Purchasing the best charcoal grill on the market is not an assurance that you can grill like a pro. Especially for beginners, it is common to make mistakes that could have been avoided by being armed with the right knowledge. With that, in this short post, we’ll talk about the charcoal grilling tips and techniques that you should know.
Use Coal Briquettes
When using a charcoal grill, you will have two choices when it comes to briquettes – coal and ceramic. Some people prefer ceramic for one reason – it is cheap. However, it tends to be sooty and it also burns quicker. If you don’t mind paying extra, we recommend that you use coal briquettes instead. In the long run, they are economical because they take quite a while to burn. This means that you won’t have to end up adding more briquettes often.
Avoid Lighter Fluid
Some people think that they are being resourceful when they are using lighter fluid to fire up the grill. However, this is one thing that you might want to avoid. The fluid can leave a strong scent and flavor, which will affect whatever you are grilling. With this, it is best to have a chimney starter, which will make it effortless to ignite a fire.
Create Heat Zones
One of the rookie charcoal grilling mistakes that most novices make is to heat the grill in a single zone. Meaning, they arrange charcoals and light them in such a way that the heat level throughout the grill remains the same. It is best to create heat zones. One part of the grill should have high heat, which will come handy for searing. Meanwhile, another part needs to have low or medium heat to avoid burning the food.
Pre-Heat the Grill
Don’t be too excited to grill and put the meat right away without making sure that the grill is hot enough. Allow the grill to sit for five to ten minutes. Place your hand on the top of the grate. If it gets hot within one second, this is an indication that the grill is ready. Otherwise, you need to wait a little more. Wait to hear a sizzle before you start. If the grill isn’t hot enough, you will end up burning the exterior of the food and it will be under-cooked inside.
Mind the Vents
Don’t forget about the vents of the grill. See to it that they are open, which will allow air to enter the grilling chamber. This is going to keep the fire burning. Also, the vents are important because this will give you complete control of temperature. The level of heat will depend on the opening of the vent, so you will have to adjust accordingly depending on what a specific recipe requires.
Flip Just Once
When you are grilling on charcoal, it can be tempting to flip the meat several times. Most beginners will assume that this will speed up the process. Truth is, this is not doing anything good for the meat. As a rule of thumb, you have to flip the meat only once during the grilling process. To know if it is time to turn it, use a spatula. If the meat no longer sticks to the grate. It is ready to be flipped. Otherwise, you have to keep on grilling.
One of the best ways to avoid cross-contamination is to use separate plates and utensils for raw and cooked meat. If you are going to brush the meat with condiments, do this once the meat is cooked to avoid spreading bacteria from raw to cooked meat. Also, the best way to prevent cross- contamination is to keep your grill clean. Right after every use, clean the grill immediately. Otherwise, the residues will harden and will be more difficult to remove.
Let the Meat Rest
Grilling can be exhausting. However, don’t be too excited to eat what you have grilled. Do not serve it immediately. Instead, give it around five to ten minutes to rest or about 20 to 30% of the total grilling time. At this duration, the grilled meat is settling. This makes the meat more flavorful.