How to Use a Charcoal Grill Like a Pro
Getting a charcoal grill is a big deal as you are buying a cooking device to last you through the summer. A good grill is a huge commitment because you have to learn how to cook using a very detailed set of skills. It means that you need to learn how to regulate fire, maintain a safe grill, and how to ensure that it lasts. Charcoal grills are a little more tricky than gas but they are well worth all the effort. If you put in the time to get to know how they work, you will be more than rewarded. They just necessitate a little more energy and thoughtfulness. Here is everything you could wish to know how to use a charcoal grill like a pro.
Choosing Your Charcoal Grill
Charcoal grills conveniently come in all different kinds of shapes, styles and sizes. When all is said and done, all that really matters is that it has two important qualities: excellent air control and plenty of surface area to be able to control the charcoals. Air control is all about good grill ventilation. You should choose a grill with useful vents at the top which assist in helping to encourage airflow. When using charcoal, you need to keep both charcoal and oxygen in balance
The lid of your charcoal grill needs to seal effectively. You also need to have enough room to split up coals so that you can generate a hotter area for searing your food and a cooler area to encourage slow cooking. So, in essence a large grill will allow you the space to turn your grill into an oven with a comprehensive broiler at the side to finishing cooking off all your meat. It is vital when working with a charcoal grill to evenly cook all of your food so choose one that is going to cater for the size of your family’s needs.
Setting Up Your Grill
As a perk of the job, charcoal grilling equipment can be lots of fun. There are multiple ways to kit out a grill and you will be spoilt for choice. But you do not really require lots of gadgets to be able to grill healthy food. All you require are a few basics: tongs for your grill, some outside friendly plates, some gloves to stop you from getting burnt, and wipes to clean up after yourselves.
Then again, maybe the most significant tool that you will need is something that will start your grill as it can sometimes be a hassle to get a charcoal grill fired up. With patience and practice you will get there, all you need to do is place an ignition underneath the charcoal and light to get a seamless burn, with most people using lighter fluid.
It is also recommended that you have a food thermometer available to use on your grill as a charcoal grill basically operates similar to an oven. It is vital to maintain the temperature on the grill constantly with a lid on, because otherwise you will end up with undercooked meat and overcooked veg.
Preheat and Oil Your Charcoal Grill
If you are using oil on the cooking grate on your grill, then this guarantees that none of your food gets stuck to your grill. Preheating your grill with oil is just as imperative. If you attempt to cook out your steak on a dry cold grill, then this will lead it to spending far too much time on your grill and you will overcook your food. You likewise will miss out on getting those longed-for grill marks. Always keep safety in mind and make sure that you oil your grill before the coals start to burn.
Choosing the Best Charcoal for Grilling
There are a few different types of charcoal for grilling. One of the best for beginners is charcoal briquettes as they are ready to light. Briquettes are also usually the same shape and size which give you extra powers to control your fire. You can also go for lump charcoal, which usually looks like large bags of wood, but they are inconsistent when they burn.
Whatever type of charcoal you decide to burn, it is comparable to trying to control an oven when you are unsure on just how much heat you will generate. It is also worth noting that charcoal is fairly flavorless the minute it starts burning so if you wish to add some smoky flavor to your food you might want to add store bought chips or even a selection of fruit or nuts.
Starting a Charcoal Grill
If you choose to go with lighter fluid, then it may just become your best friend. It should make a huge fiery effect with just a few drops. Just be sure to let it all burn away before you start cooking on the grill because otherwise the lighter fluid fumes may very well make their way into the taste of your food.
Alternatively, you can build a pyramid in the middle of your grill campfire-style to begin to get the coals on fire. You can also use paraffin cubes to start your grill if you can find them. Irrespective of your ignition technique, as soon as your charcoal has begun to burn, before you begin cooking on it, wait for the charcoal to smolder. From time to time this means that you will need to be really patient, or if you need to be active about it do some fanning of your charcoal until it is ready. Then ensure that once they have got going, they are looking like they have a uniform glow to them.
Do not begin cooking anything until all of the charcoal on the grill has a white layer of ash surrounding it as this is the true sign that your charcoal is ready. White ash is a sign that it has burned off all of its impurities and you are good to go.
The Type of Heat for What You Are Cooking
When cooking on a charcoal grill, the said charcoal will become a direct source of heat. Certain foods will come out better when cooked over a high heat, whereas other kinds of food benefit from a medium heat more. If you are not using the right kind of heat to cook through your food, then you will undoubtably run the risk of undercooking or burning your meal.
So, prior to adding charcoal to your grill, contemplate what you are about to cook. This will control whether you will spread out your charcoal over your entire grill or simply just cook in one area. Foods such as steak, burgers, hot dogs and chicken all enjoy direct heat and have a comparatively rapid cook time, whereas bigger portions of meet require a longer cook time such as ribs and should be cooked over indirect heat.
Controlling the Grill Heat
As soon as the charcoal has successfully started to burn, open up the lid and ensure that all of the charcoal vents are wide open. This essentially turns your charcoal grill into a functional oven. But it additionally means at this point that you must keep an eye on your grills temperature so that it will not turn into a furnace. The temperature of a charcoal grill is notoriously difficult to control but when the heat does get far too high, it is possible utilize the vents on your grill to tone it down.
You need to be shutting down the supply of oxygen to your grill so keep open as much as you can as you cook. When you need the fire to cool down, you need to starve the charcoal of oxygen by cutting off its supply. If you do this for about 10 minutes, then your grill will cool down. With lots of practise you can sooner or later become a pro at controlling the heat of your charcoal grill. In addition, because charcoal briquettes can in essence be separated up into distinct units of energy, you will be able to work out how many of them you need to get to a desired temperature. Never get overly impatient and drench a hot charcoal grill with any water thinking that you might cool it down.
Cleaning Your Charcoal grill
The minute you have finished with your grill, every section of your grill has to be cleaned to prevent future contamination. This starts with a good scrub of the grates, which are the first thing to collect grease and burnt bits which will spoil future cooks.
You will need to keep the upper side of your charcoal grill clean at all costs.
A good wire brush will often do the job to clean everything up properly. Ensure that you always clear out the ashes and scrape away any built-up layers of carbon which can ruin your food. As soon as your charcoal grill is clean and cool then you can safely cover up your grill for storage, and over time, you will have quickly mastered a charcoal grill like a pro.
- How to Use a Charcoal Grill – wikiHow