How to use a Charcoal Grill | Instructions for Cooking

How to use a Charcoal Grill

So you are interested in Charcoal Grilling? Stainless steel grills are known for their durability and resistance to corrosion, making them an excellent choice for outdoor cooking. The rectangle shape provides a larger cooking surface, allowing you to prepare multiple dishes simultaneously. Take a moment to inspect the grill's construction, cooking grates, air vents, and any additional features unique to your model.


How to get started with Charcoal Grilling 

Before firing up your charcoal grill, gather the necessary tools and equipment to streamline the grilling process. You'll need:

Having these tools within arm's reach ensures a smooth and enjoyable grilling experience.


Selecting the Right Charcoal for your grill

Choosing the right charcoal for your grill is crucial for achieving the desired flavour and heat for your dishes. You have two primary options: lump charcoal and briquettes.

  • Lump Charcoal - made from hardwood, lump charcoal burns hotter and faster, imparting a distinct smoky flavour to your food. It's an excellent choice for quick grilling sessions.
  • Briquettes - compressed charcoal dust and additives, briquettes provide a more consistent and prolonged burn. They are ideal for longer cooking times, such as slow roasting or smoking.

Select the type of charcoal based on your cooking needs and personal preference.


Preparing the Charcoal for your grill

 Using a chimney starter is a foolproof way to light your charcoal efficiently. Follow these steps:

  1. Fill the chimney starter with the desired amount of charcoal.
  2. Place 2 - 3 fire starter cubes or crumpled newspaper beneath the chimney starter and light it.
  3. Allow the charcoal to ignite, and once it's covered in white ash (typically 15-20 minutes), carefully pour it into the charcoal grill.
  4. Spread the hot charcoal evenly for uniform heat distribution across the cooking surface.
  5. Place the cooking grates back onto the grill.
  6. Temperature Control: Remember the hand test? You can find detailed instructions here. 
  7. Oil the Grates. To prevent sticking and ensure beautiful grill marks, lightly oil the cooking grates. Fold a paper towel, dip it in cooking oil, and use tongs to rub it across the grates.

Now you are ready to use your charcoal grill!


Cooking Techniques on a Stainless Steel Charcoal Grill

Now that your grill is prepped, let's explore different cooking techniques:

  • Direct Grilling: Place food directly over the hot coals for quick searing. Ideal for steaks, burgers, and vegetables.
  • Indirect Grilling: Move the coals to one side, creating two cooking zones. Place food on the cooler side to cook indirectly, suitable for larger cuts, roasts, or delicate items.
  • Smoking: Add soaked wood chips or chunks to the coals for a smoky flavor. Perfect for steaks or poultry.


Using a Meat Thermometer on your Charcoal Grill

Ensure your dishes are cooked to perfection by using a meat thermometer. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, avoiding bones. Here are some temperature guidelines from the NSW food authority:


Meat type

Safe temperatures



Minced meat, sausages:


Beef, veal, lamb, pork

medium rare:


well done:


63ºC - allow at least 3 minutes for the meat to rest



fresh (raw):

precooked (to reheat):



Chicken and turkey (whole), thighs, wings legs, breasts:





Charcoal Grill Maintenance and Cleanup

After the gastronomic journey, it's time to clean and maintain your stainless steel charcoal grill:


  1. Brush the Grates: Use a grill brush to remove any residue or charred bits from the grates. 
  2. Empty Ashes: If your grill has an ash collection system, empty it once the ashes have cooled.
  3. Oil the Grates: After cleaning, apply a thin layer of cooking oil to the grates.


    Safety Precautions when using a Charcoal Grill

    Grilling is all about fun, but safety should always come first. Follow these safety precautions:


    • Grill Placement: Keep your grill on a stable, non-flammable surface, away from overhanging structures.
    • Fire Extinguisher: Have a fire extinguisher nearby, especially when grilling in close proximity to your home.
    • Children and Pets: Ensure a safe distance between the grill and children or pets. Supervise their proximity to the hot grill.


    Congratulations! You've successfully navigated the ins and outs of using your stainless steel charcoal grill. Armed with this knowledge, you're well on your way to becoming a grill master, delighting friends and family with your delectable creations. Remember, the true joy of grilling lies not just in the delicious meals but in the memories created around the grill.

    Whether you're a seasoned griller or a novice, may your charcoal always burn hot, and your grill marks be perfectly seared. Happy grilling!

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