Here are some more outdoor grilling tips and ideas that can be used when grilling with charcoal.
1. If you are lighting your charcoal directly on the grill, make sure to arrange the charcoal on the grill in a pyramid shape. The pyramid shape will allow air to flow freely, allowing air to flow for coals to light up efficiently.
2. When layering charcoals, add only one layer of coals on one side of the grill and a double layer on the other side of the coal grate. This way you will have two heat levels in one grill. Wrap cooked items sitting on the cooking grid in aluminum foil paper to keep them moist and juicy.
3. To increase the heat of your grill, gently fan the coals. If you are using a small grill get your set of coal tongs, carefully and safely remove the food and the cooking grid or grate. Pinch one side of the coal grate or tray at the bottom. With a firm hold of the tongs ‘vibrate-shake’ the tray gently so that the excess ash clumps can break off. Do not try to blow the ash away with your mouth!
4. Add a few more coals if you need to grill some more. The best way is lighting new charcoal on the side is by using a charcoal chimney also known as a chimney starter. Add only glowing coals to a started grill.
Unlit good quality lump charcoal can be added to an ongoing fire. They have ‘clean burning qualities.’ Avoid adding charcoal briquettes in this way. Most types will infuse your food with a petroleum ‘flavor’.
Skewered Sausages on the Grill
5. If your grill flares up, close the lid promptly to cut of oxygen supply. Reduce airflow by closing air vents. Be careful not to open the grill cover or lid too soon.
Use a spray bottle with water or a salt-water solution on the coals to extinguish minor flares. If you need to open the grill, do so gently and with caution.
6. Never use gasoline or kerosene (paraffin) to light the coals. The fumes and vapors are highly flammable and can cause an explosion resulting in severe burns. Also avoid adding lighter fluid to coals that are glowing or burning.
If all your coals did not light up well the first time, try stacking unlit coals over the glowing ones and fan them gently. Use a paper plate (avoid Styrofoam type) or a piece of cardboard or ‘carton box’. This can be a chore especially if you are using self-igniting briquettes. It is always best to start the grill nicely on the first try.
7. Self-igniting or self-starter briquettes burn more quickly. Mix them with plain briquettes to get more cooking time from them.
8. Never use a charcoal or gas grill indoors or in an area with poor ventilation. This is a real health and fire hazard. Bi-products of the combustion of charcoal and gas are odorless and colorless. The human nose cannot effectively detect them.