When you’re ready to grill, you don’t want to struggle to get the fire going! Your stomach is already growling as you think of those juicy barbecued steaks and plump delicious hot dogs, right? So you want to get some hot coals going and get things moving along! But sometimes, things don’t go as planned – and you may need to add some fuel to the fire.
Charcoal lighter fluid can help speed things up for your charcoal grill. It’s not as common as it once was, of course, because charcoal has been improved and there are better, cleaner, and easier ways to get things underway. But sometimes, lighter fluid still comes in handy.
Here, we’re going to look at what it is, its advantages and disadvantages, and some of the best choices around. So let’s heat things up and get grilling!
What’s Unique About Charcoal Lighter Fluid
Charcoal lighter fluid is not the same as the lighter fluid used for cigarette lighters. For cigarette lighters – and must refillable lights – the fuel is made with butane or naphtha.
On the other hand, charcoal lighter fluid is normally made with a petroleum or an alcohol base. Although these products are known for their rapid evaporation, they don’t evaporate as quickly as those used in other types of lighter.
Sure, those other liquids would work. But charcoal lighter fluid is more efficient and more economical.
Of course, there are many other options for getting your fire started, too. They offer some advantages but do a great job getting your fire started fast:
Is It Safe?
Charcoal lighter fluid is highly flammable. That’s the entire point of it, sure. But it’s important to practice safety precautions when using and storing it. That, of course, is its most obvious danger.
The fluid itself is not linked to cancer, fortunately. However, don’t forget that eating a lot of food grilled over charcoal has been connected to cancer. The charcoal itself can have a negative health impact.
The lighter fluid can make irritation to your nose and throat worse. The smoke from charcoal already can be an annoyance, but lighter fluid can make it a bit worse.
Does Lighter Fluid Affect The Taste of Grilled Food?
Many people also say that charcoal lighter fluid leaves a bad aftertaste on grilled food. This “chemical” taste can put a damper on the enjoyment of wonderfully grilled meats and vegetables.
What Else To Consider
A big factor with charcoal lighter fluid is the odor. Before, all lighter fluids had a tell-tale smell. Nowadays, many brands have eliminated or substantially reduced this negative effect.
It’s also a pollutant through the smoke it produces. And some types are derived from fossil fuels. Sure, you’re only using a small amount, but it can add up. Fortunately, there is at least one type that’s now sustainable and plant-based.
Best Charcoal Lighter Fluids
Here are some of the best charcoal lighter fluids you can find on the market today. They all do a great job, and there’s not a lot to say about a product so simple. So we’ll be keeping it short for the most part!
This is the sustainable, plant-based lighter we mentioned above. It’s a great idea and reduces pollution while still offering the assistance you need to get stubborn coals lit.
One disadvantage is that this is a 6-pack of 32-ounce bottles. We couldn’t find smaller packs on Amazon! That’s a lot of lighter fluid.
It has a strong smell, but it’s not the smell of gasoline. We rate it high for its contribution to a greener planet but it doesn’t yet check all the boxes!
Kingsford is a big name in the market. They’re one of the best-known brands of charcoal and lighter fluid out there!
This two-pack gives you 128 ounces of charcoal lighter fluid. That’s more than enough to get most people through a barbecue season.
It’s odorless and easy to use; Kingston’s fame is well-deserved.
Another solid brand, this will help get your charcoal burning quickly.
This is a 32-ounce bottle. If you only grill occasionally, that should get you through a season of grilling.
There is a little odor and sometimes a bit of aftertaste, although it’s not strong.
Another good product for getting your charcoal briquets going quickly. It comes in a 32-ounce bottle.
It’s odorless and left no weird taste on the food and didn’t seem to leave any residue behind.
Charcoal lighter fluid will help get your grill started faster – and that means you can enjoy your delicious food sooner! Be sure to look for an odorless type that doesn’t leave an aftertaste. It’s not the only alternative out there, but when your briquets just don’t want to light, it’s a huge help to get things going!