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How to Cook on a Charcoal Grill?

June 09, 2022 4 min read

Barbecue is a way for many people to get together for leisure and entertainment. If you want perfectly roasted meat, seafood or vegetables with the flavor of smoked charcoal, charcoal barbecue is an ideal way. Cooking food on charcoal will produce a unique and rich flavor, which gas can't replicate. However, compared with other fuel types, it is not easy to barbecue with charcoal. If you want to know how to barbecue with charcoal, here will give you a detailed introduction to the basic knowledge of cooking with charcoal bbq grill, so that you can quickly master charcoal barbecue and make a mouth-watering barbecue.

Light the charcoal
There are many ways to light the charcoal; you can use a lighter liquid, a chimney starter or an electric charcoal grill igniter. Most people will prefer to use a chimney starter because it is simple, fast and efficient. Simply remove the cooking grate, place the chimney starter on the lower grate, stuff a few crumpled newspapers in the bottom, and fill it with charcoal. Light the paper through the hole in the chimney and wait for the charcoal to turn completely gray in the charcoal chimney. It may take 10-15 minutes for lump charcoal and 20 minutes for briquettes. Beginner grillers can start with charcoal briquettes. They heat more evenly than irregularly shaped lump charcoal. Experienced grillers can try hard charcoal briquettes. It burns a little hotter, which makes it a good choice for searing. Then lift up the grill grate and gently pour the coals into the bbq grill.

If you want to enhance the smoky flavor of your food, try pouring wood chips over the coals. This is especially effective when you are cooking at lower temperatures for longer periods of time. Wood chips or chunks cut from shepherd's pea, hickory, apple or alder trees are popular wood chip varieties for grilling and smoking. If you are grilling at higher temperatures, soaking the wood chips in a liquid such as water, beer or even wine before charcoal bbq will help them burn more slowly and add flavor to the food.

Light the Charcoal in the Charcoal Grill

Preheat the grate
Do not place the food on the charcoal grill after lighting it. You must preheat your grill first. If you put food on the grill right away, it will end up staying on the grill too long. This means the food will dry out and overcook. Once you have distributed the lit charcoal over the grill, cover it and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes before placing any food on the grill. If your covered barbecue grill has a built-in thermometer, this is a good way to quickly determine the internal temperature of the grill. Before placing food on the grill, oil the grate and brush it with a paper towel dipped in cooking oil. This helps prevent food from sticking.

Preheat the Grate of the Charcoal Grill

Control the temperature
Cooking with charcoal does not seem to give you control over the temperature compared to a gas grill. You can actually regulate the temperature of your grill by controlling the airflow through the grill vents. If you want to make your bbq grill hotter, look at the vents. These vents control the airflow through the grill, and the larger their opening, the hotter it will get. Or, if you want to lower the temperature, simply close the vents again.

You also have the flexibility to move food around on a charcoal outdoor grill and use different temperatures as needed by setting up a two-zone grill. To do this with charcoal, simply distribute at least 75% of the briquettes or lumps on one side of the grill, creating two different temperature zones, one on the indirect heat side and one on the direct heat side. This allows you to cook different foods at different temperatures and speeds. The direct grill is fast and hot. It uses high heat and is perfect for cooking foods such as burgers, steaks, roasts, fish, hot dogs, vegetables and pork chops. Indirect cooking uses low heat and is used for slow cooking. Use this method to cook large or tough cuts of meat that require long, slow cooking. You can also use this side of the grill to keep food warm.

Zoned Charcoal Grill

Cook the food
Place the meat on the grill, then cover and let the meat cook for a few minutes, then lift the lid and flip a piece with tongs or a spatula. If that bottom side is brown, the rest of the piece is probably ready to be turned. If your meat is sticking to the grate, it is not ready to turn. Don't press the meat while it's cooking on the grill - pressing it will squeeze out the juices and cause the burger or steak to dry out. If you like to apply sauce during cooking, be sure to set some extra sauce aside at the beginning to avoid cross-contamination. Cut open a piece of meat with stainless steel scissors. If it is fully cooked and you think all other parts are the same, then it is time to stop cooking. Let the meat rest in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. You can also use your charcoal bbq grill to grill vegetables, pineapple, pizza, eggs, and even bread. But be careful not to slice them too thinly to avoid burning the food on the grill easily.

Cook on the Charcoal Grill

Close the grill
Close the barbecue grill lid and close all vents when you are finished using it. Charcoal requires oxygen to keep it burning, which will stop the burning process. Then clean the charcoal ashes from the grill to prevent accidental fires from the ashes that are actually still burning in the shade after several hours. Any unburned charcoal pieces can be transferred to a metal can and stored for future use. When the grill is cool to the touch, scoop out the ashes and place them in a metal bucket or tub. Soak them in water overnight and let them sit overnight or longer before throwing them away.

Close the Charcoal Grill

By following the tips above, you too can master cooking with charcoal and create delicious grilled food on your grill easily and safely.


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