Prepare Your Kettle For Smoking With Low Indirect Heat
Set up your grill for indirect cooking and get some wood.
You will need about 30 charcoal briquettes either arranged in a charcoal basket or banked on one side of the grill. Use a paraffin cube, tumbleweed, torch, etc to light one side of the charcoal.
Set you lower air vent to 20% open and leave the top vent completely open.
While youre doing waiting for the coals to light, go ahead and pour yourself a glass of something cold and refreshing.
As soon as a few coals have been lit you are ready to start smoking those pork chops!
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Tips For How To Grill Using Charcoal:
Chances are if you found yourself on this site, you want to elevate your outdoor cooking game and grill or smoke some delicious food. If you are about to start cooking with charcoal, here are some of the pro tips you should follow to help you get one step closer to cooking some food that is sure to impress:
How To Clean A Charcoal Grill
Clean the grill right after cooking, while its still hot, using a stiff-wire grill brush. Use it every time you grill to remove food particles from the cooking surface.
If you’re looking for an alternative to using wire brushes , rub your grill grates with a peeled half onion,” pitmaster Megan Day told TODAY Food. “Allow the grill to heat up to a high temperature. Pierce the half onion with a fork and rub the cut-side down along the grill grates. The onion’s juices will release and produce steam to remove the bits and charred on debris.”
This post was originally published on May 25, 2016. Related:
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Is Kingsford Charcoal Additive Free
All Kingsford charcoal briquettes are made up of charcoal, coal, sawdust, sodium nitrate, and a special starch binder to ensure that the briquettes hold their shape. Kingsford Matchlight also adds contains paraffin, petroleum products, or other accelerants to promote vigorous combustion.
There are some special blends of Kingsford charcoal that include wood fibers like hickory and mesquite. Certain blends of Kingsford also have herbs and seasonings in them with preservatives, special binders, and small amounts of culinary additives.
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.
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What To Grill On Low Heat
Christopher Arturo, Culinary Arts chef-instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education, does not recommend grilling at low heat on a charcoal grill for the whole time because the protein will likely dry out. That being said, there are certain foods that do well cooked on high heat and then transferred to an area of the grill at low heat. Folks can do this with larger pieces of protein, like pork chops, as well as fattier fishes like salmon. Arturo also loves grilling a whole onion with this method.
Can Cooked Fish Be Pink
Points to remember when cooking fish So, you can cook whole fish to preference or pink in the middle, as long as the outside is fully cooked. Products made from minced fish, such as fish cakes, must be cooked thoroughly to make them safe to eat. This is because they can contain harmful bacteria throughout.
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Direct Heat For High Temperature Grilling
The direct heat grilling method is best for steaks, chops, hamburgers, kabobs, vegetables and food that cooks quickly. There is basically one way to arrange the coals when cooking with direct heat. Charcoal is spread evenly across the charcoal grate for even heat distribution. Once the coals are lit, close the lid and preheat for 20 to 30 minutes.
Grill Over The Right Temperature
Charcoal grills take 20 to 30 minutes to properly warm up. Once you distribute your coals, cover the grill and let the grates heat up. But without those fancy knobs on a gas grill, how will you know what temperature you’re working with? Hold your hand about six inches above the grate. If you can leave it there for six or seven seconds, it’s medium heat. Four to five seconds is medium-high. And if you can only keep it there for one or two seconds? You’ve reached high heat, baby!
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Propane Torches And Weed Burners
Propane torches and weed burners are relatively inexpensive and can cost as little as $20. They are also efficient ways to light charcoal. Add your charcoal to your grill and submerge the weed burner or propane torch into the stack of coals.
In about 5 minutes, you will have charcoal thats ready to use. It is important to note weed burners get extremely hot, so be careful when using them and place the burner in a safe area to cool down.
In addition to this, since sparks will flicker, its best to invest in protective eye gear such as goggles, so you do not get burned. If you are using a propane burner, keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case an accident occurs.
When All Coals Are Ashed Over Pour Out The Chimney
After about 15 to 20 minutes, youll see the coals starting to glow through the vents and flames starting to flicker over the top layer. Pour when all the coals in the chimney are ashed over. Then spread the coals out.
Learn more about how to arrange your charcoal.
Method 2: How to light a charcoal grill with lighter fluid
This tried-and-true method works well to get your charcoal started if you dont have a chimney. Here are some tips to use lighter fluid safely.
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Instant Light Charcoal 2kg
AN IMMEDIATE FLAME FOR GRILLING CHARCOAL OR STARTING YOUR COOK
SUSTAINABLE WOODS COATED IN NATURAL WAX
SMALL LUMP PIECES ? SIZE STARTS AS 2-10CM
CONVENIENT & QUICK HEAT FOR THE BBQ
FOR THE ENTHUSIAST, NOVICE OR FIRELIGHTER
USE FOR GRILLING OR AS THE FIRE LIGHTER
Instant Light Lumpwood Charcoal is quick & easy to use for outdoor charcoal BBQ?s.
Simply place one of the inner bags per packet onto the charcoal grill and light using a long match or utility lighter.
Lights easily every-time, quickly producing a flame and getting upto cooking temperature fast.
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How To Light Charcoal Without Lighter Fluid Or A Chimney
If you don’t have a chimney starter, another reliable, yet simple option for starting a charcoal grill is the newspaper method.
1. Place newspaper under the grill grate. Ball up newspaper and place it wherever you wish to place your charcoal. If you plan to have multiple heat zones, place the newspaper in each location charcoal will be. Sprinkle a bit of cooking oil on the newspaper to help it ignite.
2. Arrange the charcoal around the newspaper. Use enough charcoal to cover the newspaper sufficiently while still allowing airflow to encourage ignition.
3. Light the newspaper. Find a piece of exposed newspaper and light it with a long lighter. Remember to light your newspaper in every zone you established.
4. Wait for the charcoal to ignite. This will take a bit longer than it would with a charcoal chimney but the charcoal should all ignite within about 15 minutes. Keep your grill open to let oxygen feed the fire. You’re ready to grill once your charcoal is grayish-white.
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Types Of Charcoal Grill
There are many types of charcoal grill. On one end, you have the most basic brazier grill, which only includes a cooking grate and charcoal pan. Similar to the Japanese hibachi, the brazier grill is known for cooking over direct high heat and its portability.
On the other end, youve got the monstrous horizontal barrel grill . This bad boy leans toward smoking rather than grilling. A commercial unit costs around a few hundred dollars while a custom-built one is more expensive. Despite that, once you master the offset smoker, it will earn you respect as a serious pitmaster.
Close to the center is the ceramic kamado grill. This grill is known for the heat and moisture retention. Big name brands include Big Green Egg, Kamado Joe to name a few. You can grill and smoke with a kamado. Its chosen charcoal is lump rather than briquettes.
Right at the center is the classic Weber Kettle. As an American icon, the Kettle sets the standards for charcoal grilling. Pretty much everybody starts out with a Kettle before moving on to other charcoal grills. From searing steaks to slow n low, you can do anything with a Weber Kettle.
Now, there are many more types of charcoal grills and they all share similar features like cooking grid, charcoal grate/chamber, and vents system. Lets understand each component a bit better by using the Kettle as an example.
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.
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How And When To Apply Bbq Sauce
Now is not the time to skimp on the BBQ sauce. A good sauce while grilling will help to lock in moisture and add tons of flavor. However, if you’re using a sweet sauce , wait to brush it on until the middle and end of cooking to prevent it from burning. Make sure to have some sauce set aside that is just for the grill and one just for serving, so you don’t cross-contaminate raw and ready-to-eat food.
Watch the video to see how to grill spice-rubbed baby back ribs over indirect heat, and how to brush on the barbeque sauce at the end before a quick final grill to finish them off.
How To Start The Coals For Charcoal Grilling
Year after year, Ive shied away from learning how to barbecue. Our old grill looks imposing and it seemed so complicated. Besides, Jeff is an excellent grill master, so why bother?
Ah, heres whyits 2016 and not knowing how to do this basic cooking technique leaves this feminist cook feeling, well like a weenie.
Thusly shamed, last weekend I vowed to conquer the grill.
Using a charcoal grill is a matter of preparing the coals. I use a chimney starter and instant briquettes. On t.v., Ive seen authentic southern grill masters use lighter fluid to get the flame really hot, but I dont like that technique. I once had hot dogs that were grilled over briquettes that had too much lighter fluid sprayed on, and I got really sick.
Ill stick to my method.
Just put the briquettes in the chimney starter. Like our grill, ours is old and well loved.
Light, using a long stem utility lighter.
And wait. At first, the coals will smoke.
This is the part of barbecuing where I typically forget that all the windows are open and I start frantically running around the house shutting them, yelling at the kids to help. My neighbors must think Im nuts, but I really dont like my bedroom smelling like a 49er tailgate.
After a bit, the smoke subsides and you get flames.
Then about 20 minutes later, they turn grey. You might still see a flame, but the important clue is the color of the briquettes themselves.
And there you go! You are ready to get down and barbecue!
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Fire Lighter Or Fire Starter Method
I think this is the best and most cost-effective method for kamado style grills.
Firelighters or starters use paraffin wax, compressed cardboard or wax coated wood shavings to ignite the charcoal. They also work well to start your chimney and dont leave ash as a newspaper will. Also, paraffin wax is non-toxic and doesnt leave any odor or residue.
You will find a variety of brands, in cubes, strips or loosely packed in a box or bag.
You can also make fire starters yourself. Here is a video demonstrating the technique using paper egg cartons and shortening instead of wax. They have a phenomenal 8-minute burn time.
Personally though, I would just buy some in, as thats too much faffing around for me.
Step 1 Place the fire starter under the chimney or directly on the pile of charcoal
Step 2 Light it.
Thats all there is to using these to light the coals.
- If the flammable agent is chemical, it can affect the taste of your food, so make sure if they are labelled natural.
These starters will work in any grill or campfire. Avoid fire starters that use other chemicals besides paraffin wax or vegetable oil. These can taint your cooking with chemical taste if not completely burned.
How To Extinguish The Flame
Once you’ve grilled chicken breasts, eggplant planks, and vegetable skewers for dinner, it’s important to carefully and fully extinguish the flames. Charcoal retains enough heat that it could start another fire up to 24 hours after cooking. To ensure that the coals are safely extinguished, close all of the vents and gently spray the coals with cold water. Use extra-long tongs to move the coals around and get each one wet. Once you’ve done this, cover the grill and let it cool completely.
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Arranging Your Coals From Direct And Indirect Heat
While you might think that you want to cook everything from hot dogs to kabobs right over the coals, thats not always the case.
Inside your grill, youll want to push your charcoal to one side. This area will be hotter and is where youll do all your direct heat grilling. Foods that should be grilled with direct heat are sausages, kabobs, shrimp and any food that you want to be seared like steaks.
The side without the coals will still be hot, just not scorching. This is the indirect heat area. Use indirect heat to grill foods that take 20 minutes or longer to cook like larger or tough cuts of meat. You can also use the indirect heat area of your grill to keep foods warm.
Prepping And Marinating Beef Ribs For Grilling
Prepping any meat before grilling is essential to get the best results. Here is how you can prepare your beef ribs before grilling:
- Remove the beef ribs from the packaging.
- Wash and rinse it out well. You can soak it in some vinegar water for a while to clean and tenderize it simultaneously.
- Drain the water, and if it is a full rack, you can cut it up into pieces if you choose to. .
- Pat the ribs dry to remove excess water.
- Rub your marinade well on one side of the ribs, then turn it over and rub the marinade on the other side.
In your marinade, acidic ingredients such as vinegar, lemon juice, coke, etc., will help to tenderize your meat slightly quicker, making it soft and juicy.
That works incredibly well during grilling because the ribs can dry out quickly on an open flame .
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Let Your Grill Heat Up Before Putting The Food On
Just like if you were cooking in an oven, you want to make sure your grill is preheated before putting any food onto the grates. Of course, you also want to make sure the grill racks are clean before placing anything on them.
Once youve got your lit charcoal distributed in your grill, close the lid and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes before placing any food on the grill. This is where a good digital grill thermometer comes in handy to be able to quickly determine the internal temperature of your grill.
You also want to oil the grill grates before they go over the hot coals and before you put food on. This will prevent the food from sticking to them and allow you to get those nice grill marks.
Is Instant Light Charcoal Safe
The most important safety thing to note about Kingsford Instant Light or Matchlight is that you shouldnt add any lighter fluid. Doing so can create a fire that burns out of control.
You also need to wait until the exterior of all the charcoal briquettes has turned white, which signifies that all the impregnated lighter fluid has burned off. If you lay your meat down while there is still some black charcoal showing, you could end up with food that has a mild to moderate lighter fluid flavor.
Its also not advisable to use Kingsford Instant Light charcoal briquettes in a newer kamado grill. The aroma of lighter fluid can leave lingering traces in the porous ceramic walls, which can pass on a mild, off-putting butane flavor in future cooks.
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Go Easy On The Seasonings
When it comes to seasoning ribs, you want to be very conservative good ribs have a great flavor all on their own and dont need a lot of enhancement. It is also important to avoid adding barbecue sauce to ribs early in the process. Most barbecue sauces, whether store-bought or homemade, contain some kind of sugar . This can cause your barbecue ribs to burn, even when cooked indirectly.
Try using a good rub before you grill, and if you like, a barbecue sauce after the grilling is done. If you are adding a sauce, try using a mop. A mop is a thin barbecue sauce that you brush on during grilling to help maintain moisture and to add flavor. Sometimes you will hear it referred to as a baste.
You can also fill a spray bottle with a thin barbecue sauce, thin meaning it is practically water. Try a mixture of paprika, water, and a few other seasonings. By spraying the ribs with this mixture during grilling you will add moisture, reduce burning, and add flavor to your barbecue ribs.