Step-by-Step Guide to Charcoal Grilling

Grilling is one of the things that makes summer so wonderful. The flavors, the open air; it just can’t be beat. Being a single mom, though, makes it a little more intimidating to fire up the grill. After all, what happens if you set the house on fire? You may have a fire safety plan, but that doesn’t mean that you want to test it out. I assure you though, with all the hype our male counterparts put to it, it is not that hard, and with a little bit of caution, it is not likely that you will set the house on fire.

Personally, I prefer charcoal grilling to propane. I’ve seen some unfortunate pictures of what can happen to people when they mess with propane tanks that I can’t un-see, and I prefer the taste. If you are a grilling novice but are ready to give it a try, check out these easy steps. Don’t forget to save the meat cooking guide at the bottom for later.

Step 1: Clean out the grill.
Make sure all of the ash on the bottom of the grill is clear. Each grill is different, but you should be able to either lift out a tray or empty it out of a hole in the bottom. Check the manual if you are confused. Once you have emptied the ash, clean the grate with a grill brush.

Step 2: Light the coals.
There are two ways to do this: Lighter fluid or pre-soaked coals, or by using the most wonderful invention in the world, a Chimney. Not the chimney connected to your fireplace but a truly great contraption that makes starting charcoal a breeze. To use the chimney, simply stuff newspaper on the outside of the bottom, turn it over, and fill it at least halfway with charcoal. Then use a lighter to ignite the newspaper. The coals will be ready in 10-15 minutes. Wonderful!
If you are lighting with lighter fluid or pre-soaked coals, place the coals in a pyramid in the bottom of the grill. Be sure that each coal is touching another. Soak with lighter fluid and ignite. Be careful not to use too much lighter fluid. This is where a little caution goes a long way.
In each method, the coals will be ready when they begin to gray.

Step 3: Prepare the grates.
Use a napkin to rub cooking oil on the grates. The last thing you want is for your delicious burger to stick to the grate. Be sure to use a napkin because the grates will heat up fast!

Step 4: Cook the food!
The best part! There are so many great grilling recipes to try out, and it doesn’t just need to be burgers. Two years ago, we tried grilling fruit kabobswhich was funWhen you do cook meat, though, I recommend a good meat thermometer and to use the following guide to make sure your meat is cooked to the right temperature.

Happy grilling! Have great grilling secrets? We’d love to hear them!