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How To Light Your Grill

By: Julie Sammarco, Editor,

We all love the taste of freshly grilled food. Whether your preference is a juicy grilled burger, a lightly charred piece of fish, or smoky piece of grilled pineapple, the only way to get these magical flavors onto your plate is to first know how to light your grill. Do you know how to do it the right way? Continue reading to find out.


How To Light A Charcoal Grill

  1. Clean the grill. Remove all ash and grease from your grill, scrubbing with a metal-bristled brush to remove any burnt-on fats. Cooking with a dirty grill can give your food unpleasant flavors.
  2. Pour the charcoal into the grill. How much charcoal to use will vary based on the size of your grill, but a good rule of thumb to follow is to add enough to form 2 layers of charcoal on the bottom of the grill. Once you've added enough, stack the charcoal into a cone shape in the center of the grill.
  3. Soak the coals with lighter fluid. Pour lighter fluid onto the cone of coals, focusing on the center (because there are more coals in the center). Again, the amount of lighter fluid you should use will vary, but a good approximation is adding 1/4 cup (60 ml) of fluid per 1 lb. (450 g) of charcoal.
  4. Light the coals. Allow the lighter fluid to soak into the coals for about 30 seconds, and then light them. Use long fireplace matches to light the cone from at least 2 sides. You can discard the matches directly into the grill if desired. Allow the coals to burn until they are all grayish-white on the surface.
  5. Spread the coals evenly across the bottom of the grill with a long-handled instrument, such as a pair of tongs. Put the grate into place and close the grills' lid. Wait 5 minutes before cooking.


How To Light A Gas Grill

  1. Be sure that the propane tank is connected properly. Refer to your grills' user manual to make sure that your fuel tank is connected securely and has enough propane in it to cook with. Then, open the propane tank's valve.
  2. Open the first burner. Using the knob on the front of the grill, turn the first burner up to the heat setting you desire. This will allow the propane to begin flowing through this burner.
  3. Ignite the burner. After allowing the propane to flow through the burner, press the igniter button on the front of your grill to ignite the gas from that burner. If the igniter button does not work, light the burner manually by holding a lit match against it with the gas on.
  4. Ignite the remaining burners. Repeat the process above to light all remaining burners on your grill. Turn them to the appropriate heat setting and close the grills' lid. Allow the grill to heat up for at least 5 minutes before cooking anything.


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