Lots of people love the taste of charcoal grills. There is nothing quite like cooking on charcoal compared to gas. Getting a charcoal grill ready is not difficult, but it can take 15-30 minutes to get everything right. Remember heat always rises, and be cautious. You need to know where to start lighting your charcoal grill.

Let’s learn how to get a charcoal grill ready for cooking.

1. Buy Your Charcoal Briquettes

You can’t do anything without charcoal briquettes. They’re affordable, easy to light, and burn long. You can get them in several varieties. The basic works, for sure, but hardwood charcoal adds intense and smoky flavour to everything you lay overtop it on the grill.

2. Season Your Charcoal Grill If It’s New

Seasoning a charcoal grill is imperative. It burns off any factory chemicals and impurities still on the grill, ensuring that when you lay down food, there’s no strange taste.

Curing your grill will also add a protective coating, minimizing rust risk. You get better taste and performance. It just takes a couple of hours, and you only have to do it once.

Here are the steps on how to season a charcoal grill:

  • Use a damp rag soaked in hot water to wipe down all interior surfaces, including the grates.
  • Coat all interior surfaces with vegetable oil spray.
  • Pour roughly 10 pounds of charcoal into the grate or basin, gathering it in a mound and lighting it.
  • Make sure all vents are open for maximum airflow. Cook the charcoal like that for 8-10 minutes.
  • When it smokes and crackles, evenly spread the charcoal across the grate or basin.
  • Close the lid and let the heat rise to 300-400 degrees for 1-2 hours until the grease stops smoking. You will notice a dark, protective coating inside after everything has cooled down.

3. Arrange Your Charcoal If You’re Lighting with Light Fluid

If you’re using a lighter fluid, that’s a sure way to heat charcoal up quickly. Arrange the charcoal in a pyramid-like formation. This will increase charcoal contact. Add light fluid to the pile of unlit charcoal. Don’t wait too long, and light the charcoal immediately.

4. Chimney Starters Are Another Way to Burn Charcoal

A chimney starter is a device that clusters charcoal and uses paper to light it. To do this, fill the chimney with charcoal. Add kindling underneath, old newspaper, paper bags, or something similar. As you burn the kindling, the flames will light the charcoal edges above the chimney starter.

5. Keep Your Charcoal Grill Lid Up as the Bricks Ash Up

The more airflow, the better. Do not cover your BBQ, as the charcoal grill is ready. Leave the cover off and let the heat do its thing. Once you start BBQing, you can do whatever you like when covering the grill.

Also, if you’ve not used enough light fluid, never add more after the heat’s started. That is very hazardous and puts you at risk of accident.

6. Understanding How Charcoal Grill Vents Work

Your charcoal grill vents are everything. You want them open as you’re lighting the charcoal. Fire needs oxygen to survive. After the charcoal is ready, the internal temperature of your grill can be controlled by manipulating the vents.

Wider vents produce hotter flames, more oxygen, and higher temperatures, while smaller vents mean cooler temperature. Never close grill vents altogether, as that means no oxygen gets through, and your fire will burn out.

7. How Do You Know Your Charcoal Is Ready to Grill

Your coals are ready to grill when covered in gray ash. This typically takes 15 minutes, regardless of how you light charcoal. The coals will continue to burn underneath the gray ash until they are all gone. Spread out the charcoal, and now you may start BBQing.

8. Cooking at High and Low Temperatures on Your Charcoal BBQ

You may cook several things simultaneously – some on high heat and some on low heat. You can do this by being attentive to how you separate your charcoal. Put less charcoal on one side of the grill for less heat and stack them on the other for higher temperatures.

Sear foods in the hot zone and then move them to the cool side to cook through without burning the edges. This requires an attentive griller to know when to do what.