Charcoal barbecues are very popular for a variety of reasons. They are easy to use, simple to maintain and product fantastic food. If you are considering purchasing one, there are a few tips to remember. Here are some of the basics to understand.
First of all, you need to prepare your barbecue. This isn’t anything fancy or time consuming, but it definitely needs to be done to maintain your equipment. The ash you find in the bottom needs to be discarded. It can obstruct vents and wreak havoc on any temperature control you want to attempt. Put it into a bag and discard it. Use a stiff wire grill brush to clean the grates. You also can use an SOS pad that will help break down grease.
Always pre-heat your grills too. By bringing the grills up to temperature, you will ensure that your food is heated properly and it will give you those great grill marks people love. Next, once your grates are hot, be sure to wad up a paper towel, dip into oil and use tongs to coat the grates. This is by far the easiest way to avoid sticking.
Next, you need to know how to light your charcoal barbecue. There are two ways. You can use a chimney. This is a device that uses paper to start the flame and then from there lights the coals. You also can use lighter fluid. With this method you arrange the coals into a mound, add the lighter fluid and light it immediately. When you see gray ash, your coals are hot and ready to use.
You also should know how to control the heat. With this type of grill temperature control all boils down to oxygen. Lots of oxygen burns your coals hot. Limiting the oxygen makes your coals cool down. You can use the vent at the top and bottom to change the air flow, and thus change the temperature.
Once you get the very basics down, you can start playing with flavors. One thing that people love with barbecue is wood flavor. There are all types of things you can use to work with food—hardwood, citrus woods and fruit. All can offer a unique variation to the food you are preparing. The most common woods used for grilling are hickory, fruitwood and mesquite.
Understanding how to work your charcoal barbecue is going to offer you the ability to get the exact flavors and cooking styles you want. Test it out—try new things. Soon you’ll be grilling like a pro.