Charcoal BBQ: The Ultimate Guide to Grilling with Charcoal

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charcoal BBQ grillSummer is just around the corner, so it's time to dust off your grill and prepare for some delicious barbecuing. And if you're a barbecue enthusiast, you know that nothing beats the flavour of food cooked with charcoal. In this blog post, we'll dive into charcoal BBQ, explore its benefits, and provide tips for getting the most out of your charcoal grill.

What is Charcoal BBQ?

Charcoal BBQ is cooking food using charcoal as the heat source. Charcoal is made by burning wood in a low-oxygen environment, which results in a fuel that burns hotter and longer than regular wood. The heat from the burning charcoal is used for cooking food on the grill, giving it a unique smoky flavour that other cooking methods can't replicate.

How does a charcoal BBQ work?

A charcoal BBQ uses charcoal as a fuel source to create heat, which cooks the food. When you light the charcoal and place it into the grill, it begins to heat up, and you can control the grill's temperature by adjusting the amount of charcoal you have burning. You can also change the placement of the food on the grill grates to prevent the amount of heat it receives.
One thing to remember about charcoal grills is that they take longer to heat up than a gas grill. A charcoal grill typically takes around 20-30 minutes to reach cooking temperature. However, once heated up, it will stay hot for a long time, making it great for cooking more significant cuts of meat, like brisket.

Benefits of Charcoal BBQ

Charcoal BBQ has several benefits, making it a preferred cooking method for many barbecue enthusiasts. Here are some of the advantages of cooking with charcoal.


As mentioned, charcoal gives food a smoky flavour that other cooking methods can't replicate. The smoky flavour comes from the burning charcoal, which produces volatile chemicals that infuse the food with a rich, smoky taste.

Temperature Control

Charcoal grills are excellent at controlling temperature. Unlike gas grills, which can heat up quickly and are difficult to control, charcoal grills can be easily adjusted to maintain a steady temperature. This makes it easier to cook food evenly and achieve the desired level of doneness.


Charcoal grills are versatile and can be used for various cooking methods, including grilling, smoking, and baking. With some practice, you can use your charcoal grill for cooking everything from burgers and steaks to pizzas and desserts.


Charcoal grills are often more affordable than gas grills, making them an excellent option for those on a budget. Plus, charcoal is readily available and can be found at most grocery stores and home improvement stores.

Tips for Charcoal BBQ

Now that you know the benefits of cooking with charcoal, let's dive into some tips for getting the most out of your charcoal grill:

briquettesUse the Right Type of Charcoal

There are two main types of charcoal - briquettes and lump charcoal. Briquettes are made from compressed sawdust and other materials, while lump charcoal is made from natural hardwood. Lump charcoal burns hotter and faster than briquettes, making it an excellent option for searing meat, while briquettes are better for low and slow cooking. It's essential to choose the right charcoal type for the cooking you'll be doing.

Light the Charcoal Properly

Lighting charcoal can be tricky, but it's essential to do it properly to ensure even cooking and avoid any off flavours. Avoid using lighter fluid or other chemicals to light the charcoal, as this can impart a chemical taste to your food. Instead, use a chimney starter or electric starter to light the charcoal. A chimney starter is a metal cylinder filled with charcoal and light from the bottom. The heat rises through the charcoal, igniting it quickly and evenly.

Control the Temperature

Once your charcoal is lit, it's essential to control the temperature to achieve the desired level of doneness. To do this, use vents on the bottom and top of the grill to adjust the airflow. Open vents allow more oxygen into the grill, which increases the temperature. Closed vents limit the amount of oxygen, which lowers the temperature. Monitoring the temperature regularly and adjusting the vents as needed is essential.

Use the Two-Zone Method

The two-zone method is excellent for cooking food on a charcoal grill. It involves creating two different temperature zones on the grill: hot and more relaxed. This allows you to sear the meat over high heat and then move it to the more fantastic zone to finish cooking without overcooking it. To create a two-zone fire, pile the charcoal on one side of the grill and leave the other empty. This creates a hot zone and a more relaxed area.

Let the Meat Rest

After cooking meat on a charcoal grill, it's essential to rest for a few minutes before slicing or serving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the heart, producing a more tender and flavorful finished product.

propane grillWhy is a Charcoal BBQ Grill More Expensive Than Propane Grill

Charcoal grills are more expensive than propane grills. This can be surprising, as you might think that a gas grill with all its complex machinery would be more costly to manufacture. So why are charcoal grills so expensive? Are they worth the investment over a propane grill? Let's dive in and look closer, comparing charcoal BBQ vs propane.


One of the biggest reasons why charcoal grills can be more expensive is the materials that they are made from. Typically, charcoal grills are made from heavier, more durable materials than gas grills. This is because cooking over charcoal produces more intense heat that can potentially warp or deform lesser materials. Charcoal BBQs need to be built tough to last long, whereas propane grills are more lightweight and require less durable materials to construct.
Charcoal grills are often designed with more intricate parts, such as hinged lids, adjustable vents, and sliding charcoal grates. These parts require more precision engineering, which can increase the manufacturing cost of a charcoal grill. On the other hand, propane grills are more straightforward in design, with fewer moving parts, making them more cost-efficient to construct.

Fuel Cost

When comparing costs, it's essential to consider the fuel cost. Charcoal grills require charcoal for cooking, and charcoal is not cheap. Although it may seem like a one-time expense, if you use your grill frequently, you must buy charcoal regularly, which can add up over time. While propane grills also require fuel, propane is generally cheaper per use and can be purchased in large amounts, making it more cost-effective in the long run.
However, charcoal grills have an edge in that they add a smoky flavour to your food, which is unique to cooking with charcoal. So while you may pay more for the grill and fuel, the taste can be worth it for some.

Cooking Experience

Another factor to consider is the cooking experience itself. For many outdoor cooking enthusiasts, cooking with charcoal provides a more authentic BBQ experience. A certain satisfaction comes from using natural fuel to create heat and smoke to cook food. Charcoal grills also typically offer a more comprehensive temperature range, allowing for more precise control over cooking temperatures, making it perfect for slow-cooking meats.
On the other hand, propane grills offer more convenience in terms of instant heat and easier temperature control. This makes them an excellent option for quick, hassle-free cooking, especially for more minor cuts of meat like burgers and hot dogs.

charcoal bbq and maintenaceMaintenance

One area where propane grills tend to be more cost-effective than charcoal grills is maintenance. Charcoal grills leave behind ash and other debris that needs to be cleaned out after each use. Ash buildup can cause issues with temperature control if not properly cleaned, and it can also promote rust and wear on the grill. A propane grill, on the other hand, requires little maintenance outside of regular cleaning.
However, taking care of your charcoal grill can last for years without needing major repairs or replacement, making it a worthwhile investment.


Charcoal BBQ is a great way to cook delicious, flavorful food during the summer months. It has several benefits over other cooking methods, including flavour, temperature control, versatility, and affordability. Following these tips, you can get the most out of your charcoal grill and create delicious meals for your family and friends. So fire up the grill, grab some charcoal, and get ready to enjoy some delightful summer BBQ!
While charcoal grills can be more expensive than propane grills, they offer a unique cooking experience and unmatched smoky flavour that is hard to replicate. Charcoal grills are generally made with more durable materials, have adjustable vents, and offer a more comprehensive temperature range, making them perfect for smoking or slow-cooking meats. However, they require more maintenance and can cost more in fuel expenses over time.
So, you wanna buy a high-quality charcoal BBQ grill for the BBQ season? We only have suitable charcoal grills for your specific needs here at Gastronomic Living. Contact us today!