Want to keep your charcoal lit longer?
Having the proper fire is essential to creating great meals.
In this article we will discuss how to properly stack charcoal, reasons why it won’t stay lit (and how to fix it), setting the tone of ambiance, and getting that charcoal to light and stay lit.
Let’s get started:
Reasons Why Charcoal Won’t Stay Lit
Charcoal is Dry
Charcoal absorbs moisture quickly, which is why it becomes so wet. When it’s wet, it obviously won’t burn as well and as easily.
One of the easiest ways to dry out the charcoal is by simply laying the charcoal out in the sun for a few hours.
If some of the charcoal has broken apart due to dampness, then you may need to dispose of those coals and try to dry out the ones that are still potentially usable.
Using low-quality charcoal will definitely have an effect on how long the coals stay lit. Often times the more inexpensive brands or products tend to make coals that just won’t stay lit.
You’ll want to use higher quality coals and maybe even add some firewood for a smoking taste in your meals.
Something to consider when searching for new coals.
Stacking Charcoal to Allow Airflow
When charcoal is stacked vertically instead of flat on the bottom of a grill or smoker, it is more likely to stay lit. Heat, as you may recall, rises. As a consequence, stacking your charcoal allows heat generated by the lower coals to rise up and into the upper coals.
If your charcoal isn’t burning, it’s probably because you’re not piling it correctly. Make sure you create a bit of space between the coals so the fire can “breathe”.
This will allow the fire to light and stay lit.
Lighting Charcoal Using a Chimney Starter
The simplest method to light charcoal is with a chimney starter. A chimney starter is made out of a cylindrical-shaped piece of metal with a hollow interior. Simply fill the chimney starter halfway with charcoal and set it on your grill or smoker, then use a grill lighter to ignite the bottom.
Check your ambiance
The weather in the region you’re grilling may be quietly triggering your fire to go out after a few minutes. It’s most common when it’s humid, windy or rainy outside.
Charcoal is permeable, and high humidity can quickly saturate it with moisture, making it difficult to keep burning. While you can’t change the weather, you may still grill your meal by using dry charcoal.
Let’s light that fire!
Hopefully, you’ve discovered what’s wrong with your charcoal and identified what it is that you were searching for.
Was it the humidity? Perhaps you weren’t paying attention. It doesn’t matter. What counts is that you’re ready to fire up the grill now and cook some dinner for your friends and relatives.