Grilling Guide: Getting Started

Grilling Guide: Getting Started

Grilling season is fast approaching. Some of you might be getting ready to purchase your first grill ever. Others might be looking to upgrade and some of you might just need a few new parts and accessories to get ready for a summer full of delicious grilled food. 

In preparation for grilling season, we’re writing a few Grilling Guides. From using a charcoal chimney and setting up heat zones to keeping your grill at temperature and making sure you are properly cleaning your grill after each cook, we’re here to help.

For the first blog post in the series, we’re focusing on using your charcoal chimney and setting up your grill. Here are the steps from start to finish to ensure you are ready to get grilling. 

1. Fill Your Charcoal Chimney and Light It

About 30 minutes before you want to start grilling, fill your chimney with charcoal. Crumple up newspaper or get a Firestarter. Set the newspaper or Firestarter on the grill or on an empty piece of pavement. Light it and set the chimney of charcoal on top of it.

2. Be Patient

 Charcoal chimneys are designed to eliminate using lighter fluid. Their shape allows the heat to rise from the bottom of the chimney to the top, giving you hot coals in a fraction of the time that it would take by placing charcoal in the grill. Typically, the charcoal is ready after 20 minutes.

3. Dump the Charcoal into the Grill

 Once almost all of your charcoal has a layer of ash on it, the coals are ready to dump. Thanks to the innovative design of Char-Griller’s Chimney, you don’t have to worry about dumping hot coals into the grill. With the easy dump release feature, you simply pull the handle and the hot coals fall out of the bottom of the chimney right into your grill.

4. Set Up Your Heat Zones

After the coals are in the grill, it’s time to set up your heat zones. If you want direct heat, spread the charcoal evenly along the bottom of your grill. If you want indirect heat, move your charcoal off to one side. If you are looking to smoke in your grill, dump your charcoal into the Side Fire Box (or use the Smokin’ Stone with the AKORN).

5. Replace Your Grates and Close the Lid

After you have the coals set up (and, if you are using an AKORN, have placed your Smokin’ Stone), replace the grates on the grill and close the lid. Closing the lid is a crucial step that a lot of people forget. You have to allow your grill to come up to temperature and the grates to heat up before you start grilling. Yes, it requires more patience but it is well worth waiting the extra 5 to 10 minutes.

6. Get Grilling

Coals are hot. Grill is hot. Grates are ready. The food is prepped, it’s time to grill! While it might seem like a hassle initially, setting up your charcoal and grill beforehand makes a world of difference. Trust us. You will notice the difference. 

With just a little preparation, charcoal grilling can be made easy and hassle-free. What grilling questions do you have? Drop them in this form and you might see a future blog post answering your question!

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Christopher March 12, 2019

Rather than using newspaper, which I find takes a good wad to get going, I use paper grocery sacks. I tear off a large portion, wad it up and light it. Once the flame takes to it, I get a good start on the charcoal.

Mike A. March 12, 2019

Give instructions on how to hold temp. in a charcoal barrel grill

Paul welby March 12, 2019

I have a 2 year old Akorn Char-Griller. I haven’t used it since the fall and it’s pretty beat up inside, with some top coat of crud and rust looking on the grates. . It’s been covered but the winter up here in Scranton Pa was rough., . What is my best bet to clean it up and get ready for grilling?
Please help!

Aaron Robbins April 16, 2019

Chimneys are ok, but an electric starter is way better provided you have power handy. I build my lump Cole in the grill place electric heater under pile turn on 15 minutes ready to set up. No double handling, no ambers dropping all around as you transfer chimney. No paper, no fluid always ready to go.

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