Can You Use Gasoline to Start A Grill? (Better Alternatives)

There have been lots of speculations on people using gasoline to start a grill, and you really shouldn’t do that.

It is easy to lay your hands on some gasoline but do not assume it works for a grill, this can lead to an explosion. You do need a lighter fluid for your charcoal grill and to stay on the safe side of things, you need to learn which one won’t cause an explosion.

In short: No, you can’t and shouldn’t use gasoline as a starter light liquid for your grill. The liquid lighter you choose for your grill is essential and gasoline is not on the list of ideal ones. Gasoline is a high volatile fluid, and it can be really dangerous as a starter lighter so do not use it to start a grill.

The moment you buy your grill, you need to learn that not every fluid liquid can be used. Gasoline should not be on the list of anything you consider using in your grill. There are quite a lot of factors you want to consider if you want to keep your grill healthy and safe.

Most grills come with instructions on what their fuel source should be, and it’s best to go with that. However, the fuel source can determine how the smoke flavor of your meat turns out. Let’s shed some light on the use of gasoline and the alternatives you should be using.

weber grill image

Using Gasoline For Gas Grills

Gasoline is a type of fuel that is made from crude oil and petroleum liquids.

In Europe and some Asian countries, it is simply called petrol. However, it is an energy secondary fuel which also means it can be just as explosive as fuel if caution is not taken. It is mainly used as fuel in vehicles.

There are quite a lot of misconceptions about what you can use gasoline for. This liquid fuel has been around for centuries and in the past, it was simply discarded until vehicles were made. Now it is not just for vehicles alone, below are the uses of gasoline.

  • Use in powering small outboard marine engines
  • Handheld landscaping tools such as hedge trimmers, chain saws, and leaf blowers
  • To power the majority of light trucks, motorcycles, cars, and sport utility vehicles
  • Electricity generator
  • Recreational vehicles.

Can You Use Gasoline to Start A Grill?

You should never use gasoline to start a grill under any circumstances. Gasoline is a very high volatile liquid and this can be very dangerous if you ignite your grill with it.

Most people simply avoid gasoline for its smell and although it can be pretty useful ins some ways, igniting your grill is not one of them.

Gasoline is not a great option for igniting charcoal briquettes either. It burns fast which will only leave you with a gnarly smell and undone barbecue too. Thankfully, you don’t have to use gasoline anywhere near your grill as we have listed better alternatives for you below.

1. Paraffin Starter

Paraffin Starter
Source: Cook’s Illustrated

A paraffin starter is not as common as it ought to be. This is environmentally safe and a far better alternative to gasoline. With a paraffin starter, you can prevent a fire outbreak and also get a smokeless light to smoke your meat.

It is very easy to use, you just need to place a few pieces of paraffin under the mound of charcoal and light. This type of fire starter is nontoxic which also means it will impact no taste or flavor in your cooking.

2. Lighter Fluid

Lighter fluids or light fuel have been used for starting barbecue charcoal grills for a long time. This is also known as butane and since it is less flammable than gasoline, it’s a much better alternative for starting your grill. However, you still need to be extremely careful with it.

3. Grill Gun

A grill gun is another very reliable way you can start your grill. With a grill gun, there is no need for any additional liquid fuel or gadgets, it lights your grill easily, and you can sear your meat in no time. This is quite expensive though.

4. Chimney Starter

A Chimney starter is another way you can start your grill safely and conveniently. It is designed for charcoal grills, it is meant to get your charcoal hot and ready to cook anything in 25 minutes. Below is how to use a chimney starter.

  • Take out the cooking grate from your grill
  • Next is to fill your chimney starter with charcoal to the brim
  • Light with a long match or lighter
  • Let it get your charcoal hot for 20 minutes or less, and check regularly for smoke
  • When it’s ready, pour the coal directly on your grill and set the grate back in place.

5. Natural Gas

Natural gas is meant for gas grills, and they are quite fast and affordable.

You simply have to pump your gas grill with natural gas, and it does last depending on how often you grill. This type of fuel should ensure you have fun grilling since it’s convenient but note that you won’t be getting that smoky flavor in your meat.

6. Lighter Cubes

Grill Trade Fire Starter Squares 144, Easy Burn Your BBQ Grill, Camping Fire, Wood Stove, Smoker Pellets, Lump Charcoal, Fireplace -- Fire Cubes are The Best Barbeque Accessories -- 100% All Natural

Lighter cubes also burn well and are even a better alternative since it’s natural and non-toxic.

This is also very easy to use, just disperse the fuel on your coals and allow it to soak in for a few minutes before lighting. It is odorless, and you don’t have to add any substance to make it burn.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions and answers for more understanding.

Can I light up the charcoal with gasoline?

No, gasoline is highly explosive, so you shouldn’t be using it to start charcoal grills or any type of grills. It evaporates fast too, so kerosene will be a better alternative in this case.

Can you use vegetable oil instead of lighter fluid?

Yes, you can use vegetable oil instead of lighter fluid, although it won’t burn as fast it’s effective. It can’t cause a grease fire, simply roll some newspaper and put it in vegetable oil to light your grill.

Is lighter fluid and gasoline the same?

Both are similar but different components. Lighter fluid is a more common option for grills and although it burns fast too but not as flammable as gasoline. The main purpose of gasoline is to ignite a vehicle, but lighter fluids are low weight and won’t start a car.

Which is safer butane or propane?

Both are safer and better for the environment. However, butane is found to burn cleaner and odorless smoke compared to propane. Propane and butane can be burned indoors, however butane requires care and a bit of ventilation.

Final Thoughts

You need to be cautious no matter the method or liquid lighter you choose for your grill.

If you are going to ignite your grill successfully and also prevent tainting your food, you should avoid gasoline completely and not try even a drop of it on your grill. In addition, they are also solid fuels like coal and biomass that can be used in starting your grill.

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