I know gas grills are popular. Plenty of folks have them. I don’t. I never will. I have no desire to own a gas grill. I know they are easy to use and probably better for the environment than charcoal. All that smoke from the charcoal can apparently be an issue. But I love my charcoal grill. When I bought my first house, I got a Weber grill. The truth is that I cannot recall if my ex or my father bought it for me. Either way, it scared me. As do all things that I don’t know how to use or understand. The only time it ever got used was when there was someone else there to fire it up. I never used it. Eventually, it died a sad and lonely death on my back patio. Then we bought our current home and we decided that we needed a grill. My hubby does not buy anything made in China. Good luck trying to find one of those fancy gas grills made in the USA. So, we got a Weber charcoal grill. I decided I would learn how to use it. My husband had no desire to use it. So, I bought some self lighting charcoal. It does not require additional lighter fluid. I think this is a good thing since I like having eyebrows. So, I became the grill master in our house.
For those of you who fear the charcoal, I can help you. Charcoal grills are less expensive to buy compared to gas. Grilled food is good for you. And it can actually save you money. It’s great to use in the summer because it keeps you from heating up your kitchen. Thus saving some money on your air conditioning bill. That’s probably not as true for folks in newer homes. But it is for me. So, go out and get yourself a grill. Be sure to buy the self lighting charcoal. The generic usually works as well as the name brand.
Got your grill and your charcoal? Good. Find a nice safe place away from the house. Don’t put it under an overhang. This is fire we are talking about, so use some sense. Oh, did you also buy one of those handy dandy long reach lighters (see pic below)? Pour the charcoal into a small mound on the bottom of the grill. If you are only cooking for 2, there is no need to use too much 8- 10 briquettes works fine. Now I never cook chicken or red meat, so you may need a little more for that. Use your long lighter to light the charcoal pieces. Be sure to light them in several places. The flame will get pretty big. Don’t leave fire unsupervised (reminder: fire). I like to grab a beer and bag of hot chips and hang out beside the grill. Eventually, the fire will die down. This is a good thing. The charcoal will turn white. Use a long fire proof tool to spread the charcoal out into a single layer. Place the top grate onto the grill. Let it sit for a few minutes so that it will get hot. You can spray the grate with some oil, so things won’t stick. For items like shrimp and fish that tends to fall apart, I put aluminum foil on the top of the grate.
Okay, now for the fun part. How to adjust the temperature of the grill? See that vent on the top of your grill? That helps control the temperature. The more open, the more oxygen. Thus the hotter the charcoal. If you want a low, slow cooking time, close the vent down. Some grills have vents on the bottom, mine doesn’t. So, I have no idea how those work. I think those help with the lighting of the charcoal. But I have never had a problem with that.
So, now that you know how easy it is, what you waiting for? Remember the key to doing anything is to DO it! You may not do it great the first time or two. I burned some things and ended up with some pork chops that were crusty on the outside and raw in the middle. It’s okay to mess up. That’s how you learn.