Tips: How to BBQ With Charcoal
Charcoal grills are popular because they result in such great-tasting
food. Here are a few tips on how to
BBQ with charcoal to get you started.
This article may contain affiliate links. When you purchase through links on this site, I may earn a
small commission at no extra cost to you.
- Clean out ashes regularly. Too much ash will restrict air flow, and
good air flow is important to getting charcoal nice and hot.
- Remove ashes only when they're cool. It might not seem like a big
deal, unless you drop hot ashes onto something that burns easily (like grass)!
- Keep your bag of charcoal dry. Wet charcoal is very smoky, which makes
BBQing much less pleasant!
You can use charcoal briquettes or natural lump charcoal, whatever
your preference. Briquettes are cheaper, easier to find, and typically burn
longer - but they contain chemicals and leave a lot of ash, plus can be a bit
of a pain to light. Lump charcoal
is more expensive but it has no added chemicals,
it burns hotter and leaves less ash. It also burns faster so once again, price
may be a factor. The amount of charcoal you need depends on the size of your
barbecue - check the manufacturer's instructions.
- Make a pyramid of charcoal. This helps to encourage air flow, making
the fire start faster (and build nice and hot).
Lighting the fire: light the charcoal fire with an
or with a chimney starter.
Try to avoid lighter fluid, which can impart some unpleasant tastes to the food.
With an electric starter, bury the starter in the pyramid underneath a few pieces of charcoal.
Plug it in and leave it for about 8 or 9 minutes, until you see some pieces glowing red and
going ashy. We prefer the electric starter just because there are no chemicals involved,
and it's quick and easy.
A chimney starter is another easy way to get your charcoal going.
Basically, a chimney starter is a long cylinder. Charcoal
is stacked inside over a grate, and a newspaper is placed beneath. The newspaper
is lit, which in turn heats up the chimney and lights the charcoal.
If you're using lighter fluid (if you really must! -- it gives off a
chemical taste), pour it on top first -- about 1/2 cup should be about
right -- and let is soak in for a minute or two. Then you can carefully
light it with a match. Don't use gasoline or any other flammable
liquid other than lighter fluid to ignite the charcoal.
- Don't add lighter fluid to hot coals. This can cause flare-ups.
- Light the charcoal about 30-45 minutes before you want to start cooking.
It will take this long for most BBQs to get to the right temperature. The BBQ is
ready to use when a layer of gray ash forms over the charcoal.
Learning how to BBQ with charcoal, at least how to get started with charcoal
grilling, doesn't take long. Once you have that figured out, you can move on to
reading more BBQ tips and trying new
This website offers tips on how to BBQ
as well as
some of our favorite barbecue recipes
. We barbecue with a charcoal grill
in an outdoor kamado-style cooker called The Big Green Egg
We love food and we love the grill, and hope you enjoy our recipes!