How to Start a BBQ – A Beginner Guide
April 29, 2021

Catching sight of a smoking barbecue indicates the first true sign of summer hitting, but do you know how best to start one? 

We often entrust the BBQ cooking to a loved one; a friend or relative who always seems to toast the perfect burger! With this handy beginner’s guide, you can learn independently, without worrying about wrestling with the grill.

Here is a summary of what we will cover:

How to use a Gas BBQ

  1. 1. Ensure you have the correct gas
  2. 2. Prepare your tools
  3. 3. Fire safety
  4. 4. Prepare your food
  5. 5. Start your grill

How to light a BBQ

  1. 1. What do you need for a charcoal BBQ?
  2. 2. Fire safety
  3. 3. Start your charcoal grill

How to use a Gas BBQ

Having a gas BBQ can be very convenient, making grilling simple and quick. Here are some tips on how to use it:

1. Ensure you have the correct gas

A gas BBQ can promise the perfect summer feast to satisfy the hungry bellies of your family and friends. However, the power behind these barbecues all depends on the type of gas you use and whether this gas is suitable for you.

What gas to use?

We’d recommend both butane gas and methane gas for a BBQ, but the benefits can vary for both.

Butane gas  

If you’re looking to light up your BBQ regularly, choose butane for a cleaner burn. Not only does butane produce carbon dioxide and no other greenhouse gas, it is often said to produce more energy than traditional gases – for example, propane – when burned. Butane is often advised for those seeking a portable BBQ, as it is easily liquefied and therefore perfect for camping and cooking. In comparison, methane cannot be compressed and taken anywhere with you.

Methane gas 

All methane gas requires is a modified burner orifice attached to your grill. The methane is easily supplied through a pipeline at low pressure, rather than a compressed gas cylinder. Simply plumb your grill directly to a methane supply pipe and enjoy a constant stream of heat and power.

How long do BBQ gas canisters last for?

As a given rule, BBQ gas canisters tend to last for about three to four hours on low heat which leaves plenty of room for some delicious barbecue food enjoyed all day long!

How to connect gas to the BBQ

Firstly, connect your gas pressure regulator to your chosen gas bottle valve. Tighten this regulator firmly, using your hands. You should hear an audible ‘click’ of connection.

Then, connect the other end of your gas hose to the barbecue. Whether your connector is threaded or otherwise, it should be easy to directly connect your gas hose.

Don’t forget to place your gas bottle on a level surface, away from any obstructions or hazards.

Finally, open the gas valve with your hand – no tools necessary.

How to disconnect the gas bottle from the BBQ

To disconnect the gas bottle, turn your regulator switch clockwise to the off position (a reverse of when you tightened this regulator firmly at the start!). Your flame should cease. Then, push and lift the regulator from the valve of your gas bottle, before placing the safety cap back on.

2. Prepare your tools

A good BBQ doesn’t become great unless you have the perfect selection of tools and BBQ accessories at your disposal. 


  • -Fire extinguisher: have a fire extinguisher on hand to make sure your fire remains in check.
  • -Gloves: burning yourself is always a present hazard when taking control of the BBQ. Gloves protect you, and keep you safe while you grill the hours away.
  • -Firelighter: Don’t wrestle with old matches, struggling to even get your barbecue started. Our ‘Looftlighter’ firelighter is brilliant for getting your flames burning quick and strong.
  • -An apron with tools: fancy flames BBQ apron will allow you to keep all of your essential tools in place and to hand!


3. Fire safety

Even if you have the perfect selection of tools at the ready, you must keep fire safety at the front of your mind. Here are some of our favourite tips for staying safe at the grill.

  • -Never leave your BBQ unattended.
  • -Set your BBQ up away from flammable hazards.
  • -Always keep a close eye on pets and children as you cook.
  • -A fire extinguisher or bucket of water nearby is essential.
  • -Do not move or touch your BBQ until it is cool.

4. Prepare your food

With gas barbecues being so convenient – it really is a case of simply turning the knob to start, and adjusting the heat as needed while you cook – they’re just the thing for preparing food to perfection. So, here are a few further quick tips for doing exactly that: 

  • -Ensure you’ve got enough fuel for the job! Always have an extra full tank at the ready, so that those burgers you’re preparing don’t end up half-cooked. 
  • -Before you place food onto the grate, apply a coat of cooking oil to prevent it from sticking there. 
  • -Prior to cooking any food, get acquainted with the range of temperatures your grill is capable of – as this will guide your food preparation choices. 
  • -If you are using a BBQ for the very first time, it can be difficult to determine what recipes to whip up and how to start them. We’d personally recommend a range of our 11 beef barbecue recipes to really get your summer party started!
  • -Don’t forget -  salads and marinades never go amiss at any barbecue get together!

5. Start your grill

Before we go any further, and for your own safety, it’s important to always keep the lid raised when lighting your gas grill. Don’t forget, too, to closely follow the instructions in your grill’s user manual. 

The basic process of starting your grill is as follows. You raise the grill’s lid, and turn on the gas at the bottle. You then turn on one of the grill’s gas burners, and press the auto light button if there is one on your grill. 

If the bottom of the unit has holes in it,  stick a match near the burner. Otherwise, you can use a long match from the top  or throw in a match near the burners. 

Presuming the burner is now lit, you can now turn on any other burners, and leave the entire grill to burn on high for around five to 10 minutes. This will allow for any lingering accumulations of food and grease on the diffusers to be burnt off. 

Wait for the smoke to subside, and you can turn the burners back down to low.

How to use a smoker box on a gas BBQ 

A smoker box is a brilliant way to turn your gas grill into a comprehensive barbecue smoker. Simply place your wood chips inside, and set the box above your grill burners. Smoke will escape through the holes in your box, infusing your food with a flavour unlike any other!

How to light a BBQ 

A charcoal BBQ brings that smoky flavour, here are some tips on how to light it:

1. What do you need for a charcoal BBQ?

We’ve compiled a handy list of all the essentials, just for you.

  • -Charcoal
  • -Chimney starter
  • -Electric charcoal starter

Or simply opt for paper, firelighters or lighter fluid instead.

What is the best charcoal to use for a BBQ? 

So, you have invested in the charcoal grill of your dreams. But a charcoal BBQ is nothing without the right charcoal to fuel it! We are happy to advise you on both lump coal and briquette so it’s up to you to decide what flavour and burn you’d like best.

Lump coal

  • -Lights faster and burns hotter
  • -Very little ash left once the day is done
  • -Highly responsive to oxygen: control the temperature with ease


  • -Save space, time and money with manageable briquettes
  • -Environmentally friendly and easily handled
  • -Steady temperature: good for burning

How much charcoal should I use for a BBQ?

When it comes to how much lump coal or briquettes you should use, keep to the 1:1 ratio. For every kilogram of meat, add a kilogram of charcoal.

2. Fire safety

Follow our previous, essential fire safety rules as they remain applicable to all things charcoal. 

3. Start your charcoal grill 

Starting your charcoal grill – whether with firelighters, as suited to our charcoal briquettes, or a traditional chimney is totally your preference.

How to start a charcoal grill with firelighters 

Several coals doused in lighter fluid, ignited with the help of a firelighter, provide a speedy way to get your charcoal BBQ up and running.

How to light a charcoal BBQ with a chimney 

It’s possible to buy a tubular chimney starter that will allow you to light your charcoal effortlessly. It’s also great for protecting both the coals and yourself when it’s windy. This solution will allow you to get the coals catching and glowing, so that they can then be easily and safely tipped into the barbecue. 

Simply fill your chimney starter with charcoal, add newspaper, and then light the BBQ. Finally, when you see flames start to rise, pour out your chosen coals.

When is a charcoal BBQ ready to cook on?

Simply wait until at least two-thirds of your charcoal has turned white, and the charcoal has ceased smoking, before you get cooking!   

How to keep heat in a charcoal BBQ 

  • -Allow enough time for it to heat up in the first place – about 10 to 15 minutes with the lid on is ideal, before placing anything on the cooking grates.
  • -Keep the barbecue’s lid vents fully open. 
  • -Using fresh charcoal that is neither damp nor too old.  
  • -Only using good-quality fuel. 
  • -Checking, before you start, that there isn’t any leftover ash.

Anyone can learn how to cook up a storm in their garden! All it takes is a couple of tips and a guiding hand. For the aftermath of your barbecue party, take a look at our blog pieces regarding the cleanliness and upkeep of your BBQ.

With us, you’ll be a BBQ master in no time at all.