Skip to Content

Lighting Your Kamado the First Time (You Need To Know)

Lighting Your Kamado the First Time (You Need To Know)

The vast majority of grillers know and understand how to use metal-encased charcoal grills and propane grills. At first, a Kamado grill can seem intimidating with the vents needed for lighting and temperature control. Many people find themselves wondering how to light a Kamado for the first time.

Lighting your Kamado for the first time can be somewhat overwhelming, especially if you have never used a ceramic grill before. But, if you follow the manufacturer’s instructions, you can have your grill lit and cooking in no time at all.

To discover how to light a Kamado grill, you will need to read through your instruction manual thoroughly. Keep reading to learn more about how the Kamado is different from other grills and the steps you should follow to light your grill for the first time.

Is Lighting a Kamado Grill Different Than Other Grills?

Lighting a Kamado or other ceramic grills is much different than when you use other charcoal or propane grills. This is because the grill’s materials can take some getting used to, especially in the beginning.

It is easy to throw in your charcoal briquettes and some lighter fluid with metal charcoal grills and wait a while for the coals to be hot. Most people have used this type of grill once or twice in their life and mention how easy it is to use.

Propane grills require a bit more of a learning curve since you use gas for cooking your food instead of charcoal. With this type of grilling, you have to ensure enough propane to get you through the cooking process.

A Kamado and other grills like it. While they use coal, the lighting and cooking process can be a bit more complicated. This is because you have to ensure that you maintain good airflow and that the unit stays a the temperature you need to properly prepare your food.

What Type of Fuel Should Be Used in a Kamado?

When it comes to grilling, the fuel source used to light and cooked your meals depends on the type of grill you are using. While some grills use either charcoal briquettes or propane, others use various types of other fuels.

While it uses charcoal as the fuel source, the Kamado grill uses a very specific type of charcoal. Instead of the briquettes that are often used in the metal charcoal grills, the Kamado uses hardwood lump charcoal.

The reason for lump charcoal in a Kamado grill is because it tends to burn at a faster rate than briquettes, which means that they can reach the higher temperatures that are needed for grilling. Additionally, lump charcoal, because it burns faster and hotter, tends to leave less ash in the ash pan, which means less cleanup.

Preparing Your Kamado Before Lighting

Before you can start your Kamado grilling experience for the first time, there are a few things you should consider. Ensuring that you and your grill are fully prepared and set up can help you avoid many potential dangers.

It is recommended that before you even plan to begin using your Kamado, you have read the instruction manual completely. This will help you to not only understand how the Kamado works but will also help you to know how to set it up properly and light it for the first time.

Once you have read your manual, you are ready to ensure that you have the grill set up safely and properly. This means that you have checked to make sure that you have all of the equipment either in the grill or nearby for easy access.

You must make sure you have the ash pan in place, the firebox and the fire ring in place, and ready for you to use. You should also have your lump charcoal and whatever you are using for a fire starter handy.

Do Not Light Your Kamado Before You Do This!

Keep in mind that you should not begin to light your Kamado without taking care of a few important details. These details will help keep you and anyone else close safe and protect your Kamado from damage.

As you begin the process of lighting your Kamado, you first need to open the vents that are on the top and bottom of the unit. This will ensure that there are plenty of airflows to allow the charcoal to light properly and evenly.

Lighting Your Kamado for the First Time

While lighting the Kamado for the first time can seem daunting, it is quite an easy process if you follow the right steps. Check out the instructions below to learn how to light your ceramic grill for the first time.

  • Place your lump charcoal in the firebox. You will want to stack the larger pieces of the coal on the bottom and then fill in the top with smaller pieces of charcoal.
  • Put a few of your chosen fire starters in between the charcoal pieces. You can use wood wool firelighters, lighter cubes, or fire starter bricks.
  • Use a long match or lighter to light the fire starters only.
  • Check to make sure you open both vents and keep the lid open.
  • Wait about 15 minutes for all of the charcoal to be lit and carefully ensure that they are moved around using metal tongs.
  • Close the lid and give your Kamado time to preheat to the desired temperature. 

Keep in mind that the vents are used throughout the cooking process to ensure that you are reaching the desired temperature. Once the thermometer says you have the right temperature, you are ready to cook!

An important thing to remember is that when you open your Kamado to begin cooking or later when you check your food, you should stand to the side and burp the lid before opening it. This will prevent a flame from rushing out and burning you.

Final Thoughts

Overall, anytime you use a new device, it can be overwhelming. But once you get past the first use of your Kamado, you are sure to love it and make it your go-to grill! Just be sure to open the vents before you begin, and keep an eye on any food you cook, and you are ready to light your Kamado for the first time.