How To Use A Charcoal Chimney With Newspaper

A charcoal chimney is a still, hollow cylinder made from ceramic and wire mesh. They can be used to cook food for human consumption without fuel or flames. In American English, the term "chimney" is also often used interchangeably with "fireplace" to describe a flue connected to a hearth that heats and circulates the air in the room using natural gas or wood pellets. Charcoal is a popular method of smoking food in many countries. There are several types of charcoal fire pits available, but the most popular and affordable is the one that uses newspaper as the fuel for smoke. The paper burns quickly and produces a lot of smoke.

In this article, you will learn how to use a charcoal chimney with newspaper so that you can follow traditional recipes from your favorite barbecue master or cook outdoors on your next camping trip.

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How to use a charcoal chimney with newspaper: Tips for beginners

Safety First

Propane and charcoal are fuel sources that can combust or explode if used improperly. Make sure you follow safety practices in your area when using a charcoal chimney to ensure a safe and fun experience.

Purchase a Chimney 

Commercial charcoal chimneys are usually made from clay, but there are metal ones available as well. You can purchase a chimney online or at your local hardware store, department store, or grocery store that sells barbeque equipment in the United States and Canada. If you prefer to use an unglazed ceramic cylinder rather than metal because of budget constraints or aesthetic reasons

Buy Charcoal

If you are excited about finally buying your first charcoal chimney and have already purchased the chimney, you can go ahead and purchase charcoal to fill it. You will need enough charcoal to fill your chimney at least 2/3 of the way full, but more often than not, using 3/4 of a bag of briquettes is sufficient to cook for one or two people. If you anticipate cooking for a crowd, purchase one bag per person plus an extra bag. This will ensure that you have enough fuel for everyone without running out of fuel during the meal or cooking session.

Prepare the Chimney

To fill a charcoal chimney with newspaper, you will need to place it on a table or other flat surface at least 3 feet away from any flammable materials such as curtains, furniture, etc. Fill your fireplace starter partially with newspapers and then pile loose, crumpled newspaper around the starter until the cylinder is at least 2/3 full. You can add more paper around the outside of your chimney if needed in order to get it to fill up completely. You will want there to be about an inch of space between the top of your charcoal and the top of your chimney so that your fuel does not burn out too quickly.

Insert the Charcoal Tube

Use a pencil to trace the opening inside of your charcoal chimney on a sheet of paper.

Insert the Charcoal Tube into your charcoal chimney. 

Push it all the way in until you feel it hit bottom.

Light the Paper

Pour enough charcoal into your charcoal chimney to cook with, but not so much that you can see through to the bottom at this point. This will vary based on your desired cooking time and the number of cooks as well as how large of a pit you are using.

Light your Charcoal

Using long-reach matches or a fire starter stick, light the paper on the inside of your charcoal chimney. If you have trouble igniting the paper at first, apply more pressure to your match or fire starter stick by holding it closer to the mesh side of your chimney.


Put Your Lid On Your Chimney

After 10 minutes of burning, you should be able to remove a lid from your chimney and place it on top if you need to stop cooking early as if you are done cooking and want to reduce how much fuel is used.

Let Your Charcoal Burn Out

Turn off your cooker and let the charcoal burn out. Do not open your chimney lid until you are completely done cooking, but if you do at any point during the cooking process, give it 5–10 minutes before adding more fuel.

Clean Up

When you're done using your chimney, make sure to extinguish the fire completely and clean up all of your loose paper and charcoal. You should also inspect your chimney for cracks or holes to ensure it is in good condition for use next time.


Materials and tools: What you need to make your own charcoal chimney

To make homemade charcoal, you will need the following materials:

A metal container or old barbecue grill that will serve as your "oven" or "furnace". The container should be at least 3 feet high and made from a material that will not melt when exposed to high heat. Square containers are good for making smaller amounts of charcoal, but an oblong or rounded container is needed to make a large amount of charcoal in one setting.


You can find this at any building supply store, or home improvement center, or buy it online on sites such as The most commonly used type is briquettes and they are available in regular and wood varieties. They are usually sold in 20-pound bags and contain two 10-pound sections of fuel inside. You can also use lump charcoal, which is simply smaller pieces of charcoal that are sold in 5- to 50-pound bags.



Traditionally, charcoal has been made with a mixture of oak and beech woods, or a combination of willow and hazelwood with a small amount of birch or elm. The fuel needed to be extremely dry to allow the fire to light on the first try.

A source of heat

This could be a traditional garden hose if you are making small amounts of charcoal or an industrial-strength propane torch if you are making large amounts. You can also use a thicker rope that is made from natural fibers from trees such as coconut fiber.

Other helpful tools

A container or bucket to carry the charcoal in, a spatula to remove the hot charcoal from the "oven" or "furnace", and a measuring cup that is marked in tablespoons and teaspoons as well as cups.


How using a charcoal chimney can benefit your home

Saving money

Using a grill to make charcoal instead of buying it is a great way to reduce heating costs because you can use the grill several times throughout the year and never have to purchase charcoal again. If a traditional charcoal chimney is left in place, the fire will burn out and you will need to replace the whole unit when it runs out of fuel. To use your chimney again, simply refill it with proper starter material as described above and place it on your grill.


Charcoal produces less smoke and toxicity than traditional grills, making it safer for home environments as well as being a healthier alternative for smokers.

Meat smoking

Using a charcoal chimney to make your own charcoal is an easy way to start smoking meats or vegetables, even if it is not in your normal cooking rotation. Because you are making charcoal at a high temperature, the smoke produced will have a slightly different flavor than that of traditional charcoal made at lower temperatures.


How to use a charcoal chimney for cooking

1.Prepare your ingredients: You will want to take the time to prep your ingredients before you begin cooking to ensure that the food is cooked thoroughly and tastes the best it possibly can. It is a good idea to start with ingredients that require longer cooking periods, such as meat, first and then cook vegetables on the side.

  1. Maintain an even temperature: One of the challenges of using a charcoal chimney for cooking is that it can be difficult to maintain an even temperature throughout your cooking process because most grills do not have adjustable heat controls like stove tops do. It is important to start with hot charcoal so that you can overcome this challenge. The best way to maintain an even temperature is to use a charcoal chimney and set it on the lower rack of your grill, away from the heat source.
  2. Use aluminum foil: While using a charcoal chimney for cooking does not require special materials, you can use aluminum foil under your food to shield it from drips and splatters that may occur during the cooking process. To use aluminum foil, pick up each piece of meat or vegetable with tongs and fold it in half before placing it on the grill.
  3. Position your crockery jar: If you are cooking with a large amount of food, it may be a good idea to place a crockery jar on top of your chimney as it may be difficult to reach with tongs from the bottom. To position, your jar, start by placing the bottom of the chimney in the center of the grill and then hold up the sides. Place your crockery jar in between the chimney's bottom and the sides and close it up.
  4. Start cooking: Once you put your food directly above the fire, let cook for 5–15 minutes while you turn or remove anything that might burn to ensure that everything is cooked thoroughly.



How do you use a charcoal chimney starter newspaper?

If you are using a charcoal chimney starter newspaper for the first time, you should use it with either plain paper or a type of heavy-duty paper that is not treated with any chemicals. This will ensure that the newspaper does not catch on fire before the coals do and prevents smoke from getting into your home. For best results, you can burn newspaper along with pieces of cardboard in order to start a larger fire.

How much paper do you put in a charcoal chimney?

When using a charcoal chimney starter newspaper, you should only need a ¼ of a page for every pound of charcoal. By putting more paper into the starter, you are simply running the risk of having it catch on fire before all of the coals do and also making sure there is enough heat to cook your food.

How do you light a charcoal grill with newspaper?

When lighting a charcoal grill with newspaper, you should take the time to separate the sections so that they do not catch on fire immediately. To do this, simply tear the paper along the seams, and then you can start it with a lighter or a match so that it catches on fire. You should hold the newspaper over your charcoal chimney for up to 30 seconds before adding your coals in order to be sure all of it is lit.

Can you burn paper on a charcoal grill?

While it is possible to use newspaper as a charcoal starter, you should avoid paper as a charcoal grill because it will not make your charcoal burn because of its chemical treatment. Chemicals in papers can cause your coals to go out while they are still burning, which would make the whole process of making charcoal less effective.

How do you start a BBQ with a newspaper?

You can burn newspapers on your barbeque grill if you would like, but you should be careful when doing so. By using newspaper regularly and practicing with it, you can get used to the smell and the correct amount of newspaper to use for your charcoal grill. To use it, simply tear down the paper into thinner strips and place them in between your coals before lighting them up. When using newspapers for charcoal, it is important to open them up as well so that air can flow through and prevent smoke from getting into your home.



Using a charcoal chimney for cooking has many benefits, making it an excellent resource for anyone looking to make their own charcoal. For those who simply do not have the time or the energy to make their own charcoal from scratch, purchasing a chimney starter kit is a simple and convenient way to get started with making your own charcoal.

Many of these starter kits are extremely affordable and can be used time and time again in order to save you money on traditional forms of grilling coal. after reading this article, you have got more information on how to use a charcoal chimney with newspaper. Once you start using a charcoal chimney for cooking, you will quickly see that it is indeed possible and easy to use one at home.

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