How to start a fire in a charcoal grill

drunk-guy-passed-outA few weeks ago I went to the Brewers game with some friends from work. One of the girls I work with brought her boyfriend who brought his grill. My original thinking when I saw this was "sweet, now I can just drink and mess around while this dude cooks." However, after about five minutes I realized this dude had no idea what he was doing. It was a mess. Pouring the lighter fluid on the coals without removing the cooking surface, rearranging the coals once it was starting to go, covering the top completely. It was a mess and I just couldn't believe that someone wouldn't know this. It drove me nuts. So I guided him along and when everything was all said and done we all enjoyed some lighter fluid tasting burgers. Hooray.

Here's the thing, I don't want to do this again. It wasn't fun. I don't want to have to show people how to do these things. This is something that people of a certain age should know. I don't know how to clean a fish. It's embarassing, but it's true. It's embarassing because I should know how to do it. Before the next time I go fishing, I'm going to figure it out. I'm going to go on google and figure it out and then when I'm out there doing it wrong and my friend says something to me I can say "oh man, it's been awhile" and play it off. That's what this is for you, dude that doesn't know how to start a grill. Try to remember what you can and when you screw it up and someone says something to you, you can just go "oh man, first tailgate of the year" and everything will be all good.

  • First of all, if you don't know what you are doing buy the self-starting coals. A piece of paper, some matches and you're done.
  • TAKE THE GRILL PART OFF.
  • If you don't get those however, here's how you do it. Build your coals in a pyramid-esque shape, only flat at the top, Like an A without the ^.
  • Pour some lighter fluid if you want, but paper works a lot better. Not notebook paper, but like a paper bag that you get from the grocery store. This will get your coals going. Maybe a little lighter fluid, but don't overdo it. Try and remember that it is GAS and gas tastes like crap.
  • Once it gets going, don't mess with it. Leave it alone. Put the cover on, but only half way. Or leave the vent open on top if it's a windy day. Don't move them around, don't do anything. Just let them burn. Drink a beer.
  • They are ready when they all look ashy grey and they are warm. I feel ridiculous even writing this.
  • Coals last longer than you think they do, you don't need to add more. Here's how you know your coals aren't good anymore: they aren't there anymore. That's how you know you need to add more.
  • Dispose of them properly. Nobody thinks a dumpster fire is funny. It's really just annoying.

So, you got that? You can skip half of those and as long as you remember not to mess with them and take the grill part off, we're fine. Seriously.

Vince Morales is the guy who runs this site. He likes the Milwaukee Brewers, pro wrestling and beer. If he offended you he is very, very sorry.

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18 comments on “How to start a fire in a charcoal grill

  1. Anonymous on said:

    I never thought that any adult male in Wisconsin didn’t know how to light a charcoal grill and cook whatever on it. This is very sad. I can’t clean a fish either.

  2. Anonymous on said:

    At least the guy let you show him what he was doing wrong. I don’t know how many times I’ve run into guys trying to be manly and completely messing up the tailgate and the food.

    I give your friend credit for being open to critique. However, still no excuse for not knowing what to do with a grill. I just wonder how many brats have died a sad lighter fluid fueled death on this grill…

  3. Miller Park Drunk on said:

    That was almost poetic.

  4. SconnieGirl808 on said:

    Do I get a pass on this because I’m a chick?

    I generally leave the grilling to the guys, but I’ve been meaning to learn how to use a charcoal grill for a while. So . . . thanks for the run-through! I might be able to do my own grilling now.

    • Bridget McGowan on said:

      OK SconnieGirl….Don’t ever ask for a pass on a task simple because of your gender. I’m a girl and I’ve been lighting fires and grills since I was 12. Over the years I’ve honed my skill…don’t want a gas grill, it’s just not the same. It’s up to those of us that understand the basics of fire 101 to pass along the knowledge to the inexperienced and clueless. The rule of, “You can lead a horse to water but ya can’t make em drink” does apply. Don’t waist precious party time on the clueless and the unteachable…Flame On!!

  5. Miller Park Drunk on said:

    @SconnieGirl808 Don’t do it! Grilling is the only thing us guys have left!

  6. Wally on said:

    This is downright beautiful. I have a tear in my eye from the sheer magnificence on this entry.

  7. SconnieGirl808 on said:

    @Miller Park Drunk – Well, I just mean at my house; I wouldn’t DARE interfere with the guys & their tailgate grilling. I’m happy to sit on the sidelines and just drink my Spotted Cow.

  8. kevin on said:

    A couple of questions?

    1. Was this guy from Illinois?

    2. After you showed him how to make fire, did you grab his GF and showed her what a man is.

  9. Anonymous on said:

    Was this guy actually Chef Jerry Garcia?

    “OK guys today I’m going to show you how to make a great tasting Piggly Wiggly brat. First we turn on the grill. Next we put our great tasting Piggly Wiggly brats on the grill. Wait 10 minutes, and now we have a great tasting Piggly Wiggly brat!”

  10. Anonymous on said:

    As a woman, I have to say you need to have a talk with your coworker. What kind of woman stays with a man who doesn’t know how to grill? Did she just not see him mess it up? Was she too busy ogling guys who actually knew how to tailgate?

  11. Anonymous on said:

    I bet guy who couldn’t grill was also drinking a Bud Light Lime while failing at grilling…

  12. Pingback: The Week That Was « PocketDoppler.com - A Wisconsin Sports Blog

  13. Anonymous on said:

    Theres nothing like the taste of lighter fluid on a burger mmmmmmmmm

    Great story, I’m still busting up

  14. charcoal grill on said:

    I think chang lift but so good

  15. charcoal grill on said:

    Sorry! Chang lift like red bull ,so taste more good

    charcoal grill

  16. Pingback: Thursday Q & A: Vince from Miller Park Drunk « PocketDoppler.com - A Wisconsin Sports Blog

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