Grill Power: How to Prepare a Charcoal Grill

I'm ashamed to say that I didn't know how to grill at all until very recently.  There was always someone else around to run the bbq pit, and I usually worked behind the scenes marinading, chopping, or parboiling to get food ready for the grill.  My sister and I had an interesting experience a few years ago trying to grill on our own.  We made it happen, but it wasn't pretty.  I got Parker to give me a crash course in preparing a charcoal grill for actually cooking food on it (not incinerating food, or infusing it with that not-so-nice lighter fluid flavor).

 This method of preparing a grill relies on paper towels soaked in cooking oil rather than using lighter fluid. The paper towel basically acts like a torch and slowly burns down igniting the coals.  Cool right?!  Its super easy, and you never have to worry about accidentally making your food taste like lighter fluid.  Plus its one less thing you have to buy at the store.  Chances are you already have paper towels, and some sort of cooking oil on hand.

1. Layer 3 paper towels one on top of the other and roll into a cone
2. Fold the tip of the cone over, and wedge into the bottom grate of your grill.  Make a mound of coals (about 4 high depending on the size of your grill) around the cone.
3. Saturate your paper towel cone completely with cooking oil (don't be shy).
4. Light your oily cone on fire.

5. Let your cone burn all the way down (this should take around 20 minutes)
6. Once the cone is completely burnt up, you will be left with a coal mound that looks something like this
7. Knock down your mound of coals
8. Redistribute the coals into a small mound so every coal can fully ignite (it will take about 10 more minutes for your coals to be ready for the next step)

9. Your mound of coals should look something like this when they are ready - all white and glowing
10. Spread out your coals into a single layer - put on the grill grate and grill your food.

*** If you feel like your coals are getting too cool after grilling for a while, lift up the grate, and add a few more coals with the tongs.

A note about the vents:
 - Leave vents completely open when starting up the grill
 - For medium to high cooking temperature, leave the vents completely open
 - For a lower cooking temperature - close off the vents partially, the more you close them, the lower the       temperature.  Closing them completely may result in choking out your fire completely, so you probably don't want to do that.


Shelly Thomas *) said...

Thank you! I love this post! I got a charcoal grill for my birthday and have never used one before. So excited to use it now! Thanks, again!

Anonymous said...

Sounds very well & looks easy...thanks so much for sharing!

Gary Sr. said...

A good way to start BBQing. Do your research, you'll get better. :-)

semj said...

Thank you! This is just what i needed to know. 😊