How to Get the Right Coals on the Grill
Do you use a classic charcoal grill for all your summer dinners? Then you probably know that there are different techniques and tools to get the perfect coals, which also gives you the perfect piece of meat, vegetable skewer, or grilled haloumi.
But it is not always easy to know how to get the coals perfect. But you can rest easy. In this guide we share our best tips for getting smoking hot coals on the grill.
What is the difference between charcoal and briquettes?
Are you wondering whether to use charcoal or briquettes in your grill? The different options differ somewhat, and depending on what you are going to grill, one may be better suited than the other.
You should use charcoal if you want to grill at a high temperature using direct heat. The advantage of charcoal is that it ignites quickly and gets hotter than briquettes. With charcoal, and its direct heat, you can grill food that has a shorter cooking time, such as hamburgers, vegetables or sausages.
However, the disadvantage of charcoal is that it burns out faster and can give off uneven heat.
Unlike charcoal, briquettes burn longer and with more even heat. With briquettes, you get indirect heat, which is suitable when you are going to grill food on a lower heat for a longer period of time.
The disadvantages of briquettes are that they take a relatively long time to ignite and produce a little more smoke than charcoal.
Mix charcoal and briquettes
You don’t have to choose between charcoal and briquettes – they can be mixed! The advantage is that you then get a longer burn-time and can choose between indirect and direct grilling.
How much charcoal should I use?
The amount of charcoal you should use depends on the size of the grill and on what you are going to grill. For food that is easy to cook, such as hamburgers, sausages, or thinner pieces of meat, a single layer of charcoal is usually enough.
However, if you are going to grill food that takes longer, such as larger pieces of meat or a big chicken, you may need to use two layers of charcoal.
How to fill and light the grill
Now you hopefully know what fuel to use for your grill. So let’s move on to how to go about getting the perfect coals. Put on your grill apron and bring your utensils – it’s time to start grilling!
- Fill the grill
Place either charcoal or briquettes in the grill. If you have a kettle grill, a good rule of thumb is to fill it a quarter. It is always better to have a little too much than too little. You can, of course, add more coal while grilling, but then you risk getting uneven heat. A hot tip is to stack your charcoal or briquettes in a pile to light them easier, and once you get the coals going, you can flatten the pile.
- Time to light the grill
Now it’s time to light the grill. You can use grill lighters, firelighter bags, grill starters, electric lighters, or traditional matches. Let the charcoal or briquettes burn until they turn ashen grey, then close the lid of the grill. But don’t forget to leave the vents open!
Once the grill has reached the right temperature, it’s time place the food on the grill.
Did you know that you can reuse charcoal that hasn’t burned down? Allow the coals to cool, then place them in a plastic bag. Shake the bag until the ash falls off the coals.