What Is a Substitute for Lighter Fluid?


Lighter fluid gets the charcoal or wood going in a grill rather quickly. The charcoal is doused with the fluid and then lit with a match. The resulting flames are rather explosive, especially if too much fluid is used. If you've run out of lighter fluid, or prefer not to use it, you can use substitutes.

Electric Metal Lighter

  • The metal part of the lighter is horseshoe-shaped or an oval. It is heated through electricity and becomes red hot. Place the lighter under a pyramid of charcoal or wood chunks. Plug it in. Remove when the chunks have caught fire or the charcoal has started to show gray ash.

Metal Chimney

  • The chimney looks like an overgrown flour sifter from the outside with holes for ventilation. It is placed on the grill and filled with lightly crumpled newspaper. The charcoal is placed on top of the newspaper. Light the newspaper with a match at the bottom. The heat is focused upward by the chimney and the charcoal starts to burn.

Twigs and Matches

  • Slowly start the fire with a layer of small brittle twigs. When the twigs catch on fire add larger twigs, chunks of wood and finally, when the wood fire is going, add the charcoal.

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