How to Light Charcoal with Minimal Smoke? (Simple Hacks)

Almost every food cooked on a charcoal grill has a unique and amazing smoky taste. This is the reason why a lot of people own a charcoal grill.

However, not everyone who enjoys charcoal grilling is a fan of the smokey flavor. For some, it may even be irritating. A person who knows how to light charcoal with hardly any smoke might be able to deal with such a situation.  

A special type of charcoal is available on the market that doesn’t produce any smoke. Nevertheless, you will have to pay almost twice as much for such coal.

To avoid unnecessary smoke, it is best to use regular charcoal. Still unclear? Let me clarify. Here’s how to light charcoal with minimal smoke. 

How can I light charcoal with minimal smoke?

There is no such thing as the chimney starter method to light charcoal with minimal smoke. In contrast, the chimney starter method produces heavy smoke with a lot of ash flying around. Furthermore, if you ever use any kind of oil-soaked paper, it will further worsen the situation.  

I have never tried the special type of charcoal that is aired as the no-smoke charcoal. However, I have been using the three most preferable methods to light charcoal with minimal smoke. These are:

  1. Using the  electric starters method
  2. Using the  fire starter cubes method
  3. Using alcohol-based method

How to Light charcoal with minimal smoke using the electric starters

Over the years, I have found the electric starters method as the most convenient user-friendly method of lighting charcoal with minimal smoke. In fact, it has never failed me. It only produces very little smoke, which is sometimes hard to notice. To light charcoal with minimal smoke using electric starters, do as follows:

  1. Find out the right type of coal: To start with, this process requires you to find out the right sort of coal.  Frankly speaking, no matter what people say, the type of coal you use determines how much smoke it will produce; some produce less, while some produce more.

Pro tips: It is never about using the costly charcoal that produces no smoke. Rather you can choose regular charcoal-like coconut or lump charcoal, which is not costly yet suffices to be the best pick. In fact, no unusual and extra smoke while lighting.

  • Arrange an electric starter tool: There are a total of four types of systems to light the charcoal, e.g., the chimney starter method, the looftlighter method, the electric starter method, and the lighter fluid method. However, it is safest to sue the electric starter method. No need for any matches or lighter; you can easily arrange a device designed kind of an electric pistol.
  • Start heating the coal: When you have the electric starter tool, be whatever it is, you can start heating the coal right away. You keep doing this for about 10-12 minutes; you will see the coal getting warm gradually. When you think the coal is enough hot, you have to stop heating the coal directly and let the remaining coal to ignite from the already ignited coal around.

Pro tips: The very moment you see almost half of the charcoal is ignited already, y7ou should stop hitting the coal using your electric pistol; no direct heating from then on. Just wait until the rest is fully ignited.

  • Let the coal turn gray: The charcoal is fully heated doesn’t mean you are all set to cook. I forbid cook until the charcoal turns gray. Before you cook on it, you should at least see the grayish tone on the charcoal. You will feel like that charcoal is coated or covered with a layer.

Pro tips: Wait for at least 25-30 minutes; t doesn’t usually take more than that. When you feel the embers, you are done with this process.

This was everything about lighting charcoal with minimal smoke using electric starters. After that, you can start cooking whatever you want at ease.

How to Light charcoal with minimal smoke using the fire starter cubes

Why the same old technique over and over again? I found this amazing technique when I was looking for a unique method of lighting charcoal with minimal smoke. The first few times I was a failure, later I mastered it. Here are the tips to light charcoal with minimal smoke using the fire starter cubes:

  1. The first step is to arrange Stubbs briquettes to light up most efficiently. This type of charcoal produces very little smoke since it is a kind of lump charcoal.
  2. Then light it up using the firestarter cubes slowly. It will start up with a very low temperature.
  3. You can also try changing the lump charcoal and the light started.
  4. This way the charcoal burn for a long time, yet produces heavy heat with a little smoke.

Pro tips: WSM should contain the charcoal ring very tightly. Besides, using an extended steel piece on the grate to stop the charcoal from stepping away

How to Light charcoal with minimal smoke using alcohol-based method

I have used this technique a few times. The reason I have decided to mention it here is because of its efficiency. However, you should perform it as described below:

  1. Arrange an average size cup and fill it up using the alcohol.  You can choose from the meths, rubbing alcohol, spirits that are methylated, or the ethanol.
  2. Then pour it up using charcoal and wait for some time until the charcoal is well soaked. I recommend the lump charcoal.
  3. Then it is time to flick a match on it. When you flick, you will see about a 2-inch high flare. Then let the flames go down or die slowly.
  4. This way it will light the charcoal with minimal smoke.

Pro tips: Don’t forget to cover the alcohol bottle before you start the fire and keep a safe distance while lighting it up. Besides, never pour more charcoal midway.


You might not like the usual and unnecessary smoke and the smoky flavor of charcoal grilling; it is absolutely fine. You don’t need to change the way you grill. Besides, irrespective of what type of grill you use, or what type of charcoal you use, you can just light charcoal with minimal smoke if you follow the techniques mentioned above.

Happy grilling! And don’t forget to share your experience with me.


Tina Jordan here. Cooking delicious dishes for my family has always been a passion for me. Kitchen and cooking go hand in hand. I have spent a lot of time in my kitchen (still do), so I have a very clear understanding of kitchen gadgets.

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