Charcoal is one of the best fuels for an outdoor grill. Heat control, a rich and smoky flavor, and convenience are just some of the reasons why people prefer charcoal.
Use these tips to keep your charcoal grill lit for long cooking sessions at any temperature.
Start With Quality Charcoal
One of the most important elements of keeping a charcoal grill lit is starting with the right fuel.
Quality charcoal will burn cleaner and for longer, with fewer issues like inconsistent heat spots. Don’t go for charcoal at the lowest price.
A few dollars extra for a mid-range product will make cooking much easier.
Use a Charcoal Starter
The biggest problem for beginners is actually getting the grill lit. A charcoal starter makes this easy.
All you have to do is line a chimney with paper towels at the bottom, fill it with charcoal, light it, and then wait for ten minutes for the coals to start burning.
Once you empty the starter chimney into your grill, all of the coals will be burning evenly, giving you the best starting point.
You don’t need to use lighter fluid with a chimney starter, so you won’t have any lingering odors or chemical flavors.
Redistribute the Coals
If your coals go gray around the edges, they’re not burning properly. If you see this, remove the cooking grate with heavy-duty tongs, and stir the coals around.
This will redistribute them and allow for optimal airflow.
If your coals are burning down and turning to ash over a longer cooking session, top them up. The best way to do this is by using a charcoal starter again.
Alternatively, you can add coals directly into the firebox, but it will take longer to get them up to temperature. Make sure you distribute new coals evenly
Making Use of Your Grill Vents
You’ll need to use your grill vents to keep a charcoal grill lit. Opening the vents allows more air, and therefore oxygen, into the firebox. Adjusting the vents will control the heat.
- If coals aren’t burning well, open the vents. This will increase the intensity of the heat.
- When starting your charcoal grill, have vents open to the maximum position, and then gradually close them until you have the desired heat.
- If topping up, use the vents until coals are burning evenly and you reach your ideal cooking temperature.
These simple tips will make outdoor grilling easy this summer and in the seasons to come. Over time, you won’t even need to think about keeping your grill lit.