The Art of Lighting A Charcoal Grill

During the hot and dog days of summer, we always remember the fun that we had with our family, friends and neighbors cooking chicken, beef or pork or even seafood in a BBQ. Beer, fries and cold soft drinks pair well with any dish that was cooked over charcoal.

Who can deny that BBQs are irresistible? Listening to the crack of the meat as it hits the fire and the unmistakable aroma from the smoke as it reaches our neighborhood is so much fun!

grilled steak

Image by _BuBBy_ via flickr

Here are some tips on how to heat your charcoal to start a really good grill.

We have to admit that some of us or most of us do not know how to heat a proper grill. Heating the charcoal is the most important step, as it may make or break your BBQ. Good BBQs start with good heat.

Grilling with charcoal is sometimes called grilling with direct heat method. In this method, meat is directly placed on top of the direct heat source in order for it to cook at the shortest possible time. The heat conducted through the grill on to the meat is called a cross hatch.

It is with this method of grilling, that meat acquires a taste that has a signature charcoal flavour that what we call as char broiled. The heat from the charcoal is more intense than the gas-fired stove or electric griller. Although, the heat is sometimes uncontrollable, there are techniques to do this.

First is that charcoal grills are very light and easy to tip over, so place the grill on a flat surface, and watch out for kids or animals that might tip it over. In short, keep your eyes on the grill at all times.

The fuel used to heat the charcoal grill is called charcoal briquettes or lump charcoal.

cooked grill

Image by Robert S. Donovan via flickr

Lay aluminum sheets on top of your grill before putting in the charcoal. This will make the charcoal grill easy to clean after using.

Stack the right amount of charcoal in a pyramid shape in the middle of the grill. This will make the charcoal easy to light with a maximum amount of air flow circulating around the charcoals.

Lightly spray your charcoals with lighter fluid and wait for a minute until it is completely soaked. Keep the lighter fluid away from the grill after spraying. You can also use old news papers when lighting your charcoal.

Some charcoal briquettes have compounds that can light up ready with a match. Be very careful when storing these charcoal briquettes.
Using a long lighter, light the sides of the charcoal until you have a small fire. Burn the fire, usually, around 20-30 minutes until the charcoal glows and there is a slight smoke coming out from the grill.

Use a glove and thongs when spreading the hot charcoals around the grill.

Viola! You are now ready to grill!