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I'm looking for charcoal tips.

 
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bucket
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Joined: 31 Aug 2006
Posts: 272

PostPosted: Thu Jun 30 16 8:59 pm    Post subject: I'm looking for charcoal tips. Reply with quote

So, I just got a kettle grill. I can do simple stuff on charcoal, but I'm very inexperienced with it. I searched, but I couldn't find a topic for "charcoal for dummies".

I know the basics...pile them up, let them ash over before you spread them out and cook over them, but does anyone have any tips for a beginner...or a link to a start from scratch tutorial, just to see if there is a better way of doing what I'm already doing?

I really struggle with how much charcoal to use for a given cook. And, I'm not used to dealing with the air flow for the small cooking area. As in, all vents open all the way, top open, bottom closed, or all closed.

Li'll help?
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k.c.hawg
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Joined: 17 May 2009
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30 16 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bucket if I remember correctly you got a Weber. The good thing is there are millions of pages out there that deal with Weber cooking.

Use Google as your grilling savior.

For instance Google "Weber grilling for beginners"

Setting up a Weber for a low and slow cook

Grilling steaks on a Weber 18.5"

Google meat cooking chart for Weber charcoal grills.

Basically if you put in any combination of words like these you will find many pages for reference.

Here is a starter page on charcoal. There are links to click on for indirect, fire configuration and so on.

http://www.weber.com/weber-nation/grill-skills/mastering-basics/charcoal/fuel-choices
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k.c.hawg
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30 16 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On the link I gave you look at the top of the page for

Weber Nation and click.

That is a huge resource.
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Horizon Marshall 20"
Primo XL
30" Masterbuilt Digital
UDS (Named Uddley by Mrs K.C.)
Weber 26.75 One Touch
Weber 22.5 Silver Touch
Weber Smokey Joe
Superfast Red Thermopen
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k.c.hawg
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30 16 9:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

k.c.hawg wrote:
On the link I gave you look at the top of the page for

Weber Nation and click.

That is a huge resource.


Not all are for charcoal grills....pick out the ones that are and run with them. Some things cross over like cooking techniques and prep.
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Horizon Marshall 20"
Primo XL
30" Masterbuilt Digital
UDS (Named Uddley by Mrs K.C.)
Weber 26.75 One Touch
Weber 22.5 Silver Touch
Weber Smokey Joe
Superfast Red Thermopen
Razorback born and bred!
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Smokin Mike
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Joined: 02 Dec 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30 16 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you don't already have one of these...



You should get one. Not only will it help you light your charcoal and have it consistently ash over, but it will help you measure out the quantity.

Now the question of how much charcoal, is a subjective one and really depends upon your personal needs. If I'm only cooking a couple of burgers then I use somewhere between 1/2 a chimney to 2/3. If I'm cooking for a larger crowd then I'll load up the chimney and spread all the coals around on the grate to get an even temperature. This kind of stuff you pick up through experience.

To add more complication to it, not all foods like hot temperatures. Fish is a good example as you would tend to cook at lower temperatures. When I do that then I use one or two of these...



This will help you cook indirectly and have better control of the temperature by the number of briquettes that you use.

I generally always keep the lid vent full open to allow good exhaust and if I need to throttle back temperature then I'll use the lower vents to do that. If you're hot grilling with the lid off and you have flare-ups then that can be easily corrected by putting the lid on a few moments, to calm things down.
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suckaass
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Joined: 06 Apr 2011
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Location: The Pacific Northwest

PostPosted: Thu Jun 30 16 11:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smokin Mike wrote:
If you don't already have one of these...



You should get one. Not only will it help you light your charcoal and have it consistently ash over, but it will help you measure out the quantity.

+1

I always use my chimney for starting coals. Filling till the charcoal just covers the top set of holes is the perfect amount of coals for my Smokey Joe. For my 22.5" kettle, I fill it all the way to the top. Slightly less if I am banking the coals for an indirect cook. I remove the cooking grate and set the chimney on the charcoal grate, and use two pieces of lightly crumpled news paper to light it. once the coals have mostly ashed over, I dump it out and spread them around with tongs or my wood handled grill brush. Don't try with a plastic brush...

To find what the right amount is for you and what you're cooking really come down to trail and error.

For temp control, like Mike, I leave the top vent open and adjust the bottom vents, but again, you're going to have to experiment to get the feel for it. The more you cook, the more comfortable and confident you'll become.
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bucket
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Joined: 31 Aug 2006
Posts: 272

PostPosted: Thu Jun 30 16 11:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks guys...I'll pick up a chimney. I've always just piled it up in the middle of the grate. That usually makes for some coals ready to go, and some still clod.
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