Using a chimney starter is very easy. You can use either newspaper or lighter cubes to get the coals going. Newspaper works great, but nothing beats a lighter cube. Lighter cubes even burn in the rain!
We also make a compact chimney starter that can be used with our smaller model grills. It makes a perfect addition to anyone’s list of tailgating or camping supplies.
You’ll need to take out the cooking grate from your grill. Then, fill your Chimney Starter all the way to the top with charcoal (you can use less if you aren’t cooking as much food). Set the lighter cubes on the charcoal grate and light them.
* Make sure to always light your chimney starter on a charcoal grate. It shouldn't be lit on a concrete surface, as moisture trapped in the concrete can heat up and expand rapidly, causing it to crack.
* Don't use any charcoal that is considered "self-lighting".
Then, you’ll need to set the Chimney Starter directly on top of the lighter cubes, on the charcoal grate.
The fire from the cubes will begin burning the charcoal and the flames will grow upwards from there.
Depending on weather conditions, in about 10 to 15 minutes the coals should be sufficiently lit to pour into the grill. You’ll know the coals are ready when the ones on top have started to turn a bit gray with ash. If you're grilling using the "low and slow" method, you may want to pour your coals in a bit sooner, so they aren't burning quite as hot, and so they last longer.
Now, it’s time to pour the coals onto the charcoal grate, and arrange them based on whether you are going to cook over direct or indirect heat.
* Always make sure to wear a protective mitt when pouring the lit coals into the grill.
Once the burning coals have been arranged to your liking, set the cooking grate back into place, put the lid on, and once the grill has heated up sufficiently you’re ready to cook. It should take about 10 to 15 minutes to reach 500 to 550 F, at which point the grill is considered pre-heated. Now, adjust your lid and bowl dampers to achieve the cooking temperature you desire.
Also, remember to put that Chimney Starter somewhere safe once you’ve poured the coals into the grill, you don’t want children, pets or guests bumping into it while it’s still hot.
For those of you with a Weber Performer (with gas assisted electronic ignition) the Chimney Starter can be used with the Touch and Go™ electronic ignition system to get the coals going even faster. To do so, all the previously mentioned instructions apply, just make sure the Chimney Starter is placed directly above the burner tube, and follow the Touch and Go electronic ignition instructions.