The debate still rages. Is it ‘better’ to grill with gas or charcoal?
We prefer charcoal. It is true that gas burns cleaner. Charcoal produces more carbon monoxide among other soot causing materials. From a taste perspective we feel charcoal produces a richer and smokier taste.
So how do you start it? Seems like a ‘no brainer’ doesn’t it. Believe it or not
there are actually some who will put EVERTHING on the grill and then start the fire. Yes meat and all.
So, again, how do you start your grill?
There are two methods that are most common.
- The chimney starter. It is relatively quick and doesn’t require the use of any starter fluid. With it you place a piece of crumpled up news paper in the bottom of the chimney then place your charcoal on top. Once that is done simply light the newspaper on fire. Wait 20 minutes, you should see flames emerging from the top of the coals, and then spread the charcoal evenly in the bottom of the grill.
- Using lighter fluid. With this method you first have to assemble the coals into mound or pyramid. The you squirt lighter fluid on the top and sides of the charcoal. Light immediately. Once the charcoal is mostly gray, covered with ash, they are ready to spread.
Here are a few additional pointers you may not have thought of that can make grilling safer, tastier and clean up a little easier.
- Line the inside bottom of your cooker with a aluminum foil before you put your briquettes in. This will make clean up easier when your done and the coals have cooled. It will also provide a barrier between the grill and the caustic ashes of the coals. You may need to put a few holes in the foil where the vents are.
- Once you have your grill cleaned and the coals spread put the grill over the coals and let the whole grill heat up before putting the meat on the grill. This is important for several reasons:
- It allows the entire mass of the grill to come up to temperature which leads to a more efficient and even cooking experience.
- It kills bacteria throughout the grill.
- A properly heated grill sears food on contact. Which helps prevent sticking. It also caramelizes the food which improves flavor.
- When spreading the coals leave an area of the grill free of coals. Maybe only place them on one side or leave one corner free. Why? If your grill is too hot. You can move food away from the coals to this cooler area for (indirect heat). Some prefer to do all there cooking on the cooler side of the grill. It is certainly slower but it allows the food to pick up more of the smokey taste many prefer.