How to Light a Charcoal Chimney on a Windy Day

It’s difficult to light a charcoal chimney on a windy day, the newspaper blows out or worse goes flying across your backyard.  Sometimes even a slight breeze will blow out the newspaper. So we have a few tricks to help you get that charcoal lit even on a windy day.

The first thing you need to do is pull the cooking grid from your grill. This is so that you can set charcoal chimney down in the grill to light it. The grill body with the lid on will shield your ignition source from the wind. Keep all vents fully opened.

Now use a more reliable fuel source to light your coals: we are using Doritos. Why Doritos? Once lit they do not blow out and chances are you have some in your kitchen. You can also use paraffin fire starters or a tumbleweed, they are just not as cool.

Take a handful of the chips and place them in the center of the charcoal grate.

Fill your charcoal chimney with charcoal.

How to Light a Charcoal Chimney on a Windy Day

Light the Doritos with a lighter in at least 3 different places.

Place your chimney directly over the burning chips.

If you are just fighting a light breeze you should close the lower vent all the way and leave the grill uncovered.

The trick to light a charcoal chimney on a windy day is to try to keep it out of the wind.

In heavy winds open both the upper and lower vents all the way and cover the grill.

Light a Charcoal Chimney in the Wind

In a few minutes you should see a thick dark smoke coming out of the upper grill vent. This is the rest of the chips catching fire. If at any point in the first 10 minutes the smoke stops you will need to make sure your fire is still lit.

In about 5 minutes the black smoke will change to a thick white smoke as the charcoal begins to catch and the coals heat up.

charcoal chimney in grill

At 10 minutes that smoke should be down to a whispy white smoke and be virutally gone in 12 minutes.

Once all of the coals are hot the smoke almost stops. This does not mean they are all fully lit. For that you will need to wait another 15 to 20 minutes. Because you have seen all the stages of smoke at this point. The only indications that the chimney is still going is the smell and occasional shifting of the coals.

In 25 to 30 minutes you are good to go, pour your coals and begin grilling.

If you have a better way to Light a Charcoal Chimney on a Windy Day we would love to hear it in our comments section.


aka Sultan of Sizzle

I have been blogging about and selling grilling tool for over 12 years. A Certified Food Safety Professional, KCBS member, award winning writer and have over 10 years experience in the food service industry.

“I have experienced some of the best food this country has to offer and nothing is better than the food that comes off my own grill!”

This page contains links to 4thegrill’s products and/or revenue generating sponsored links and ads from Amazon and/or Google adsense. 4theGrill is not responsible for the content of the off site links we provide.

How to Light a Charcoal Chimney on a Windy Day
Article Name
How to Light a Charcoal Chimney on a Windy Day
To light a charcoal chimney on a windy day you need to do 2 things. 1) Shield it from the wind. 2) Use a more reliable ignition source.
Publisher Name
Publisher Logo
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: