Every outdoor cook I know, including this one, have struggled with lighting charcoal briquets at one time or another. It doesn’t mater if you are a Dutch oven cook or a grill cook, lighting charcoal briquets can be a hassle. For years we all depended on charcoal lighter fluid squirted on a pile of briquets to light our charcoal. This worked OK but seemed to take a long time especially if one needed a large number of briquets. When grilling with briquets one had to be careful to let all of the lighter fluid burn off before placing the burgers or steaks on the grill to avoid transferring the taste of the lighter fluid to the meat. When charcoal lighter baskets first came out 15-20 years ago lighting charcoal became a lot easier.
All of these lighter baskets regardless of manufacturer were designed to use a couple sheets of newspaper in the bottom portion which when lit with a match would light the briquets. Obviously the main benefit was eliminating the cost of lighter fluid. It has been my experience both these methods took about the same time depending of course on the size of the starter basket and how much charcoal one was lighting. The one drawback to utilizing the burning newsprint was the fly ash remaining that blew around when the lighter basket was picked up to be dumped.
Cee Dub’s simplified charcoal lighting by simply placing the charcoal lighter basket on a his propane camp stove and setting the burner on “High”. Cee Dub’s large lighter basket holds about five pounds of charcoal briquets. With the burner of his camp stove on “High” Cee Dub lights his briquets in about 12 minutes. By contrast if using lighted newspaper this amount of charcoal requires about 20-25 minutes. When placed on the stove burner the charcoal will begin issuing a white smoke. As the amount of smoke decreases to almost nothing, you will notice orange wispy tendrils of flame coming up through the column of charcoal. Though some of the briquets on the very top of the lighter basket will still be black it is time to dump the briquets and begin using them on your Dutch ovens or for grilling. Do not wait for the briquets on top to turn grey before dumping them to use. If you wait for the top ones to turn grey, the ones on the bottom will have burned to long and you’ll lose some cooking time. Try this method the next time you light charcoal and you’ll see just how quick and easy it is to get your charcoal briquets lit!