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Today I tried to ignite coal on a grill device, without using kindling (we ran out of it). I gathered a lot of small twigs and a bit of medium ones. I managed to set all this on fire, but the coals didn't ignite, and it was extinguished soon after the twigs were out.

I've observed my grandmother putting coals into the fire in the oven, but after twigs, she put blocks of wood into the fire, so the temperature was quite high. It's not applicable on a grill device.

Are there any special techniques of putting coal into the fire with the campfire of limited size, such as those on a grill device? Is it possible to achieve the temperature with such a small fire?

  • Do you mean charcoal, or actual mined coal? – sdg Aug 16 '13 at 23:06
  • It was mined coal. – Danubian Sailor Aug 17 '13 at 5:58
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    Adding as a comment, as not really sure it is an answer. My dad has said that to get their old coal furnace burning, they first used 'pea' coal, which if nothing else, was small in size, before adding from another pile. You might try smashing some coal to smaller bits, as the added surface area might help it ignite and get hot enough to start the larger chunks. – sdg Aug 18 '13 at 17:25
  • It is highly dependent on the type of coal. Do you happen to know the type or have a picture? – Russell Steen Aug 18 '13 at 17:59
  • @RussellSteen I remember it was the coal that, according to the text on the wrapping, should burn up to 240 minutes – Danubian Sailor Aug 18 '13 at 18:32
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I use the wood pieces method.

  • For charcoal pieces medium twig-sized sticks (say 1 cm diameter) are OK.

  • For pressed charcoal, I go for sticks of 3 - 4 cm diameter.

  • For real coal (on the grill 8-o who wants to eat stuff roasted on a real coal fire?) I'd go for a nice wood fire with sticks (chopped wood) of at least 5 - 7 cm diameter. Should be close to what your grandma does... And yes, you can also first add small pieces. But on a grill they're likely to fall through.

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