Secrets on the Grill

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Sunday, March 9, 2008

Easy Way to Start a Fire

Before, I’ve always been amazed at how some folks, typically those from the countryside, seemingly build fires effortlessly. It’s as if they do it all by instinct! Well, I suppose some parts of the process is learned through experience like knowing exactly when the fire “catches on” or when more elbow grease is needed for fanning; or when it’s timeto safely add more wood without killing the fire.

The trick is to have abundant firestarters like dried leaves to really heat up and start the burning process for the main fuel like firewood. You simply cannot make firewood burn with just a match – unless of course you douse the firewood with gasoline or kerosene beforehand. But this is low-cost grilling, right? So, nopes, there’s no need for those petroleum products. This is what you do:

  1. Strip several pieces of paper and slightly crumple them. These crumpled pieces will form the first layer.
  2. Position dried leaves in a stack or pile so there’s plenty of air below. Don’t jam all leaves otherwise the fire suffocates due to lack of air.
  3. Position a few dried twigs or small branches on top of the heap.
  4. With a safety match, light a small piece of paper around 6 inches long and light the bottom layer made of crumpled paper.

  5. Fan the fire to create flames that engulf the dried leaves. A big blaze should ensue and this will burn the dried twigs or small branches.
  6. If the fire starts to die down, add more dried leaves and resume fanning.
  7. As the leaves and twigs get consumed by the fire, the heap collapses with its weight. The key here is to ensure that the branches don’t fall all over the place.

An enclosed space (like the superkalan’s body) to contain the heap makes this easier. This is basically what a chimney firestarter does. Starting a fire with the above materials is fast and easy. You only need to get it going and then keep it going.