How to use a charcoal grill properly

This is a detailed guide that will help you understand the right way to cook on a grill:

Important Reminders Before You Start Grilling:

  1. Make sure your grill is clean and the vents are working
  2. Find a safe place to grill. The grill needs to be stable so it won’t tip over
  3. Charcoal grills produce carbon dioxide, which is toxic. Don’t use indoors
  4. Use gloves so you don’t get burned when handling hot tongs
  5. Prepare the necessary utensils for flipping the food
  6. Find something to move the coals around, like a stick or long tong
  7. Use non-chemical materials to help light the coals
  8. A smoking charcoal fire is not good for grilling

Lighting the Charcoal Grill:

After reading the reminders above and preparing what you will need, you can start creating your fire.

Calculate how much charcoal you need to cook your meat. You will need less for food that is easily cooked and more for slow cooking food like roasts. Pour the charcoal into your grill and pile them in the center like a mound. You can put a newspaper under the charcoal or pour lighter fluid on the charcoal to help build a fire that will burn the charcoal faster. Use a long match or lighter to ignite the charcoal. Let it burn until the flame dies and you can see the charcoals smoldering.

Cooking on a Charcoal Grill:

Arrange the charcoal into a layer under the grill. Mix the charcoal so that the unlit ones are beside those that are already smoldering, for an even heat. Once white ash is visible on most of the coals, you can start cooking. Note that during the day, you will notice the white ash more than the redness of the coals. It normally takes 15-30 minutes for your coals to be ready. Close the lid so you can sterilize and help burn off any bacteria left over on the grill. Use a steel brush or grill brush to scrape off any char from your last cooking session. Now, your grill is clean, your fire is smoldering and you are ready to cook.

Arrange your meat on top of the grate. Some meat requires less cooking time than others. You can find a meat grilling guide below. It will give you an idea how long you need to cook your meat. Take note that food needs to be defrosted thoroughly before you grill it. Once your meat is in place, marinate it if needed and close the lid. Keep a timer or alarm in hand to monitor the cooking time. Note that constant flipping will make your meat dry and it will not cook properly. Limit the flips to just two flips until it is cooked. Once cooked, let the meat rest for 20 minutes before slicing. Check our guide to different grilling techniques.

Meat Grilling Guide:

Chicken Breasts – 8 to 12 minutes, turn once Beef Patties (1/2 to ” thick) – 10 to 15 minutes, turn once Boneless Steak (1/2 to 1″ thick) – 7 to 14 minutes for medium rare / 12 to 18 minutes. for medium, turning once Hotdogs – If precooked, 4 minutes, turn frequently Lamb Chops (1/2 to 1″ thick) – 12 to 15 minutes, turn once Fish Fillets – 4 to 6 minutes per ? of thickness, turn once Pork Chop (1/2 to 1″ thick) – Grill until slightly pink in the center. 12 to 16 minutes Shrimp – 5 to 7 minutes

Cleaning your Charcoal Grill:

After cooking, wait until the grill has cooled down enough to be handled. Remove the grates. Scoop up the remaining charcoal if it can still be used. If not, scoop the ashes and throw it away. Make sure not to do it when it’s windy so you don’t accidentally inhale the ashes.

While the grate is still a little warm, use a grill brush and scrape off the burnt food that stuck to the grate. Wash it and let it dry before returning to the grill. If you have a hose, you can hose down the inside of the grill every once in a while so the grime won’t build up. Grime can burn the next time you cook and it will affect the taste of your food.

How to use a charcoal grill properly

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