We know that, when it comes to cooking chicken, there is nothing that beats a delicious plate of charcoal-grilled breasts, thighs, and wings. However, whenever we want to cook this way, firing up the grill tends to be an underestimated art, disregarding some essential tips to do this properly. From using the wrong type of charcoal to using lighter fluid, ignoring the chimney starter, adding more coal than necessary, and placing the charcoal wherever these are some of the most common mistakes when firing a charcoal grill we should avoid.
Using Charcoal Briquettes Instead of Hardwood
One of the most common mistakes when firing up a charcoal grill is using the wrong type of charcoal. For many, using charcoal briquettes is a smarter choice as they are easier to light and burn longer than hardwood. Nonetheless, there are many chemicals, fillers, and binders inside of those lumps of coal. On the other hand, hardwood charcoal burns hotter and it gives our meat a delicious smoky flavor. Our favorite, of course, is mesquite charcoal.
Adding Lighter Fluid to the Charcoal
When we organize an outdoor grilling party, there is nothing worse than feeling the dread of struggling when lighting up the grill. In order to solve this, many opt for adding a lot of lighter fluid to the coal in order for it to light easier and faster. However, this fluid basically ruins the hardwood charcoal and ends up giving the meat a quite unpleasant taste. Instead, we can use newspapers, matches, and a chimney starter.
Ignoring the Chimney Starter
If we constantly struggle with firing up the grill, we might consider getting one of the most useful and quite necessary tools out there. Using a chimney starter is the best way to light up charcoal, guaranteed. All we need to do is put a couple of newspaper sheets, or even the coal bag if it is a paper one, fill the chimney starter with charcoal, and light the newspaper we put inside. Once it is ready, you can place the charcoal beneath the grill and start cooking.
Adding a Bunch of Charcoal for the Sake of Fire
Before we fill up the entire chimney starter, there is a very important step we simply cannot ignore. Taking an inventory and determining how much meat we will be grilling, how hot the grill needs to be, and how long it needs to burn will make firing up the charcoal grill much easier. This way, we won’t be adding more charcoal than necessary, and thus it will light up more easily and faster, too.
Placing the Coals Wherever We Feel Like
Lastly, we need to be aware of how we place the coals, as we cannot just toss it wherever and try to light it. Before we pour the charcoal under the grill, we might want to bring with us an oven mitt or a dry kitchen towel so that we can handle the coal if we need to. Then, we should think about whether we want to make a two-zone fire or only one structured pile. This will help us light up the coal easier, and make the meat cook more evenly.