Charcoal Grill Recipes For Beginners

How To Light A Charcoal Grill

How To Make Ribs on a Charcoal Grill Easy

Taste of Home

Just like there are different charcoals to choose from, there are plenty of methods for lighting a grill to choose from, too, including many different charcoal starters.

Color is a great indication of how hot the coals are. Aim for white to glowing red for cooking .

You can also tell if the grill is ready by hovering your hand about four inches over the coals. If you can comfortably hold it there for more than five seconds, your coals still need to heat up. If you can keep your hand hovering for about two or three seconds, thats the sweet spot for grilling.

Also when youre lighting your grilland cooking and cooling it downbe sure to follow these grill safety tips.

Grilled Kebabs All Summer Long

Grilled Polenta Crackers With Roasted Pepper Salsa

Putting polenta on the grill brings out its smoky corn flavor, while a topper of olives, capers, onions and tomatoes adds freshness to the dish. Rachael grills hers indoors in a grill pan but you can cook use an outdoor grill too. Just be sure to oil the grates so the polenta doesnt stick.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Polenta Crackers with Roasted Pepper Salsa

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Did You Make Any Of These Easy Summer Grilling Recipes

Please leave a comment and rating below, and let me know what you thought of this round up of best grill recipes. Be sure to snap a picture and tag me on Instagram or share it on the Pinterest pin so that I can follow along.

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How To Clean A Grill

Charcoal Grilling tips Beginners

To keep your grill ready for cookout after cookout, you do have to give it a quick clean. Heres how to clean a grill to keep it ready for a summer full of barbecues.

  • Brush the grates: After youre done cooking and while the grate is still hot, use a grill brush to clean the grate of any major debris. The heat will make some of the baked-on mess easier to remove.
  • Clean the grates: If the grates are still a bit grimy after brushing, you can give them a serious clean by soaking them in hot water and dish soap. Use a good dish scrubber to get rid of any extra dirt.
  • Remove the ash: When the grill is completely cool, remove the grates and empty out any ash or leftover coals into a metal container.
  • Clean the interior: If you notice the bowl of your grill getting a little grubby, use a wire brush or steel wool to get rid of any stuck-on mess. For a deep clean, scrub the interior with warm water and dish soap, then rinse.
  • Wipe the exterior: Keep the outside of your grill looking shiny by giving it a quick wipe with warm water and soap.

You dont need to complete every step every time you grill, but its a good practice to at least make sure youre starting with clean grates each timethis will prevent any flame flare-ups. And if you want your grill to keep looking its best, be sure to store it in a garage or shed when not in use. You can also invest in a grill cover.

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Prep Your Grill Grates

Before you grill, its a good idea to season your grill grates. That means cleaning the grates and then giving them a spritz with an oil with a high smoke point, like canola or vegetable oil.

This quick coating of oil will prevent food from cooking and will help season the grates the same way youd season a cast-iron skillet.

Fall Off The Bone Ribs

This dish is one of my signature dishes for whenever I have a large group of people coming over.

Fall of the bone ribs are just that! The meat literally melts off the bone when cooked to perfection.

This dish is sure to impress and isnt too difficult to make. Whip up a few additional sides, and youll have enough for a feast!

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Choose A Type Of Charcoal

Before you even strike a match, you need to choose the right fuel for your fire. There are a few types of charcoal out there, and each suits different needs in terms of heat and flavor profile.

  • Charcoal briquettes: Youll find charcoal briquettes at supermarkets, convenience stores and the like all summer long. These bits of charcoal are made of compressed sawdust and other wood material. Charcoal briquettes burn consistently and for a long time. Theyre also super affordable. A 16-pound bag will cost you about $10. The downside to this fuel is that they produce a lot of ash to clean up later and dont impart a lot of that charred flavor many grillers are looking for.
  • Hardwood or lump charcoal: This type of charcoal is made from pure wood that imparts more flavor to the food you grill. This charcoal burns more quickly than its briquette cousins but it produces less ash and waste. Because of the extra flavor here, many experienced grillers prefer hardwood charcoal. It costs a bit more than briquettesa 15-pound bag runs about $14but our Test Kitchen thinks that the flavor is worth the extra spend.
  • A mix of both: The good news is you dont have to stick with one type of charcoal. You can mix inexpensive briquettes with hardwood charcoal. This helps cut costs and speed up the grilling process while still giving you some of that smokey flavor.

How To Wrap Ribs

How to Smoke Brisket in a Charcoal BBQ for Beginners

Another hour later, check on the ribs. We want them to curve slightly without breaking. If theyre yet to reach this point, allow them to cook for a little longer. However, if they are bending nicely then double wrap the ribs in aluminum foil. We do this to help increase the internal temperature of the meat while also holding in moisture, making them extra juicy.

Place the wrapped ribs back on the grill. Check on the coals and water again. Dont add more wood chunks this time as the ribs will have absorbed enough smoke.

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How To Control The Heat And Get The Right Temperature

Gas grilling for beginners: Just turn the knobs to control the heat

In addition to fire arrangement, you want to think about temperature. Just as you wouldnt bake a cake in a 500° oven if the recipe says 300°, you need to adjust your grill temp according to the recipe and to what youre cooking. If your grill doesnt have a thermometer, test the temperature by how hot the fire feels. And remember to grill with the lid closed to keep heat from escaping. Wondering how to stop flare-ups when grilling? Keeping the lid closed is key for that, too.

How to control heat for a gas grill:Just turn the knobs. To cool it quickly, open the lid for a bit.

How to control heat for a charcoal grill: Too hot? Let the fire burn longer, or try closing the vents halfway . If the fire is too cool or if youre cooking longer than 30 minutes, add more briquets .

High heat : Use high heat for thinner pieces of protein like boneless breasts in Taco Lime Grilled Chicken, skirt steak, strip steaks, and burgers like The Classic Burger. A hot fire is just right for sockeye salmon such as Grilled Salmon with Lemon Garlic Sauce , and quick-cooking, juicy vegetables such as sliced onion, bell pepper, and zucchini.

Low heat : This is the ticket for long-cooking foods such as ribs, or eggplant cooked to silky squishiness for baba ganoush.

Easy Smoker Recipes 9 Smoked Ribeye Steak

Individual steaks like Ribeye dont take long to cook, not even in the smoker.

You smoke the steak for 20 minutes directly on the smoker grills at 180°F and then take it off and wrap it loosely in foil.

You then increase the heat to 450°F and place the steak back on the grills for around 5 minutes a side until it comes up to the internal temperature of your desired doneness.

This is called a reverse sear because rather than searing the steak at the start of the cook, your sear it at the end after the smoke flavour has been imparted.

Better still the dry rub is just a mix of salt and pepper!

Easy, quick, tasty and smoky. Perfect for beginners!

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Dishes Every Beginner Barbecuer Should Master

If youre new to grilling and/or barbecuing, it can be difficult to know how to get started. Perhaps youve bought a book, such as Stevens iconic How to Grill, or consulted a friend or family member who seems to know what theyre doing. Maybe youve haunted chat rooms or other social media groups, hoping to pick up a few pointers, only to become confused by terms like reverse-sear and the 3-2-1 method.

But the easiest way to acquire this old-as-time skill is to just do it. Like anything worth mastering, it takes some practice. Youll need to build up experience managing time and temperature, two variables that can really mess up a grill session.

To help you develop some traction during this, National Barbecue Month, weve selected ten of our favorite dishes that will acquaint you with the basicsdirect versus indirect grilling, for examplebut encourage you to expand your comfort zone. And if you have any questions, any at all, feel free to contact us for a personal response in the comments below or on , , Reddit, or . Were always happy to help.

Put The Charcoal Out When You’re Done

The Ultimate Guide: How to Grill With Charcoal for Beginners

When you’re done grilling, close the vents and put the lid on. This will cut off the oxygen flow to the fire, smothering it.

Let the ash and remaining unburnt coals cool down for 48 hours. This ensures that there are no live embers left.

If you need to cool down your coals faster, use tongs to gently place them in a metal bucket of water. Do not pour water on your grill.

Once your ash and coals are completely cool, you can wrap them in tin foil and put them in a non-combustible outdoor trashcan. Check with your city to find out if you can put used cooled charcoal in your city-provided trash receptacle.

You can learn more about putting out charcoal here.

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Grilled Flavors From Afar

How To Start A Charcoal Grill

The most daunting part of grilling is firing up the coals. After all, who hasnt tossed a match into the bowl of a grill, walked away and found the coals still cold 20 minutes later? Starting a charcoal grill, though, really isnt very difficult. Just choose the right techniques and have a little patience, and youll be ready to flip a few burgers.

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Quick And Easy Smoker Recipes For Beginners

We often get asked about easy smoker recipes suitable for beginners and quick to smoke. The idea of quick smoker recipes is unthinkable for some.

The obvious answer would include cooking at a higher temperature and using smaller cuts of meat that cook quickly.

The problem is that most people think smoker cooking is all about large, inexpensive cuts of meat being smoked slow and low until the connective tissues break down.

Were not arguing with that point of view, but it is possible smoke meats quickly and easily.

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Mind you, quick, smoker recipes could also be defined as anything you can in under 4 hours!

Compared to pork butt and brisket which can take 10+ hours that is quick!

Many people use the 321 method for smoking ribs and this takes around 6 hours altogether at 225°F.

These hot and fast ribs are easy to smoke and shave hours off the smoking time.

You cook at 300°F, wrapping the ribs in foil about an hour in when a bark develops and the whole process is done in 2 1/4 hours.

This method is even used by BBQ competitors.

There are also plenty of tips and suggestions for trimming your ribs, and clear instructions for beginners.

These tasty little smoked chicken thighs only take 1 1/2 to 2 hours. If you want extra crispy skin you can crank up the heat at the end of the smoke.

Delicious, quick and easy!

Don’t Have A Smoker Get Step


Barbecue can be a serious business.

Hard-core ‘cue mavens buy or build special smokers with custom-made rotisseries and fireboxes in order to precisely control the level of heat and smoke needed for each type of meat or fish.

Most of us aren’t ready to drop several hundredeven several thousanddollars on a special smoker.

But you can ‘cue at home, even with that simplest of grillsthe “egg” or kettle grill Weber made famous in the 1950s.

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How To Hold Ribs

Sometimes time and circumstances wont allow you to enjoy your BBQ ribs immediately, in which case its imperative that you hold and store them in a way that wont heavily impact flavor or quality.

Remove the ribs from the grill and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. Using plastic wrap, wrap the ribs tightly in a few layers. Its key here that you dont use aluminum foil as BBQ sauce and foil can actually react due to the acidic nature of the sauce.

If you are going to be enjoying the ribs any later than an hour after cooking then put them in the refrigerator. For tips on how to then warm them back up again, check out my guide on how to reheat ribs.

Grilled Corn For Days

  • Our take on a classic grilled Mexican street corn recipe relies on easy-to-find ingredients to create the creamy, slightly spicy, smoky corn on the cob that we crave when we think of authentic Mexican elote.
  • Serving elote for a crowd? Make it a salad instead! This Mexican street corn salad with chipotle crema is always a hit.
  • Do you prefer your grilled corn with maple Bourbon butter or slathered with blue cheese butter and chives? How about all of the above? We present: grilled corn, four ways.

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How Do You Clean A Charcoal Grill

The easiest way to clean a grill is with a wire brush while the grate is still hot. For tough stains, use a grill cleaner or scouring pad. To clean the inside of your grill, remove the grate and ashing tray, and then scrape off excess grease and particles with a putty knife or trowel. For stubborn spots, try spraying the area with oven cleaner, then wipe away with a rag after 10 to 15 minutes.

Sweet And Spicy Grilled Salmon

Beginner With Charcoal... Gonna Make Some Awesome Fajitas : grilling

The decadent-tasting “good” fat in salmon complements the sweet-spicy Buffalo glaze. The skin gets caramelized and crisp on the grill as the sauce drips onto it. It’s delicious, but can be discarded to save fat and calories. A crisp and refreshing celery slaw is dressed with the same sauce, made creamy with light mayo, and brightened with onions and chives.

Get the Recipe: Sweet and Spicy Grilled Salmon

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How To Charcoal Grill Ribs

Now that our grill is ready, its time to get this rib cook-off going! Place the racks on the grate of the grill, ensuring that theyre placed on the half of the grate without charcoal underneath it, next to the water pan. Place them with the rib side of the rack facing down.

Aim to cook for 3-4 hours for baby back ribs, or 4-5 hours for spare ribs.

After one hour check on the ribs, making sure that the charcoals are burning nicely and keeping the grill hot. Also check that theres enough water in the pan to maintain a healthy supply of steam.

Add a few more wood chunks to the coals and turn the ribs over to help give you a more even cook.

Check out our guide to smoking ribs on a gas grill

Grilled Tomatoes And Basil Zucchini Noodles

Grilling” and “intimidating” don’t have to be part of the same sentence. If you’re a complete beginner, look no further than these easy grilling recipes anyone can master, from basic grilled shrimp to juicy grilled chicken and grilled vegetable kebabs perfect for your roommates and family. Throwing vegetables and meat on the grill gives your food that irreplaceable flavor that won’t be achieved from roasting, and you’ll convince yourself you’re an actual pro after trying out these foolproof ideas. This summer, crank up the grill and discover a whole list of new recipes you’ll want to make every season from here on out.

Additional reporting by Haley Lyndes

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