Grilling For Dummies: A Pack That Takes The Guesswork Out Of Lighting Charcoal

Based on the traditional metal chimney, this all-in-one charcoal setup is designed to be thrown on the grill and set aflame.

For those only casually familiar with grilling, just getting started can be a daunting obstacle—from stacking the charcoals to lighting them without setting fire to yourself, your home, or the surrounding area. A group of students at the Portfolio Center, in Atlanta, has come up with an ingenious solution that takes the guesswork out of the process: a pyramid-shaped package that you can pop on the grill and ignite.

Entered into a competition hosted by the Institute of Packaging Professionals, the Chimney Charcoal Pack was inspired by the metal charcoal chimneys traditionally used to light coal without lighter fluid. But here, you simply place the box on the grill, pull the ventilation tabs, and press in the hatch on the top before dropping a lit match down the center shaft. The match sets fire to the petal-like flaps at the base of the shaft, and the flame receives the necessary oxygen via the ventilation holes. By the time the paper shell burns up, the white coals settle into position and are ready for grilling.

"We wanted to target the casual camper who goes camping maybe once or twice a year and wants a hassle-free camping experience," team member Michael DiCristina tells Co.Design. "This is someone who may not personally own a grill and wants to be able to enjoy their camping experience without extra bulk or waste." We’re taken with the idea of toting the pack to our neighborhood park and grilling up a picnic. Now we hope Kingsford goes ahead and produces it.

[Team: Michael DiCristina, Chris Yoon, Peter Smith, Meredith Morten, Blake Sanders, Vivian Rodriguez; photos by Chris Yoon; H/T The Dieline]

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  • Benjamin Simerly

    Its a sick sad day when the American citizen cannot handle buying charcoal in a bag to perform a task as central to life as cooking food.  Kingsford, I applaud your product on a regular asis in my background, but Wag of the Finger to your new and frankly degrading to the American culture product.  Although I gotta say, its pretty innovative and well thought out from a physical standpoint. 

  • Joshua Bennie

    So products that make life easier for average consumers are insults to culture?


  • Tim Anderson

    From a design perspective, I think the product is pretty neat and I can see it making the lives of some folks easier. Lots of people have issues getting their coals going.
    However, as a guy that likes grilling & smoking I have to sort laugh at anybody who uses this and demand they fork over their man card and refrain from touching a grill until they can properly use charcoal.