Charcoal Grilling 101

Online culinary school is a surefire way to learn how to use a variety of cooking apparatuses such as an oven or grill. The latter can be challenging, specifically when using a charcoal grill. But there’s no better method for cooking a meal alfresco. Come summertime, the great outdoors is beckoning you to cook some meat and vegetables over those glowing, fiery bricks. Charcoal grills provide paramount flavor, but they can be finicky, and retaining heat is a constant challenge. Here’s a guide to get you started.

Clean out your grill 
Every few months, your grill benefits from a good interior and exterior scrubbing. Over time, grease builds up that increases the risk of fire and might contribute to unevenly cooked food. Remove the grill grates and scrub off rust and burnt food. Season the grates with oil to help create a food barrier and enhance flavor. Take a paper towel or rag and wipe out the bottom of the grill, making sure to clean spots where grease has accumulated. A clean grill assists in air flow, which is critical to charcoal burning efficiently.

Use a chimney
Forget the idea of dousing a heaping pile of charcoal in lighter fluid. Lighter fluid can leave a chemical taste on your food and often needs to be reapplied, causing your coals to heat inconsistently. A chimney allows you to get your coals hot with nothing more than newspaper and matches. The design of a chimney also ensures charcoal is more evenly heated before use.

Invest in good charcoal
Most normal charcoal briquettes contain additives. For a cleaner, more natural taste, opt for lump charcoal that is solely charred wood. Lump charcoal also heats faster than briquettes and burns at a higher temperature, which is perfect for giving meat a good sear.

Prepare for the long haul
Planning on grilling for the neighborhood block party? Fantastic, but every grill master knows it’s hard work to keep a grill at the right temperature. Make sure you have enough coal to distribute heat evenly, especially when cooking several loads worth of food. If you plan on cooking all afternoon, you might need to prepare a replacement chimney worth of charcoal as the grill begins to cool. This is specifically pertinent when using lump charcoal, as it tends to cool quickly.

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