Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Charcoal Chimney and Charcoal Storage

Charcoal Chimney and Charcoal Storage

Charcoal Chimney/Starter

It's a good idea to have charcoal stored away for emergency cooking.  If you use a charcoal chimney, you don't have to have lighter fluid.  Also, it lights much faster.  It's much more effective.  If you have a large can, #10, you can make your own cheap. You can use a coffee can or a clean paint can, etc.  You can get new paint cans at some home improvement stores and paint stores.  I used an old coffee can from my dad's garage that he stored nuts and bolts in.

You don't need the lid.  You want to put holes in the bottom (easier while still on the can).  You can use a drill, but I just used a screwdriver and hammer.  I think I should have put a few more, but this will do.  This is the first one that I've made.  Then, cut the bottom off with a can opener.  This will be the grate that you put down inside the can to put the charcoal on.

Then, you want to put 3-4 screws in around the bottom, a couple inches up.  This will be to rest the grate on inside the can.  

(Just showing you here where the grate will be inside.) 


Then push the grate down in the top to rest on top of the screws and then put more screws in above those screws, above the grate, to hold it in place.  I used a drill to get the holes started just to make it easier.  I don't have much "elbow grease" these days as I type for a living. 

You don't have to have a handle, but it makes it easier to pour the coal out when it's ready.  (Otherwise, you can use pliers, oven gloves, etc.)  I cut a piece of a dowel to make a handle that won't get hot, drilled holes through it, and used these bolts I happened to have.

Oh, I almost forgot.  You need to put holes all along the bottom.  You can just use a church key can opener.

Tada!  I know, it's not as pretty as it could have 
been with a new can.  lol

View from the bottom. 

View from the top. 

To light the charcoal, put a couple of pieces of newspaper in the bottom.  Then set it upright and fill with charcoal.  Light the paper underneath.  When the charcoal on top starts to get gray around the edges, dump the charcoal in the grill.  Walla!  

Charcoal Storage

I bought a couple large bags of charcoal to store away for emergency cooking, besides the campfire, and put them up in the garage but then read that it should be put in buckets with lids so that it will last longer (or so that it doesn't lose its effectiveness); so I put both bags, over 30 pounds of charcoal, in these four kitty litter jugs and will put the lids on and store them back in the garage.  (I didn't have spare buckets, but these work great!.) 

Then, I read, according to the Kingsford web site, it will last indefinitely, like I originally thought; but I figure it can't hurt to store it in containers to be sure is stays dry over a long period of time. 

This is from the Kingsford web site:  "What is charcoal's shelf life? The shelf life is indefinite so long as the product is stored in a cool, dry place. If the briquets become damp, they will not light efficiently. If a Kingsford® Match Light® charcoal bag is left open or becomes torn, the solvent will evaporate. This will also prevent the briquets from lighting properly. To extend shelf life, we recommend that you re-close the bag properly after each use."

Thanks for checking out my blog.  
You can leave a comment or suggestion below if you would like.  :)

Coming soon, cheese making...  


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Once in a while, we should clean our chimneys to make sure that it's not going to start any unnecessary fires. Things happened in the past where fire started from the chimneys because of the fumes left inside it. We don't want that to happen, right? It's really hard to be a victim of a fire incident, in fact any kind of incident.

  3. True. This is a different kind of chimney though, just a small thing for starting charcoal outdoors. :)

  4. Nice work. Simple and effective. =)

  5. If you have a large can, #10, you can make your own cheap. You can use a coffee can or a clean paint can, charcoal uses