Grilling Tips - The Ultimate Guide to a Delicious Backyard BBQ

Charcoal Grill Tips from a Real Pro


Charcoal or gas? Well, it really depends on your preference. If you want to have the smoky goodness of the food, then go for charcoal grilling. Here are some tips that you can use if it’s your first time to grill using charcoals.

Know where to grill. It is important that you find the right place where you want to show off your grilling-on-charcoal techniques. Look for a palce where it is safe to light the coals. You should watch out for windy areas or in open spaces where any free-falling debris can decide to drop by. Distance the grill from materials that can easily catch fire. Proper ventilation is a must!

Prepare your grilling artillery! Alright, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. But hey, better be ready with the tools! Obviously, you need charcoals. More is better definitely than less. General rule would dictate 25-30 charcoal briquettes per pound of meat for direct cooking.

Ready, Aim, Fire! Yes, fire. Lighting a charcoal fire can be easy if you know how. Place the coals in a pyramid shape 20-30 minutes before cooking. There are many ways on how to light the fire. With the use of lighter liquid, you need to soak the coals with ½ cup of fluid. Let the coals absorb it for at least one minute then use a match to light it. Gasoline or kerosene is a big NO-NO! Other options can include electric starter and chimney starter.

Waiting will pay off. Give it 20-30 minutes after lighting the coals. This is just the right time duration to make sure it’s hot enough for the food you’ll be experimenting on later. Kidding. If you need a higher temperature, grill the food when some of the coals are still red. For lower temperatures, grill the food when the coals are already covered with thick ashes.

Which way – Direct or Indirect? For hotdogs, steaks and hamburgers, cook them directly over the hot coals. This means, you need to place the meat on the grill bars, putting them in a directly above the coals. If you’re dealing with chicken, roasts, hams, turkeys or any other large pieces of meat, use indirect cooking for better cooking. Indirect means dividing the coals into two equal mounds and placing a drip pan or aluminum foil in between. The meat will be placed in the center of the grill and not directly above the charcoal. Don’t forget to close the lid!

Cleanliness is next to godliness even in grilling. Let it cool first before cleaning it up. Do not procrastinate even when you’re full and all you want to do is sleep or lazily watch whatever on the tv. Clean it immediately by emptying out the accumulated ashes at the bottom of the grill every time you use it. Do not pour cold water on the hot grill to make it last longer. If you have some remaining coals, store them in a dry area and keep the bag closed to avoid wasted charcoals. Happy charcoal grilling!


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