition process). Using lighter fluid is an option, though one that makes any grilling aficionado cringe. I’ve used lighter fluid … because it was just about the only option. Or, there is the “match-light”-type of briquet(te), which is basically pre- lighter “fluided.” If you wish to not add some liquid petroleum product, there are other options for lighting the charcoal.
<– My preference is to use a chimney starter. It’s very easy to do and you don’t need any lighter fluid. For me it involves a few sheets of newspaper, charcoal and a match. There many different brands (and also costs) of chimney starters and you can likely find one at your local hardware store.