How to light a BBQ

With summer now upon us, it’s time to whip out the BBQ and get grilling. But there’s just one problem for many of us – how do you light it?

how to light a BBQ
(Image credit: Getty Images)

As more of us are buying BBQs for the first time online, keen to make use of our outdoor space this summer, more of us are realising that we don’t actually know how to light a BBQ safely.

Although many BBQs come with set-up instructions, they mainly just cover how to put the equipment together – rather than how to actually make it work. And with those burgers, steaks and other BBQ foods sat in the fridge ready to go, it can be frustrating not knowing how to get it going.

How to light a BBQ

These are the instructions on how to light a charcoal barbecue, one of the most common ones out there.

1. Remove the lid and cooking gate, sweeping out any leftover debris from the barbecue.

2. Layer the charcoal at the bottom of the barbecue and scrunch up some old paper on top, before adding another lay of coal into a pyramid shape.

3. Be careful with this step! Carefully pour a generous amount of lighter fluid into the coal, letting it soak for several minutes before then lighting the charcoal.

4. In about 10 to 15 minutes the charcoal should turn white (that means it’s really hot!), so replace the cooking gate and you’re ready to start grilling.

How to light a gas BBQ

If you’re looking for a safer option, gas barbecues don’t require any lighting materials apart from the gas fuel. They’re also much easier to light on the whole, compared to charcoal barbecues.

1. Open the lid and the gas cyclinder valve, making sure that you’ve got the controller on high and then wait for a couple of seconds to make sure that enough gas is in the ignition chamber.

2. Press down firmly on the ignite button. The burner should spring to life.

How to light an electric BBQ

Lighting an electric barbecue is the simplest task of them all and easily the safest – as you don’t need any fuel whatsoever or any lighter fluids.

1. Plug the barbecue into the power socket.

2. Turn the controller up to “high” and then just let it warm up for around 25 to 30 minutes with the lid one.

It’s as simple as that!

Grace Walsh
Features Writer

Grace Walsh is a health and wellbeing writer, working across the subjects of family, relationships, and LGBT topics, as well as sleep and mental health. A digital journalist with over six years  experience as a writer and editor for UK publications, Grace is currently Health Editor for and has also worked with Cosmopolitan, Red, The i Paper, GoodtoKnow, and more. After graduating from the University of Warwick, she started her career writing about the complexities of sex and relationships, before combining personal hobbies with professional and writing about fitness.