Earth Day Tailgating: FireJel Charcoal & Firewood Starter

Last year we brought you Tailgating Green with the Environment in Mind, as a tribute to Earth Day and eco-friendly tailgating. That post was quite popular and was the inspiration for Andrew Lovett of WTMD to bring me on as a guest to discuss environmentally friendly tailgating. So in honor of today, Earth Day, I am bringing you a product review of another environmentally friendly tailgating item called FireJel. FireJel is a safer, lighter and more compact alternative to lighter fluid that burns hotter, longer and leaves no residue behind. Check out their video below to see how it works.


If you chose to skip the video here is what FireJel is all about. FireJel is a corn-based fire starter that eliminates the danger and smell of lighter fluid, the blinding smoke that accompanies newspaper used under charcoals and the putrid taste pre-soaked charcoals leave on food. Since it is a corn alcohol-based fuel gel, it is a renewable energy source and much more environmentally friendly than petroleum based lighter fluids. It’s use has been approved by the State of California, known for its strict air quality regulations and has been approved for use as a charcoal lighter. Two ounces of gel are all you will need for about 15 minutes of burn time which is plenty long enough to get your charcoal started. FireJel comes supplied in a mini-tub made of a candle wax material which burns away in the process. Think of FireJel kind of like Sterno Canned Heat that consumes its own container without leaving any residue on your charcoal to transfer to your food.

Outside of being good for the environment and your grilled food tasting better, here are a few more benefits of FireJel:

  • Safer – Will not flare up.
  • Easy – Lights first time every time.
  • Timing – Coal readiness can be predicted. Meal time can be scheduled.
  • Reliable – Flame will not blow out – no need to “jump start” a fire.
  • Convenient – Small enough to take anywhere. Great for tailgating.
  • Non Toxic – Unlike lighter fluid.
  • Economical – One 2 oz tub does the work of 9-10 oz of lighter fluid.
  • Environmentally Friendly – No petrochemicals released into the air.

As a tailgater that shuns lighter fluid and only uses starter sticks, why should you make the switch to FireJel and ditch the sticks? Starter sticks are generally made of sawdust and paraffin wax which always generate soot. This soot gets on the grill grate even if you haven’t put your food down on it yet and affects the taste of food when it goes down later. Starter Sticks are generally lighter in weight and contain less fuel than FireJel. FireJel burns much hotter and will light charcoal and firewood much faster and more evenly. You can place your food on the grill at anytime with FireJel, whereas with starter sticks you have to be sure that they are completely burned out if you want to avoid putting the taste or smell of wax and sawdust into your food or in the air.

I did my own test of FireJel and tried it out on my Bubba Keg Grill. Check out the video to see how it performed for me.


Looking at FireJel strictly for tailgating purposes, there are two major advantages. Outside of the obvious lack of “fuel flavor” transfer to your food and the minimal impact on the environment, FireJel tubs are sealed with a protective plastic lid and heat-shrink band. That can’t be said for a bottle of lighter fluid and if the top is not properly secured, it could tip over on your way to the stadium and spill fluid all over your car. Also, FireJel tubs are smaller and more compact than a bottle of lighter fluid. The FireJel tubs will take up less room in your tailgating vehicle which leaves more room for more important stuff.

FireJel sells for less than a dollar per tub and can be purchased in a box of three. Master cartons hold 24 individual boxes of Firejel. If you are a tailgater that loves the taste of food grilled using charcoal you definitely need to check out FireJel. Overall it is a better product than lighter fluid or starter sticks and I would highly recommend this product.

For more information or to purchase FireJel, visit their official website at