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Charcoal Grilling Tips

Quick Tips When Grilling With Charcoal

A charcoal grill with chicken and vegetable kabobs

Charcoal grilling is a great way to cook food outdoors and the distinct smell is one of the staples of summertime in the United States. Grilling over charcoal allows you to add some flavor to your food. For example, you can buy certain charcoal briquet bags which come pre-flavored, like hickory or mesquite. When you cook, the briquets release that flavor into your food.

Find charcoal & backyard grills at your local Southern States store.

Handy Things To Have Near When You Grill

  • Tongs (controlled turning for food like hotdogs and corn)
  • Spatula (flip food like burgers and steaks)
  • Water Bottle (to spray down flames and avoid burning food)
  • Wire brush (to clean your grill when you're done)
  • Clean plate or pan with raised sides (so you don't lose food!) to add cooked food

Good Ideas For Charcoal Grilling

  • On average, you can use a 1:1 ratio for charcoal to meat when trying to determine how much charcoal to cook with. For instance, 1 lb of charcoal to 1 lb of meat. This rule varies depending on temperature/weather, grill size and type of meat, but for the most part should work if you're grilling in nice weather. If it is cold, raining or windy, add more briquettes as needed.
  • Cook food to the proper temperature. Use a meat thermometer to be sure. Ground beef should be cooked to at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit, steaks to 145 degrees, and chicken pieces to 170 degrees.
  • Don't use charcoal grills in closed environments. Charcoal produces carbon monoxide when it's burned, and each year about 30 people die and 100 are injured in the U.S. as a result of carbon monoxide fumes from charcoal grills and hibachis used inside.
  • Do not store charcoal grills indoors with freshly used coals.
  • A charcoal chimney is a convenient way to light a charcoal grill, and it avoids the gas-like odor/taste that can be left behind by lighter fluid. With a charcoal chimney, place crumpled newspaper in the bottom and pour charcoal in the top. Then light the newspaper at the bottom. After about 15 minutes you should see hot coals disperse.
  • After lighting, spread charcoal out to cover the entire bottom of the grill. Let the flames burn down for even heat.
  • To increase heat during cooking, fan the fire and tap ashes from the briquettes. To decrease heat, spray the briquettes with a little water.
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