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Charcoal & Lighting

Q: How much Charcoal do I need to achieve maximum temperature?
A: To achieve maximum temperature, TOPQ grill Kamados require no more than four quarts of lump charcoal. This is equivalent to filling your fire bowl approximately one inch above the air holes that are located in the bottom third of the fire bowl. A common error is adding too much charcoal. Lump size will affect how long the charcoal burns, so you'll need to experiment and become familiar with the amount of charcoal needed if you're grilling for one hour versus smoking for eight hours.

Q: What type of Charcoal is best?
A: To achieve the best results, it is recommended to use lump charcoal for lighting ease, longer/hotter burning, and reuse. We recommend using TOPQ grill 100% natural lump charcoal. WARNING: DO NOT USE LIGHTER FLUID TO IGNITE CHARCOAL. Ceramic grills will absorb lighter fluid and retain the smell and flavour.

Charcoal is the foundation to achieving grilling perfection and the charcoal you select will directly affect fire quality, temperature control and flavour profile. Briquettes are essentially saw dust compounded with additives, binders and chemicals to promote lighting. Lump charcoal is produced from chunks of hardwood, the purest form of charcoal.

To create lump charcoal, chunks of hardwood are charred through in an oxygen free environment to eliminate the need for chemical additives which often cause flavour transfer. Lump charcoal burns 3-4 times hotter than briquettes and un-burned lump charcoal can be re-ignited for future use. Lump charcoal delivers superior temperature control and the ability to create unique flavour profiles with the availability in different wood types including hickory, oak, mesquite, apple, and others. While lump charcoal can cost up to 30% more than briquettes it is important to know that less lump charcoal is required to achieve the same temperature as briquettes. Since lump charcoal extinguishes on shut down, opposed to briquettes that fully burn during each grilling session, you will realise 50%-65% more burn time from lump compared to briquettes.

Q: Can Charcoal be reused?
A: Only lump charcoal may be reused. After shutting down your Kamado, the remaining lump charcoal can be restarted. As a result you will use less lump charcoal compared to briquettes. TOPQ grill 100% natural lump charcoal contains no chemicals. After all draft vents are closed, the charcoal burn will starve of oxygen and become extinguished.

Q: How do I start my TOPQ Grill?
A: Please watch our video
here for step by step instructions on lighting your TOPQ Grill.

The TOPQ Grill Professional Series patent pending ProZone is equipped with an integrated electric starter port for quick lighting and even burn. Simply fill the interior fire bowl ½ way with your preferred lump charcoal, slide the heating element into the starter port and plug in. Igniting from the bottom of the lump charcoal load will promote quicker, even, ignition (fire burns up) and superior temperature control.

While the TOPQ grill B-Series Classic is not designed with the integrated ProZone, the same lighting efficiency and precision temperature control can be achieved with a few tips. Like the TOPQ grill Professional Series, the key to enjoying quick charcoal ignition and an even fire is to ignite as close to the bottom of the charcoal load as possible. Igniting the bottom of the charcoal load on the TOPQ grill B-Series Classic can be accomplished in several ways.

  1. An angled electric heating element, which is designed to be placed at the bottom of the charcoal load, plugged in and ignition should occur within 8-10 minutes.
  2. A second option is to use a hand held torch with automatic ignition that can be purchased at most major home improvement retailers. Simply create a crater in the centre of the charcoal load with a small shovel or other tool, point the flame at several pieces of charcoal until embering and fold the perimeter charcoal on top of the ignited pieces.
  3. Create a crater in the centre of the charcoal load, place lighter blocks (available at most major home improvement retailers) in the centre and ignite.

Q: Can I use lighter fluid to light charcoal?
A: DO NOT USE LIGHTER FLUID to ignite charcoal for use in a TOPQ grill Kamado. The ceramic construction promotes heat and moisture retention and will absorb lighter fluid, causing unsavoury flavour and odours.

Q: Can I use cut wood in my TOPQ grill Kamado?
A: Cut wood is an excellent fuel source for a TOPQ Grill. While lump charcoal will deliver the highest performance, quickest ignition and temperature control flexibility, cut wood can be used as a fuel source. It is important to use wood that has dried and cured sufficiently and NOT require any accelerants (lighter fluid) to ignite. Lighter fluid or any other liquid accelerant should NEVER be used in a TOPQ Grill since the ceramic may absorb these liquids resulting in undesirable odors and flavors.


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