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How To Set Up Charcoal

Welcome to BBQ 101! Char-Griller and Kingsford have teamed up with Susie from Hey Grill Hey, and each week we're going to go through the basics of barbecue to help you become a backyard barbecue pro in no time.

This week we'll guide you through how much charcoal to use and how to set up your charcoal to achieve the right temperature and final results that you want!

First, you'll need to purchase a high-quality charcoal. Look for something that provides consistent heat and can give your food an incredible smoky flavor.

Now, how much charcoal should you use? That depends on how much you're cooking and how hot you want the grill.

If you want high heat, around 450°F to 550°F, you'll want about 100 briquettes or a full charcoal chimney. For medium heat, around 350°F to 450°F, you'll want about 50 briquettes or a half full charcoal chimney. For low heat, around 250°F to 350°F, you'll want a fourth full charcoal chimney or about 25 briquettes.

Maximum temperature and length of the cook depends on how you spread out your coals. If you spread lit coals in a thin layer, your temperature will be lower, and the heat will dissipate faster. If your coals are more concentrated, your temperature will be higher and stay hot longer.


For direct heat grilling, you'll want to place your coals in a single layer across the bottom of the barrel. This technique is ideal for high heat cooking or thin cuts of meat.


For indirect grilling, you'll want to centralize your coals to the left or right side of the grill. This technique is great for using the direct side for searing and the indirect side to cook slowing and manage flare-ups.


The Char-Griller Smokin' Champ has a Side Fire Box which allows for offset smoking.

To offset smoke, you'll place the charcoal directly into the Side Fire Box or you can use a charcoal chimney.

All of the techniques discussed today can be lit using fire starters or a charcoal chimney.

Setting up charcoal can seem tricky at first, but with a bit of practice, you'll get the results you need every time!