Using a charcoal grill is a great way to cook vegetables because they take on a beautiful smoky flavor. You can use smoke flavored rubs if you are using a gas or electric grill but the natural smoke flavor is better.
Tips on using a charcoal grill include how much charcoal to use, how many briquettes to light, how to arrange them and how to safely use the grill. Here are the some of the best charcoal grill tips:
You will need about thirty briquettes to cook a pound of meat and there are between seventy-five and ninety briquettes in a five-pound bag. You will need enough to cover the grill pan in one layer, extending a couple of inches beyond the food area on the grill. If it is windy or cold, you will need more briquettes to achieve the correct cooking temperature so make sure you have plenty before you start.
How to Start a Charcoal Grill
Starting a charcoal grill is simple but remember – safety first! Read the instructions that came with the grill and use long-handled tools and thick safety mitts. If you are not using a chimney starter or electric starter, you will need to use lighter fluid. Never use gasoline on the charcoal unless you want your grill to blow up and the same goes for kerosene.
Arrange the charcoal in a pyramid shape on the grill, soak it with half a cup or more of lighter fluid, and wait a few minutes to let it soak in. Light the charcoal with a fire starter or long-handled match. Do not squirt lighter fluid on to hot coals because it could catch fire and burn you. When the coals start to burn and create ash, arrange them into a single layer with a long-handled tong.
If your fire is not doing well, use lighter fluid and a long handled match to set fire to two or three separate coals, then add these to the coals on the grill.
Using a Chimney Starter
If your grill has a chimney starter, you can start the grill without using chemicals. Put crumpled newspaper in the bottom of the starter. Take the rack off the grill and put the chimney starter in the bottom. Fill the top part with charcoal and light the paper through the holes in the bottom of the starter. The fire will go up through the starter and light the charcoal. Leave it for half an hour then, wearing an oven mitt, empty the coals into the grill pan and use tongs to arrange them into a single layer.
Using an Electric Starter
An electric starter is a plug-in heating element, which starts the fire without chemicals. Put the starter in the grill pan and stack the briquettes over it in a pyramid shape. Plug in the starter and wait for ten minutes or so, until ash starts to form on the coals. Unplug the starter, remove it with tongs and put it somewhere heatproof, and out of the reach of children and pets, to cool down. Arrange the briquettes into an even layer with your tongs.
How to Use a Charcoal Grill
A charcoal grill can take up to forty-five minutes to reach a good grilling heat. When you can see a gray ash on the coals, it should be ready. Once the coals are hot enough, simply add the meat, fish, poultry, or vegetables you are going to cook and turn them when necessary with long-handled tongs. You might like to add woodchips to give your grilled vegetables or meat a wonderful flavor.
Flare-ups happen when hot fat drips on to the coals but you can prevent this by using a drip tray and by keeping back from the grill unless you are turning food, poking the coals or adding or removing something. Never leave the grill unattended and get somebody else to mind it if you need to go anywhere while the food is cooking.
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