With the advanced technology, it's interesting that charcoal grill is still being used in many households. Perhaps, the reason for this is the taste and flavor that gas grills cannot deliver. Charcoal grills simmer meat using direct heat to remain juicy and tender even after hours of grilling.
Now, if you're a beginner in charcoal grilling, there's a lot of things you should learn. One of them is how to keep charcoal grill hot, especially during the windy and cold season. Whether you're using briquettes or coals, it's essential to understand how to use them to regulate the heat throughout the cooking process.
How to Light Charcoal Grill
If you're using a charcoal grill for the first time, the first thing you need to learn is how to start your charcoal. You can either use lighter fluid or a chimney start tool to get coals burning quickly. However, some pit masters prefer chimney starters as they burn charcoals more safely and evenly.
Allowing the coal to ash over until they turn slightly gray is vital in lighting your grill. Pour the lit charcoals onto the grate while arranging them based on how you want to use the grill, whether direct or indirect. Put the lid back and preheat the grill for around 15 minutes.
In case your charcoal ashed over too much before preheating, you can add some coals so they won't burn down too fast. Results can be different depending on the grilling method you plan to use. Direct heat is ideal for sausages, steaks, and burgers. On the other hand, indirect heat is perfect for low and slow grilling like briskets, whole chicken, and roasts.
Charcoal Grill Temperature Chart
325 degrees Fahrenheit
350 degrees Fahrenheit
400 degrees Fahrenheit
over 600 degrees Fahrenheit
How to Keep Charcoal Grill at 225
The best temperature when grilling food is at 225 degrees Fahrenheit. It helps keep your meat tender and juicy while cooking in slow heat. However, it's not easy to control the temperature in a charcoal grill. So, here are some helpful tips to keep your charcoal at 225:
What to Do with Charcoal After Grilling
After grilling, it's now time to clear the plates and dispose of used charcoal properly. Wood charcoal is very easy to dispose of because it's natural. On the other hand, lumps, briquettes, and ash leftover can be disposed of in bags. It's essential to consider safety when disposing of, reusing, or recycling charcoal, such as keeping away lighter fluid from pets and children as it's incredibly toxic.
But before you dispose or recycle charcoal, wait for 48 hours to make sure they have completely cooled down. Once they are safe to handle, you can simply toss the charcoal to the trash bin. If you have plants, you can put the charcoal ash on the pots. Leftover charcoal can be used as natural insect spray to repel lice, beetles, and other pests in your home.
Moreover, you can make a natural cleaning solution out of used charcoal. Lye soap can be made from charcoal ash, which you can use as a household cleaner. Also, if you want to make starting charcoal grill easier, you can add the ashes in your chimney to prepare for the next grilling. Charcoal ash and briquettes can be reused, so make sure to keep them after grilling.
How to Make Charcoal Grill Hotter with Vents
One of the best tips for charcoal grilling for beginners is appropriately opening and closing the vents to control airflow. Remember, the key to perfectly grilled meat is in the airflow. The more air coming in the vent, the hotter your grill will become.
When starting, it's essential to allow enough air to light your coals. To do this, you need to open the vents so the fuel will lit up quickly. There are two vents in a charcoal grill, the intake vent, and the exhaust damper. The one sucking the air is the intake vent, while the one taking away the smoke is the exhaust damper.
If there are two vents in your charcoal grill, which one do you adjust to regulate the temperature? Some pit masters keep their exhaust dampers open while adjusting intake vents to control airflow. However, other charcoal grill users do the opposite by keeping their intake vents open while adjusting exhaust dampers to regulate airflow.
Whatever works for you, but the best way to control airflow is to adjust your intake vent. Do not close your exhaust damper because the smoke should be allowed to escape the grill. If you want to get the most effective way to control airflow while grilling food, you can try both methods and see what suits you.
When you preheat your grill, open the dampers completely to get maximum oxygen to your coals while ensuring they burn hotter, so the temperature reaches 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Again, you can use an air probe to monitor your charcoal grill's air temperature every 5 minutes.
Charcoal grilling and temperature control are skills that work hand in hand. If you can't keep your grill hot, remember that the key is in the airflow and fuel. So, are you confident enough to use your charcoal grill for cooking food even as a beginner?