There’s nothing quite favor the taste of food grilled over charcoal. However, firing increase a charcoal grill can be a challenge and there are definitely some points you should know. But it’s really not that tricky to gain a charcoal grill started when you recognize how. And it’s entirely worth it.

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Our guide to starting your charcoal grill will offer you a couple different methods for lighting your charcoal fast. You’ll discover what that takes to keep your charcoal hot for searing, just how to keep low temps for sluggish cooking and also keep the fire burning because that hours. We’ll answer your most generally asked questions and link you come the commodities that make charcoal grilling a whole lot easier.

Keeping her grill clean and your grates well-oiled it is provided the best tasting food and prevents the from sticking. The will additionally make your grill last longer and also prevent grease fires. So, prior to you obtain started,clean your grill thoroughly. Remove any kind of ash or grease left behind indigenous the last time girlfriend grilled and also wipe under the grate(s) through fresh food preparation oil.

Clean her grill grates through agrill brushbefore and also after use. Scrub the interior monthly and detail the interior and exterior at the very least every season.


There are numerous different varieties of charcoal and also it deserve to be confusing. While the charcoal you usage doesn’t really impact the flavor, that does impact the warmth produced and also how lengthy the coals stay hot. But when it comes right down come it, charcoal is available in two basic forms; lump charcoal and briquettes.

Lump charcoal, a favorite amongst grilling purists, has actually a much more natural composition. It’s generally made indigenous cherry, coconut shells, mesquite and tamarind. Since it’s not compressed like briquettes, it often tends to burn hotter and faster. It’s additionally less ashy. It’s challenging to layer bump charcoal evenly, therefore grillers tend to usage lump charcoal because that low and slow BBQ, prefer pork, ribs and also brisket.

Briquettes are made generally of sawdust, v binding ingredients included to kind their pillow shape. The uniform dimension of briquettes provides you a standard unit of fuel, make it simpler to manage a more precise fire. Briquettes burn a small less warm than bump charcoal and experts have tendency to use briquettes for foodstuffs that need less cooking time, choose steak or fish.

One method to acquire some that the services of lump charcoal there is no the border is to construct a combined fire: some briquettes and also some lump. This will aid you gain a hot fire for searing and still maintain much more consistent warmth for longer-cooking times.

The charcoal you pick primarily results the intensity and also evenness of her heat. Whichever form you decide on, usage a high quality charcoal, favor ourcentercut lump charcoal. It burns cleanly and also is uniform in size and also quality for trusted results every time.

HOT TIP:The size and shape of your grill will identify the quantity of charcoal you’ll use. Inspect your owner’s hand-operated to check out what is recommended.

When working through charcoal,the straightforward ruleis the an ext coal girlfriend use, the hotter your fire. A great rule of thumb is about 30 briquettes for smaller or portable grills and also 50 to 75 briquettes for larger barrel and Kettleman grills. You’ll need more charcoal ~ above cold, publicly or merganser days.

You carry out not need an extremely much charcoal when you’re food preparation food choose burgers, warm dogs and brats that are far better cooked at moderate heat. A single layer of coals across the bottom will work well. When you’re searing steak, you need a hotter fire. You want to in ~ least twin the lot of charcoal, stacking it 2 to 3 high.

To keep temps short for slow-moving cooking and smoking, use much less coals and also monitor the temperature. To maintain temp and also keep the fire burning for a long cook, add coals, probably 5 at a time every 30 minutes. If you’re having trouble keeping your grill’s temperature over 200°F, litter a pair extra coals top top the fire.

Adding wood chips to your fire is a quick and easy method to switch up her recipes, infusing meat, fish and also veggies with a selection of natural wood smoke flavors.Learn moreabout how to acting meat on a charcoal grill.

The best way to arrange her charcoal relies on the form of your grill and whether you desire to grill with direct or indirect heat. You can develop the result of direct or indirect heat by setting up 2 “zones” on her charcoal grill. Basically, direct heat is top top the lit side, if indirect warmth is ~ above the unlit side.

The direct heat grilling an approach is finest for steaks, chops, hamburgers, kabobs, vegetables and food the cooks quickly. There is basically one method to arrange the coals when cooking with straight heat. Charcoal is spread out evenly throughout the charcoal grate for also heat distribution. Once the coals room lit, close the lid and also preheat because that 20 to 30 minutes.

Indirect heat is a good way to get the oven impact for roasting entirety birds, fish, huge cuts of meat and also other foodstuffs that are ideal cooked slowly. You can set up indirect cooking zones for slow cooking or smoking and to grill foodstuffs at different temperatures. Girlfriend can also use the warming rack as your indirect zone.

Once they’re hot, usetongs to reposition coals to produce indirect warm zones. Then place the cooking grate over the coals and also preheat for 20 come 30 minutes. Close the lid and also open the vent. You’ll location your food on the area that the grate through no coals under it.

HOT TIP:A light, high warmth oil on her food will aid brown her food evenly and also keep it from difficult to the food preparation grate.

For ring grills, favor theKettleman™, you deserve to arrange coals about the external edge of the charcoal grate, leaving no coals in the center.


With round,rectangularandbarrel-shapedgrills, you have the right to simply put your coals on one fifty percent of the grill and leave the various other side there is no coals.



Or you have the right to use aCharcoal Managerto set up your coals because that a sluggish burn through 3 come 7 hours of heat.


lighting her charcoal

Lighting charcoal have the right to be a an overwhelming task, particularly for new charcoal grillers. The very first step is knowing exactly how to light the coals. Here are a couple of different methods to start your charcoal that will acquire you grilling in no time.


Ready to have actually your mind blown? girlfriend don’t actually require lighter liquid to light her charcoal. And there are a couple of really an excellent reasons to skip the lighter fluid. Chief among them room fire hazard and also fumes. Lighter fluid fumes can impact the smell and also taste of your food. In addition, charcoal lighter liquid is do of one of two people petroleum (mineral spirits) or alcohol (ethanol and also methanol) which room regulated and even restricted in some areas because they have the potential of resulting in photochemical smog.

If it just doesn’t seem right to light her grill there is no lighter fluid, all we ask is the you don’t walk crazy. The most you should use is 1/4 cup of fluid per lb of charcoal. Permit the lighter liquid to soak in because that 30 seconds prior to lighting. And NEVER douse a burn fire through lighter fluid.


One the the easiest methods to recycle newspaper is to use it together a fire starter for your charcoal grill. Insert rolled up newspaper under closely-packed charcoal in several various spots. Irradiate the newspaper v a fireplace enhance or lighter. Add newspaper to the fire till it’s well-lit.

While there space several efficient methods to irradiate charcoal, using special tools can make the task easier. Below are a pair of tools that make lighting charcoal faster and easier.


Loading charcoal into acharcoal chimneyorcharcoal starterkeeps the charcoal packed with each other with room between lumps or briquettes for simple ignition. You have the right to place balled-up newspaper top top the charcoal grate and collection the chimney starter on height of the newspaper. Irradiate the newspaper with holes in the bottom that the starter. The coals will certainly be all set to cook when they’re ashy, about 15 minutes. When they’re ready, pour the charcoal onto the bottom grill grate and also spread it out with a long-handled grill tool prefer aspatulaortongs.



An electric charcoal starter is a machine with a take care of on one end and a steel loop (the heating element) on the other. Plug in the charcoal starter, using an outdoor-rated extension cord. Pack one class of charcoal close together, near the center of the grill. Location the heating aspect of theelectric charcoal starteronto the center of the pile. Put a second layer the charcoal on peak of the heater element and the bordering coals. As soon as the charcoal is well-lit, remove the charcoal starter.

Electric starters ignite coals a little more slowly than an open up flame, however when you begin your grill through an electrical charcoal starter, girlfriend won’t require lighter fluid, newspapers, matches or lighters.

Use her tongs to keep the coals together. You don’t want them so fine packed the they can"t acquire air, but you additionally don"t want them separated.

HOT TIP:Cooking temperatures on a charcoal grill are managed by opening and also closing the vents. Opened the vents feeds the fire, elevating the temperature. Close up door the vents steal the fire the oxygen, lowering the temperature.

Keep the top and bottom vents open up to obtain the sexty temperature. The an ext air you get to the fire, the hotter it will certainly cook.


Empty the ash frequently. Ash take away up space for air and will smother the coals as it builds up.


Add coals on regular basis to store your grill burn hot. Don"t wait till you"re almost out of briquettes to add more. Instead, include 5-10 piece of charcoal as soon as you have actually roughly fifty percent of her charcoals remaining, commonly every 30 minute or so.

HOT TIP:Wearing gloves while lighting charcoal will help protect her hands native the extreme heat.

frequently asked questions


The lid must be open while you arrange and light your charcoal. Once the coals are well-lit, near the lid. Many charcoal grills space hotter ideal after lighting. The warmth then tapers off.

As we said above, fire demands oxygen come burn. So, open up the lid, lid vent and also vents top top the bottom of the grill to let in air come fuel the flames. This will help oxygen reach the coals as soon as they’re lit therefore they have the right to burn hotter. Once they’re completely lit, friend can adjust the vent opening to control the cooking temperature.

The an essential to light charcoal quick is arranging the charcoal close enough together to spread out the fire to nearby coals and also leave enough room between coals because that air circulation to feeding the fire v oxygen. An additional factor that affects rapid lighting is making use of old charcoal or charcoal that’s to be exposed come wet weather— always use new charcoal.

Since fire needs oxygen come burn, one method to make charcoal start quicker is to boost the air flow. You deserve to use a hair dryer or other machine that blows wait to fan the flames.

For optimum results, offer your grill enough time to preheat, generally roughly 20 come 30 minutes for the briquettes to be ready.

The coals are ready as soon as at least 2/3 of the outer surface transforms white and the inside glows red/orange. When they rotate to ash, castle will continue to put out warm for a while.

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