How to Activate Charcoal

Charcoal is activated with flame so that it's effective for cooking food on a charcoal grill.
Charcoal is activated with flame so that it's effective for cooking food on a charcoal grill. (Image: Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Charcoal can be used to create heat for a fire pit or grill, which can then help keep an area warm or cook food. Charcoal holds heat longer than wood, and you can also light it when it is still slightly damp, so it often functions as a good backup when you are camping in wet conditions with a lack of dry wood to burn.

Things You'll Need

  • Charcoal
  • Charcoal grill
  • Lighter Fluid
  • Lighter

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Place dry and temperate charcoal briquettes to fill the bottom of a charcoal grill. Assemble them so that they form a pyramid structure, with more pieces on the bottom and gradually decreasing as they are piled upwards.

Coat the charcoal with lighter fluid. Add enough fluid so that the briquette surfaces look glossy from the fluid. Create a flame on the charcoals by lighting them with a lighter.

Allow the lit charcoals to burn for 20 to 30 minutes, or until most of the charcoal is covered with white and gray ash. This is the time when the charcoals are activated and are ready to be used underneath a grill iron to cook food.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use caution when working with fire and hot charcoals.

References

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