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Newb question: Starting the coals

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Hey, everyone, new guy here (to both the forum and kamado cooking). My question is about starting up the charcoal. Right now I'm using a chimney starter with newspaper, but I hate the bloom of acrid smoke I get from the paper, so I picked up some paraffin starting cubes. Unfortunately I can't seem to use the cubes with the chimney because they fall through the grate (I have to set the chimney on the grate because I don't really have anywhere else to set it, no concrete on my patio). Can I just start the coals by stacking them in a pile on the grate and sticking a cube in the middle of the pile?


Or, let me approach this a different way... How do you start your coals up?

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For briquettes, I use newspaper and chimney.  For lump charcoal, I fill up the fire box in the acorn and light with cotton balls soaked in 90% alcohol.  I keep them in a wide mouth pickle jar and can make 100 or so for $2-3. Cheap, safe and absolutely no odor.


If I want a hot, quick fire and not using a deflector, I'll light 3 of them spread out to get an even fire. For low and slow using a deflector I'll just bury one down in the center of the firebox.

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I remember the smoking chimney effect. Mine used to look like an old steam locomotive chugging up hill. Once i got my Kamado i quit using the chimney. Use cotton balls of fire cubes. With the chimney my wife really reminded me of the first rule of grilling . Close the patio door first.


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Don't use the stinky paraffin fire starters whatever you do.


Find some odourless starters. Mine are made of wood shavings and wax - they look like little mouse nests. Or do the cotton balls and alcohol trick as others are saying. I'll have to try that myself.....


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The cubes are fine - I dump some coals into the chimney, add a cube ( to sit on ) then add more coal and light -
Sometimes I got 30% coal, cube, another 30% coal just leave room to light the cube  -

That thing will turn red on you so be careful with it...

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Chimney guy here. one piece of newspaper lit outside the Kamado. once it's going (5 min) I put her in the Kamodo. 20 minutes later she's ready for steaks. I always end up with leftovers, they go right into the chimney the next morn. no messin' with paraffin, alcohol, cotton balls. another way to skin a cat?



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On 7/24/2020 at 3:28 PM, adm said:

Don't use the stinky paraffin fire starters whatever you do.


Find some odourless starters. Mine are made of wood shavings and wax - they look like little mouse nests. Or do the cotton balls and alcohol trick as others are saying. I'll have to try that myself.....


Guess what.. that wax is paraffin :)

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