It's grilling season, and that means delicious food with a smoky flavor! However, if you want to make the most of the summer weather and host outdoor barbeques, there's something very important you need to know: how to use a charcoal grill. Knowing how to use a charcoal grill correctly means that you'll be able to safely control the heat produced and maintain the grill so that your purchase lasts and your food is charred to perfection.
If you've never used a charcoal grill, the thought of operating one might sound intimidating. Don't worry: we're here to help.
In this blog, we'll guide you through everything you need to know about charcoal grilling. You'll be feeling like a grill master in no time at all. Now let's get started!
Step 1: Measuring the Coals
While it might seem obvious, the first thing you need to understand about using a charcoal grill is the charcoal itself. Charcoal is the fuel of charcoal grills, meaning you need the proper amount of charcoal briquettes before you begin cooking.
But exactly how much charcoal to use?
Well, the amount of charcoal depends on the size of your grill and what you are cooking, as some foods require low heat while others require high heat. For example, steaks and other thin cuts of meat need a scorching grill, while chicken, vegetables, and fish require medium heat. If you're cooking pork ribs or larger roasts, you'll need a low heat (between 250 to 350 F).
A hot grill will require about 6 quarts of charcoal (about 100 briquettes), a medium grill between 3 and 4.5 quarts of charcoal, and a low grill of 1.5 to 2 quarts.
Step 2: Lighting the Coals
The next thing you need to know is how to get your charcoal grill going. If you don't have lighter fluid, don't worry. There are several ways you can light your charcoal grill without lighter fluid, such as the charcoal chimney starter method, the fire starter method, using paper and kindling, or using an electric charcoal starter.
However, by far, the fastest and easiest way to light charcoal is with the RocketFire Torch.
This amazing device has the ability to produce lit coals or wood in just a matter of seconds. Yes, it's that good.
Considered the most advanced fire starter, there's no need to find matches, gather kindling, or buy lighter fluid. Its Tri-Flame Cone Tip offers even flame distribution, allowing it to light faster and consistently, and the stainless tip spreads flames further than ever. Without a doubt, it's a must-have for your next summer barbeque. We promise, your taste buds will thank you!
Step 3: Preparing the Cooking Grate
While the coals are lighting on your charcoal grill, it's time to clean and oil the cooking grate. This involves brushing and scraping away any cooked debris from your previous grilling session. You want to ensure the grill grates are as clean as possible. To prevent food from sticking, you can oil the grill grate by brushing it with a paper towel moistened with cooking oil such as vegetable oil.
Step 4: Adjusting the Vents
You may need to adjust the vents accordingly to get the perfect grilling temperature for your food. Cooking temperatures will vary depending on what you're planning to eat. For most meats, aim to keep the temperature around 300 F. If the grill temperature starts to drop too low, slide the top vents open slightly for a higher cooking temperature.
Step 5: Cooking your Food
It's time to start the grilling process! If you're grilling ribs or burgers, lay your meat on the grill grates, close the lid, and ensure the bottom vents remain open. You can keep the top vents closed. To make sure the heat spreads evenly, slightly open or close the top vents as needed.
If you plan to cook steaks, sear them for 3 minutes per side, then reduce the heat to medium-low and continue cooking until they reach their desired level of doneness. Grilled asparagus other veggies, pizza, eggs, and even bread are other great food options for your charcoal grill.
How Do I Control the Heat?
As we mentioned earlier, you can control the charcoal grilling temperature by controlling the flow of oxygen through opening and closing the vents. Most charcoal grills have at least one vent on the underside of the bowl, along with one on the lid.
Charcoal grills are designed to pull cool air in through the air vents on the bottom, circulate it around, and then expel smoke and hot air through the upper vents. For the hottest fire possible, keep the upper and lower vents open all the way. If you need medium heat, close the top vent halfway. Keep the top vent open a quarter of the way for low temperatures. Make sure you keep the vents closed, or your fire will go out.
Cleaning your Charcoal Grill
When you finish using your charcoal grill, close the lid and the vents. You can then enjoy the delicious food you just made while the grill starts to cool down. After about an hour, you can return to the grill and remove any ash.
Feel free to leave any unburned charcoal to reuse for next time.
All you have to do now is cover the charcoal grill, store it, and repeat the whole process for your next barbecue. That's it!
We hope you've found this guide on lighting a charcoal grill helpful. If you have any questions about grilling or using the RocketFire Torch, our knowledgeable team would be happy to help you. Please feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns. Happy grilling!