I take this wad of paper, wedge it under the chimney, and place the chimney into the fire box of the smoker.
I then take the long barreled lighter and touch the flame to the paper through one of the small holes on the side. I try to light it on the side
closest to the prevailing wind, so that as the wind blows through the holes it will fan the fire and spread it to the rest of the wad. Stay
around while this one burns, you'll likely need to repeat the process with a second sheet.
If you have windy conditions, the mapp torch seems to hold up the best against the
wind, and it can certainly get the coals going quickly.
Above left I have a fantastic, exciting shot of the above sheet of newspaper rolled into a
Actually, I don't so much roll it. It is more of a crinkle to create a little bit of density to the
paper, and to make it fit under the chimney.
You may be able to see the newspaper through the holes of the chimney in these
pictures. This chimney is ready to be placed in the smoker fire box and lit.
|Loading and Lighting the Smoker for a Barbecue
I stuff my chimney with one sheet of newspaper to start. At left you can see what we
mean by one sheet of newspaper. Just pull one full sheet from the recycle stack -
actually, pull two of three just in case.
The newspaper is going to create some ash, but I don't mind since usually I only use
two sheets, and that does not create a great deal of ash.
You can use other forms of lighting - mapp torches, fire starter blocks, etc. All will work
well, my only real recommendation would be to choose a starter contains the most
natural ingredients you can find. You don't want any lighter flavor in the food.
Which also causes us to remind you that one item we do not recommend is lighter fluid,
or briquettes that contain lighter fluid. I had a burger this past summer at a big family
barbeque, and the coals were from a lighter fluid saturated bag of briquettes - and the
only thing I could taste as I politely ate the burger was the lighter fluid. NOT GOOD!
Pull out the charcoal and let's load the smoker for
First, I will say again that I very much prefer to use
solid wood, lump charcoal for a barbecue.
Lump burns hot, creates a low amount of ash, and
as long as you use a reputable brand, there are no
additives - no sawdust, no binders, no chemicals -
it's all just carbonized hard wood flavoring the BBQ.
Take that charcoal and create a pile of it by hand -
that is, don't just pour the charcoal out of the bag. I
have found that pouring charcoal straight from the
bag tends to create a pile that is more tightly
packed and lots of the dust and small crumbles get
into the pile. This tends to create almost instant
ash, and ash can easily rise and settle on the
Since any fire depends a on good mix of fuel and
air, I find that hand stacking my charcoal allows me
to create that ratio - just like building any other type
of fire, whether in your fireplace or a campfire.
I use a charcoal chimney to get my coals ready.
The simple design efficiently speeds up the
process of getting the coals lit and ready to use.
Pictured at right, you can see that this one has been
in service for quite some time.
Notice that the where the handle comes out of the
chimney, there is a piece of metal that helps to
serve as a heat shield for the handle itself.
The handle is wood, which tends to not get as hot
as a metal handle would. Often you can pick up this
chimney with your bare hand, but we highly
recommend going ahead and using a good
oven/grill mitt to protect your hand and forearm.
Not only do they need protection when you pick it
up, but when you dump the coals out of the
chimney, you need to be protected from the blow
back from the coals that will then be directly under
your hand, instead of in the chimney out in front of it.
|Chimney loaded with lump and in the
firebox. You can light it here if you
|...or place it into the smoker first, as I
have done here.
|Under way, the smoke lets us know we
have got it going!
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