The charcoal chimney offers an easy method for lighting charcoal that leaves no petroleum aftertaste in foods cooked on the grill. The user crumples a few sheets of newspaper in the bottom of the chimney, fills the top with charcoal and lights the paper. The coals are ready to cook in about 15 minutes. An electric starter is another option.
The charcoal chimney is a metal cylinder with a grate in the bottom to prevent the charcoal from crushing the newspaper. It holds several pounds of charcoal, but if a larger fire is required, the additional briquettes light by adding them to already burning firebox. The chimney requires no outside power source, so it is portable and useful in the backyard or when camping. It is reusable, so while it costs more than starter fluid initially, it saves money in the long run.
If the cookout is taking place in the backyard or another location with access to electricity, an electric starter offers an easy method for fire starting. This device is a loop-style heating element that gets very hot when plugged into an outlet. The user piles briquettes on top of the starter and supplies power. The starter begins to glow red in a matter of seconds and ignites the coals without striking a match. The electric starter has can light charcoal for many barbecues.