- Choosing your style of charcoal
When it comes to charcoal there are several different styles. The most popular options are lump, charcoal briquettes and hardwood briquettes. While they are all similar each of these have its own pros and cons depending on your needs. We will go into further detail on the specifics of each in another post.
- How to light a charcoal grill
A charcoal chimney is the preferred method for lighting your charcoal regardless of what type you chose. A charcoal chimney is essentially a metal cylinder that you dump the coals into. You begin by lighting a fire beneath them to eventually ignite all the coals in the chimney. Once the coals are all lit you can dump them into the grill to begin cooking.
- Prepping your grill
Once your coals are lit, it is time to place them in the bottom of your grill. If you want a more direct heat for faster cooking, spread them evenly across the grill. If you are looking for a slower cook time, pile the charcoal to one side and designate a cool zone to one side of the grill. Direct heat is best for food that take less than 25 minutes to cook. Indirect is best for food that takes a longer time to cook. Often a combination of both is needed for food that needs to be seared on direct heat before it cooked by indirect heat.
- Ensuring your grates are clean
Once you have your coals ready, you want to ensure the grill grates are clean. Make sure there are no lingering residue from the last time you used the grill. First scrape or wipe down the grills. Then you are ready to place them over the coals. Next, you may use a nonstick spray or an onion to keep food from sticking to the grates.
- Add food!
Now you are ready to add your food. You may wait a few minutes to let the grates get nice and hot. This helps ensure the food doesn’t stick and creates a good sear. Depending on what you are cooking, you may need to cover the grill to ensure that the temperature gets high enough and holds the heat. Also, this will help with keeping your coals from burning out too fast. Most charcoal grills have several vents and dampers to help control the heat. Remember to check the temperature of your food to make certain it’s properly cooked before removing and enjoying.
- Cleaning up
Once you remove the food close the lid and let everything cool down while you enjoy your meal.Once everything has burned out and cooled down, you can use a metal shovel/scoop to remove the ash from the bottom of the grill. It is good practice to soak in water before disposing the ashes to ensure they are completely expelled.