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How to Make a Charcoal Starter From a Can


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I used to just dump copious amounts of lighter fluid on my charcoal and keep spraying it on until everything caught fire.  Unfortunately, that was both dangerous and wasteful.

Since it is getting into grilling season I was looking at buying a chimney charcoal starter.  However, a charcoal starter is just a metal cylinder with a charcoal grate mounted inside. I figured I could easily make one out of a #10 can.

All I did was get out my can opener to open the bottom of the can, and then used a church key bottle opener to punch out a few air holes around the bottom of the can.

To use, I simply wadded up some paper and placed unlit charcoal into the top of the cylinder. When the newspaper is lit, it burns and lights the charcoal above. The “chimney effect” causes the charcoal to light from the bottom all the way up to the top.

If you want the paper to burn longer you can coat it in vegetable oil before you light it.
I did this on a whim, and was surprised how well it worked. I may rivet a handle on it in the future, but probably not, as a pair of vice grips works well enough.

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