There are several ways to ignite charcoal briquets for developing a bed of embers for cooking – whether in the home barbie or over a campfire. While many types of starters can be used: fluid, self-lighting charcoal or setting briquets atop kindling/paper, there’s a simple way to both pack/carry the briquets and get them starting all by using the same container – an egg carton.
While it’s hardly a chore to carry briquets and use newspaper or kindling to get them going, but if you are looking for a cleaner way to handling the dusty little chunks (or getting that self-lighting smell all over your fingers) – and lighting them – the egg carton method works well.
The paper carton in which eggs are packaged can cradle a dozen briquets as easily as it does eggs, and 12 briquets can produce an adequate amount of embers for most meal preparations. Fill the container with briquets, close the lid and stow it away with your kitchen gear.
If you have some paraffin around, you can melt it and let the paper carton absorb some of it. Later when you are lighting it, the wax-impregnated paper will light quickly and extend the burn time of the carton as it ignites the charcoal.
In camp, set the filled carton in your fire ring, lite the corners and edges and let the fire slowly engulf the carton and begin to ignite the briquets inside – taking about ten minutes for all the coals to start smoldering. This self-contained fire starter can be doing its job while you complete other camp tasks.
A smaller, 6-egg carton can also be used as a base starter for your campfire as well. Just ignite the carton, and once it starts, you can add kindling without needing tinder (twigs, newspaper, etc.) to get your bigger campfire going.
The briquet-loaded egg carton is just one more simple, no-fuss; no-muss campsite task to consider when heading out for a few nights under the stars.