Charcoal Grilling Guide

Getting Fired Up About Charcoal Grilling

Let’s be honest, nothing quite beats a juicy burger or perfectly charred steak cooked over live charcoal grills. There’s just something about that smoky, grilled flavor that gas and electric grills can’t truly replicate. But while charcoal grilling can take your cookouts to the next level, it does require some extra knowledge and technique to really master the art.

In this post, I’ll chat about the ins and outs of charcoal grills so you can take your skills from novice to pro backyard chef. Think of me as your guide for getting the most out of this traditional and delicious cooking method.

Picking Your Charcoal Grills

When it comes to charcoal grills, you definitely don’t need the fanciest or most expensive model to cook like a champ. Affordable charcoal grills and classic options like the Weber Kettle and Char-Griller E22424 will get the job done on a budget. I’m also a big fan of portable grills like the Weber Jumbo Joe and Go Anywhere for killer tailgates and campouts.

One accessory that’s absolutely essential? A charcoal chimney starter. Using one of these bad boys means you can skip the chemicals and light your coals quickly and easily every time. My recommendations are the Weber Rapidfire, Lodge cast iron, and Bsocool chimneys. Trust me, they’re grilling game-changers.

Selecting Fuel for Charcoal Grills

Now let’s talk about what goes into that grill, the charcoal itself. While standard briquettes work fine, I suggest going for the best lump charcoal if you want longer burn times, more heat, and less ashy mess. Brands like Fogo, Rockwood, Jealous Devil, and Kamado Joe are all excellent.

You can also choose between lump charcoal vs briquettes or add a touch of wood pellets to your charcoal grill, soaked first of course, to impart a hint of smoky deliciousness. It’s all about layering flavors, folks.

Grilling Like a Pro

Once you’ve got your gear and fuel ready, it’s time for the fun part, firing up those coals! Chimney starters make it fast and easy. Other options include elect

ric starters, propane torches, or even my favorite the snake method where you arrange lit coals in a line for controlled heating.

Managing the grill’s air vents is crucial for maintaining your ideal temp. It takes some trial and error, so don’t sweat it if your first few attempts don’t go perfectly. If you’re having trouble getting the charcoals hot, check for things like bad airflow, overcrowding,  old charcoal, or too much ash buildup.

Finishing Strong

When your epic feasts are done, make sure to safely extinguish those remaining hot coals. Close up those vents to choke off the oxygen or use them cautiously with water once the coals have died down.

Used charcoal can be reused if it still looks fresh. Just give it a quick sift first to remove ash and debris. Know how much charcoal to use, generally around 100 briquettes or 4-6 lbs of lump charcoal for a standard 22” grill.

Let’s Get Grilling!

It may take some practice, but the smoky, seared, mouthwatering results are so worth it. I hope these tips help you grill like a pro. Now who’s ready for a juicy burger?


Frequently Asked Questions

What type of charcoal is best?

Lump charcoal burns hotter, more evenly, and with less ash than standard briquettes. Top brands are Fogo, Rockwood, Jealous Devil, and Kamado Joe.

Do I need an expensive grill?

Not at all! Affordable charcoal grills like the Weber Kettle or Char-Griller E22424 perform very well. Portable picks are the Weber Jumbo Joe and Go Anywhere.

How do I light the charcoal?

A chimney starter allows fast, easy lighting without chemicals. You can also use electric starters, propane torches, or the snake method.

Why isn’t my grill getting hot enough?

Check for poor ventilation, bad fuel, excessive ash buildup, overcrowding, or weather conditions making it hard to heat up.

What’s the best way to put out the coals?

Close the vents to cut off oxygen and let the coals die out naturally. Once cooled, carefully douse with water.

Can I reuse charcoal?

Yes, reused charcoal is fine if the remaining pieces are still fresh and black. Sift out the ash first.

How much charcoal do I need?

Use around 100 briquettes or 4-6 lbs lump charcoal for a standard 22” grill. Adjust amounts as needed.


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