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Top Tips Show How to Cook on a Charcoal Grill


Learning how to cook on a charcoal grill required skills for any outdoor cook. Grilling with charcoal takes a little time and effort, but the effort is well worth it when you have delicious chargrilled food while enjoying the outdoors. Nothing compares to the flavor of food grilled over charcoal. However, lighting a charcoal grill can be difficult, and there are a few things to keep in mind. However, once you know how, starting a charcoal grill isn’t all that difficult.

Wondering what charcoal is and how it’s made?

Although there is still some controversy, most experts agree that food cooked over charcoal tastes better than food cooked over gas. Yeah, gas grilling is faster and more convenient, but when you have all the time in the world on the weekend, charcoal is the way to go. Grilling over charcoal may take some getting used to for those of us who grew up with gas grills, and it can take some trial and error. Here we have discussed step by step guide on how to use a charcoal grill properly.


What Is the Best Charcoal for Grilling?

Wood that burned in a low-oxygen atmosphere is known as charcoal. It comes in two types in the supermarket: briquettes and natural lump charcoal. Since it produces less ash than briquettes, lump charcoal is often recommended as the better option. On the other hand, Briquettes are easier to calculate and light, and contrary to popular belief, most briquettes are simply lumping charcoal bound with cornstarch. The best charcoal for grilling is whatever you have on hand, or whatever is on the sale.

What is the recommended amount of charcoal?

The response depends on what you’re cooking, how much you’re cooking, and how hot you want your grill to be. You’ll need a complete chimney if you need a lot of heat. There’s no need to fill the vent up and wait for the heat from all those coals to dissipate if you want a little less heat.

How to cook on a charcoal grill?

Here are several essential tips to help on how to cook on a charcoal grill properly.


1.   Getting started with charcoal grilling

For beginners and experienced grillers alike, the first rule of charcoal grilling is to have plenty of charcoal briquettes or lump charcoal on hand. To prevent any inconvenience or disappointment when it comes time to create the fire, double-check your supply before making any other preparations. Each form of charcoal has its own set of benefits. Pillow-shaped charcoal briquettes have a longer burn time and are less expensive than lumps.

Hardwood lump charcoal with irregular shapes is more accessible to light and produces a higher temperature. Make sure you have lighter fluid, charcoal starter, and a lighter on hand, depending on how you want to start the fire. When the hot coals are ready to barbecue, arrange them with long-handled metal tongs. A sturdy grill brush is also needed to clean the grill grate before putting your food on it to cook.


2.   Measuring the Coals

Cooking on a charcoal grill is more challenging than a gas grill. Propane gas usually uses to operate a gas grill. There’s no need to test it because it’s either on or off. Turn a knob on each burner to change the flame’s size and strength, just like a normal kitchen range.

However, since the fuel in a charcoal grill is, well, charcoal, you must first fill the grill with the appropriate amount of briquettes before you begin cooking. Some grill grates have hinged sides that can open to add more charcoal during cooking. However, this is only useful if you’re slow-cooking or smoking a big cut of meat.


3.   Starting a charcoal grill

Understanding how to cook on a charcoal grill effectively starts with a good fire. Consider the size of your grill’s cooking area and the amount of food you’ll be cooking to decide how much charcoal you’ll need. You’ll need about 100 briquettes – the capacity of a regular charcoal chimney – to grill on high heat with a traditional charcoal grill.

Remove the grilling grate to reveal the charcoal grate that sits lower in the grill, whichever method you prefer. Remove any ash that remains. Then, to allow plenty of air to enter the flames, open the grill vents. After lighting the coals, hold the lid off the grill until they are coated in ash and ready to cook, which should take about 10 to 15 minutes.

4.   Building a fire

If you’re cooking just one form of food, make sure the coals are uniformly spread around the grill’s bowl. On the other hand, building a two-zone fire allows for more precise temperature regulation by filling the charcoal on one side of the grill bowl while leaving the other empty.


5.   Cooking Grate Preparation

You should clean and oil the cooking grate when the coals are lighting. Scraping and wiping off any cooked-on residue is the most time-consuming aspect of cleaning. Brush the grate with a paper towel soaked in cooking oil. It prevents the food from sticking together.

The grate must then be preheated. Mount the grate, cover with the lid and wait three to four minutes after adding your charcoal and arranging it. It creates a hot and cold zone, which helps cook two different types of food simultaneously steaks and vegetables.

6.   Grilling with a charcoal grill

For even temperatures around the cooking surface, grilling with charcoal necessitates a thick, condensed layer of lit coals. A thin layer absorbs less heat for a shorter period. Grilling directly over hot coals sears the outside of the food and produces appealing grill marks.

More significant cuts of meat can require more time to cook thoroughly. Establish a two-zone fire to prevent the food from drying out or being too charred. To cook with direct fire, place the hot zone’s lit coals on about half of the charcoal grate

  • Close the lid and put the cooking grate in place, regardless of the charcoal arrangement.
  • Verify that the grill vents, also known as dampers, are open.
  • When the grill heats up, wait 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Use a grill brush to clean the grate.
  • Arrange the food on the grill.

7.   Cleaning a charcoal grill

Using a sharp grill brush, clean the grill right after the boil while it is still hot. Use it to extract food particles from the cooking surface any time you grill the food.

Some important tips

1.   Don’t forget to use a chimney starter.

The charcoal itself is the most critical aspect of charcoal grilling, and preparing the coals is the most time-consuming part of the process. You may want to use lighter fluid, but remember that any lighter fluid you use will spice your food, which none of us wants. Instead, light the coals with a chimney starter. It’s easy to do: stuff the bottom of the starter with newspaper and fill the rest with charcoal.

2.   Don’t place the coals in your grill until they are ready

Before pouring coals out of the chimney and into the grill foundation, wait until they’re grey. It is crucial, and while we understand you and your guests are likely hungry, a little patience will pay off in the end. The issue is that if you don’t wait to add charcoal to the grill when some of it is still black, you’ll have a lot more trouble regulating the temperature.

3.   Preheat the grill for best results

You can preheat your grill before putting some food on the grates, just as you do to your oven. When your coals are evenly spread in your grill, cover it and let it sit for five to ten minutes before putting any food over the coals.

4.   Using the vents

Charcoal grills, unlike gas grills, have vents on the hood and the bottom of the grill. These grill components regulate airflow, which is essential for keeping the charcoal burning and regulating temperature. When you forget to open or close the vents, two things can happen: The charcoal can flame out before your food cook, or the heat can rise to dangerous levels, causing your food to burn. To control the temperature, change the vents as you preheat the grill and during cooking. When lighting and preheating the grill, keep the vents open to allow for more airflow.

5.   Keep yourself safe

Keep in mind that lit coals are scorching. To flip your beef, use tongs. Wait until the coals have cooled until reaching the side of the grill or even the grill lid. Also, keep an eye out for coal flare-ups. They’re unusual (lit charcoal is more predictable than lit wood), but you should still be careful when it comes to outdoor cooking.


It is always a great experience to use a charcoal grill as a grilling material. But if you are new to use a charcoal grill, you should follow the guidelines mentioned above before starting. Moreover, adopt some tips and tricks before cooking on a charcoal grill to face any problem.


Read More

6 types of Outdoor Grills

Gas Grilling Tips and Techniques


how to cook on a charcoal grill