The key to using a charcoal grill is patience grasshopper! If you want fast, use gas. If you want finesse and smoky goodness, use charcoal. There’s a certain smoky deliciousness that comes from charcoal that you just can’t get from gas, even with a smoker box (but that’s for a different page).
And with just a few simple tips, unlocking the magic of charcoal can be a lot quicker and easier than you might think – not to mention a whole lot of fun...
We've given each tip its own page in order to keep things easy to find and easy to read – but first, here are a few bits of grilling lingo you may come across in some of them:
“Come to heat” – This means waiting until all of your charcoal has at least white edges and some pink or red glow. Ideally, most of the charcoal will be all ashy white and there will be large areas of glowing red goodness. See cooking times and temps for more details about cooking heats.
“Charcoal Racks” – some grills come with a charcoal rack, this is a lower rack that helps air flow through the fuel and promote thorough burning.
“Cooking racks” – The cooking rack sits about the charcoal rack, and it’s where you put the food.
“Safe Zone” – Any area that you designate for safely placing hot objects, like a chimney starter, that’s safely and securely away from flammable objects and general people traffic.
Now that that's out of the way, simply click on a tip to get started: