Charcoal Grill Barbecuing

Do you want to learn the proven techniques of charcoal grill barbecuing? In addition to being able to grill a mean steak, your charcoal cooker can make great barbecue grill, too. It's all about learning temperature control and using indirect heat.

To grill indirectly, the charcoal is positioned so that it is NOT directly under the food. In smaller grills, the coals are positioned on one end and the food at the other. The same method can be used in larger grills. Optionally, hot coals can be placed on each side of the grill, with the food located in the middle.




Charcoal Grill Barbecuing

The Indirect Grilling Method

When using the indirect method, it's important to use the correct amount of charcoal. The amounts I give here are just guidelines...every grill performs differently. There's also a lot of variation in charcoals from brand to brand. Over time, you'll get the hang of indirect grilling, and know exactly how many briquettes to use to get the perfect temperature.



Barbecuing In A Weber Kettle Grill

Weber grills can be easily set up for barbecue cooking. To position the charcoal briquettes to one side, or two sides, place a few masonry bricks on middle of the charcoal grate. Leave room on sides for charcoal - 10 to 20 briquettes in the smaller grills, and 20 to 40 in the larger ones. If placing briquettes on two sides, put an even number on each.

Position a cake pan on the bricks so it's directly under the meat. It'll catch the drippings, and if you keep it partially filled with water, and it'll help prevent the meat from drying out.




Use a Charcoal Chimney - Not Lighter Fluid

Use a charcoal chimney to start your charcoal. Charcoal lighter fluid can add a petroleum taste to the food...not what you really want. When the charcoal is ashed over, position it with heavy duty tongs.

For meats that need several hours of barbecuing, add a few more lit briquettes to each side every hour or so. Determining the exact number to use will take experience.

Start with the upper and lower vents half-open. Position the lid so the upper vent is between the two charcoal piles, or opposite a single stack of charcoal. The thermometer probe should be near the cooking food. Try to maintain the temperature somewhere between 250-300 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don't have a thermometer, just do your best to keep the temperature at a medium level.


BBQ'ing In Other Types of Charcoal Grills


The principle is still the same...keep the charcoal briquettes over to one side (or two), and the food to the other side (or in the middle). Larger grills will require more charcoal than small ones. With some practice, you'll learn how fast your charcoal burns, how much to start with and how much to add to keep the cookin' going.

Charcoal grill barbecuing successfully takes a little practice and experimentation. Just keep at it and you'll be barbecuing like a competition prizewinner!



Return to Top: Charcoal Grill Barbecuing