Variations On A Theme
Manufacturers seem to delight in dizzying consumers with more labels that sometimes mean the same thing. Descriptions youre likely to see when shopping for charcoal:
- Natural, chemical-free briquettes
- 100% natural hardwood
- Flavored charcoal
I even saw some natural hardwood products promoted as charcoal free. I dont want to know what that means
You know that anything labeled natural is going to cost more. Lump charcoal, being pure wood, is natural. Prices on Amazon for hardwood charcoal ranges between $1 to $2/pound.
How To Keep Charcoal Hot
Use your tongs to keep the coals together. You dont want them so well packed that they can’t get air, but you also don’t want them separated.
HOT TIP: Cooking temperatures on a charcoal grill are controlled by opening and closing the vents. Opening the vents feeds the fire, raising the temperature. Closing the vents deprives the fire of oxygen, lowering the temperature.
Keep the top and bottom vents open to get the hottest temperature. The more air you get to the fire, the hotter it will cook.
Empty the ash frequently. Ash takes up space for air and will smother the coals as it builds up.
Allow Your Charcoal To Burn For A Few Minutes And Then Adjust The Temperature
Let your lump charcoal burn for a few minutes after youâve lit it. Watch to see when your charcoal is covered in a layer of gray ash and has started building up an ember bed. At that point, close the lid and shut the bottom damper most of the way. This will provide enough air to keep the fire going while regulating the temperature.
Look at the temperature gauge on your grill to determine when youâve hit the sweet spot. Now youâre ready to get your favorite BBQ recipes on the grill!
Learning to light your kamado grill? Watch our video on how to light a kamado grill to see our pitmastersâ tricks for doing it like a pro! Weâve also got a handy guide for choosing, using and storing lump charcoal. Finally, donât forget to get acquainted with the Kong kamado grill itself. Itâs a charcoal-grilling beast unlike any other!
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Our Top Lump Charcoal For Grilling Recommendations
This premium lump charcoal by Rockwood is easily one of the best lump charcoal for grilling on this list. It burns hot, is easy to light, and produces very little ash.
The smoke is mild and would work well with anything, making it a great all-rounder. You can use this charcoal to cook pretty much anything, from steaks to chicken, and it will always come out tasting great.
Rockwood uses premium Missouri oak, hickory, and maple sourced solely from Missouri for this charcoal, making it environmentally friendly too. This does lead to somewhat inconsistent sizes and shapes, but it typically arrives with very little in the way of shrapnel and dust.
Admittedly, this type of lump charcoal is not the cheapest on this list, but its a solid performer.
How To Grill With Wood Chips
If you’re ready to take your grilling game up a notch, infuse your meats with smokier flavor by adding wood to your charcoal. You can use chunks of wood when smoking or wood chips right on top of the coals for grilling. Always soak your wood chips first, so that they smolder instead of burn.
Soaked cherry hardwood chips add a unique flavor to these easy chicken quesadillas. Make a double batch of the chicken to eat later in the week .
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The Best Charcoal Grilled Steak
This post is sponsored by Home Depot. All text and opinions are my own.
Theres nothing like a beautiful summer day, your family enjoying the outdoors with you and firing up your grill for the ultimate dinner!
What makes it even better is when that dinner includes these delicious Charcoal Grilled Steaks.
Theres is nothing better than a steak thats piping hot off of a charcoal grill.
The flavor is absolutely amazing!
If you are new to grilling a steak on a charcoal grill dont worry!
We will give you the ultimate guide to getting a delicious, juicy steak off your charcoal grill.
It might take a little extra work compared to a gas grill, but once you taste the difference you wont mind the extra few minutes of work!
Trust us, its totally worth it!
One of our favorite tricks to getting the ultimate charcoal grilled steak is using our favorite Kingsford Hardwood Charocal Briquettes found at Home Depot!
We love them because the are made of all natural hardwood and create low amounts of ash during use.
Plus, they create a high heat which is perfect for searing these delicious steaks!
You can use them on your charcoal grill, smoker or ceramic grill.
Did I mention that they give your steaks the ultimate smoky flavor which is the secret of why our steaks taste better than anyones!
Shhhh, dont tell anyone our secret oh wait, maybe you should!
So Should I Use Lump Charcoal
We love cooking with lump charcoal at The Barbecue Company. Of course, we’re going to say you should cook with it. It’s delicious, it’s fun, and it’s a great outdoor activity. At the end of the day, it’s important to be aware of the risks, but not be paralysed by them. Think of it the same way you’d chuck on some sunscreen and slip slop slap before you hit the beach. Take some precautions, use your noggin, and take advantage of our top-quality charcoal. We stock Golden Oaks, Myron Mixon, and Goldens Cast Iron – only the best of the best. Shop our full range of BBQ charcoal today.
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How Do I Arrange The Charcoal
The best way to arrange your charcoal depends on the shape of your grill and whether you want to grill with direct or indirect heat. You can create the effect of direct or indirect heat by setting up two zones on your charcoal grill. Basically, direct heat is on the lit side, while indirect heat is on the unlit side.
What Makes Lump Charcoal So Good For Grilling
The high heat that lump coal produces is one of the main reasons its such a great choice for grilling. The intense heat sears in the juices and flavors of whatever youre cooking, giving you an amazing end product. Lump charcoal also lights easily which is another bonus when it comes to grilling.
Lump coal is also great for indirect grilling which is a technique where you cook the food slowly over low heat. This method prevents flare-ups and gives your food that perfect grilled taste!
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Not Everyone Is Convinced Though
As much as charcoal or briquettes can be awesome for grilling various foods, they also come with their drawbacks. Here is what experts had to say against using lump charcoal.
Matt Duckor, Why Im Over Using Lump Hardwood Charcoal
I went out and bought a bag of lump hardwood charcoal, brought it home, and loaded up my chimney starter with the irregularly shaped shards of petrified-looking wood.
I immediately noticed just how hot the hardwood stuff got and, before I knew it, how quickly it burned out. Things get especially tricky if youre aiming to use lump hardwood charcoal for the kind of grilling session that can stretch over a span of several hours.
Every time I used it I ended up frustrated and confused, feeling all alone in this brave, overheated new grilling world.
While Matt makes some good points, we think you can still control the heat with care and practice.
Jeff Allen from the National Barbecue Association points out that charcoal generates more smoke than briquettes, which could be a problem with strict rules like apartments, retirement communities or even condos.
There Are Lots Of Different Types Of Charcoal And It Can Be Confusing While The Charcoal You Use Doesnt Really Impact The Flavor It Does Affect The Heat Produced And How Long The Coals Stay Hot But When It Comes Right Down To It Charcoal Is Available In Two Basic Forms Lump Charcoal And Briquettes
Lump charcoal, a favorite among grilling purists, has a more natural composition. Its usually made from cherry, coconut shells, mesquite and tamarind. Because its not compressed like briquettes, it tends to burn hotter and faster. Its also less ashy. Its difficult to layer lump charcoal evenly, so grillers tend to use lump charcoal for low and slow BBQ, like pork, ribs and brisket.
Briquettes are made primarily of sawdust, with binding ingredients added to form their pillow shape. The uniform size of briquettes gives you a standard unit of fuel, making it easier to regulate a more precise fire. Briquettes burn a little less hot than lump charcoal and experts tend to use briquettes for foods that require less cooking time, like steak or fish.
One way to get some of the benefits of lump charcoal without the drawbacks is to build a mixed fire: some briquettes and some lump. This will help you get a hotter fire for searing and still maintain more consistent heat for longer-cooking times.
The charcoal you choose primarily impacts the intensity and evenness of your heat. Whichever type you decide on, use a quality charcoal, like our centercut lump charcoal. It burns cleanly and is uniform in size and quality for dependable results every time.
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A Using Aluminum Foil
If your pizza is ready sometime before dinner, you can wrap it in aluminum foil to retain the heat. Then when it gets cold during dinner, pop your wrapped pizza in the oven at 450 degrees Fahrenheit and warm it for 5 to 10 minutes.
Image source: takethetruck.com
This process will make the pizza hot without interfering with the flavor. However, be cautious about setting the oven to the appropriate temperature, or you might end up with a burnt pizza.
Starting Your Grill With An Electric Charcoal Starter
An electric charcoal starter is a device with a handle on one end and a metal loop on the other. Plug in the charcoal starter, using an outdoor-rated extension cord. Load one layer of charcoal close together, near the center of the grill. Place the heating element of the electric charcoal starter onto the center of the pile. Lay a second layer of charcoal on top of the heating element and the surrounding coals. When the charcoal is well-lit, remove the charcoal starter.
Electric starters ignite coals a little more slowly than an open flame, but when you start your grill with an electric charcoal starter, you wont need lighter fluid, newspapers, matches or lighters.
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Breaking Up With Briquettes
Briquettes themselves are often the biggest obstacle to getting your charcoal lit. Thatâs because they have several unfavorable qualities, such as:
- Briquettes often take their sweet time to light. Some people use lighter fluid to speed up the process, but this can leave your food with a nasty chemical taste.
- Commercial briquettes are often full of additives and fillers that can taste almost as bad as lighter fluid.
- When youâre done grilling, briquettes leave behind a mess of ash to clean up.
All in all, even if you have fond memories of grilling with briquettes, theyâre best left in the past. Thereâs a better way forward with a higher quality type of charcoal.
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.
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How To Grill Steak On Charcoal Grill
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.
Learn how to grill steak on a charcoal grill! We will tell you tips and tricks to getting the perfectly juicy, tender and delicious steak using your charcoal grill. Plus, we will share our secret for getting that ultimate, smokey flavor your steak deserves. These are the BEST charcoal grilled steaks ever!
How To Cook Pizza On The Grill Without A Stone A Step
Grilling pizza is one of the best ways to prepare homemade pizzas, especially during summer when you want to keep that heat out. It gives the pizza the restaurant-style crispiness and smoky flavor. However, cooking pizza on a grill is an experience that some may not consider. But from my several trials, I can attest that it is not as tricky or messy as many people would think.
Grilling is the perfect way of cooking a delicious charred crust with a good wood-fired crisp crust taste without a stone. The basic tips for cooking pizza on the grill without a stone are to get prepared and be fast. Read on for a guide on how to cook pizza on the grill without a stone.
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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.
Do I Open The Vents Or Close Them When Lighting Charcoal
As we said above, fire needs oxygen to burn. So, open the lid, lid vent and vents on the bottom of the grill to let in air to fuel the flames. This will help oxygen reach the coals once theyre lit so they can burn hotter. Once theyre fully lit, you can adjust the vent opening to control the cooking temperature.
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What Criteria Did We Use To Come Up With These Selections
To select the best lump charcoal for grilling that weve listed above, we took a few things into account.
First, we looked at how well the charcoal burned. This was an important factor because if the charcoal doesnt burn evenly or if it has a lot of sparks, your food will likely taste bad.
Then, we looked at the type of wood used in production as this can affect both the flavor and smokiness of your food. We also considered the size and shape of the pieces so that you wouldnt have to deal with a lot of dust on your hands or tiny little shards in between grates.
Lastly, we looked at any off-flavors and odors present because this can lead to bad food no matter how well it burns.
We also looked at user reviews to get an idea of how people felt about these brands and selected those that had the most positive feedback.
Whats So Great About Lump Charcoal
- If youâre using a ceramic grill like the Grilla Grills Kong, natural lump charcoal is highly preferred over briquettes. Itâs free of any artificial additives that might leave a bad taste in your ceramic lining.
- Lump charcoal lights much more quickly than briquettes. Usually, all youâll need is some newspaper, paraffin cubes or other natural fire starters. Leave that lighter fluid behind!
- Lump charcoal burns hotter than briquettes. If youâre having trouble getting briquettes up to the temperature you need, try switching to lump charcoal.
- Youâll get better flavor from lump charcoal, thanks to the fact that itâs made from whole pieces of hardwood.
- Lump charcoal leaves behind much less ash, which means less grill cleaning for you!
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Store Your Charcoal Properly
If youre not using your charcoal right away, make sure to store it correctly. Moisture will make the charcoal less efficient and storing it somewhere thats hot could start a fire. When it comes to grilling, its best to store your lump charcoal in a place thats cool and dry until youre ready to use it. Its even better to store the bags unused portion in a sealed container rather than leaving it open in the garage to absorb moisture.
How Is It Sourced
Ethically sourced wood is also important. The best lump charcoal comes from sustainable forests that are harvested in a way to protect both the environment and the wildlife living there so be sure you choose one of these if possible! Using charcoal from sources that are effectively destroying rainforests is not only terrible for the environment but also shows that the company youre buying from is not ethical. Who knows what else theyve done to their charcoal.
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Using Newspaper To Start Your Charcoal Grill
One of the easiest ways to recycle newspaper is to use it as a fire starter for your charcoal grill. Insert rolled up newspaper underneath closely-packed charcoal in several different spots. Light the newspaper with a fireplace match or lighter. Add newspaper to the fire until its well-lit.
While there are several effective methods to light charcoal, using special equipment can make the job easier. Here are a couple of tools that make lighting charcoal faster and easier.