Grilling Basics- Using A Charcoal Grill

Grilling Basics- Using A Charcoal Grill

Charcoal can be intimidating but with the easy steps outlined below, you are sure to be a grill master in no time! Here are secrets to grilling an awesome inaugural meal on your kettle. I broke in my new kettle with steaks but you can grill anything you want and still follow the tips below.

Prepare the kettle for preheating:

  • Before preheating the kettle, make sure that the dampers on the bottom of the kettle and the damper in the lid are completely open.
  • Remove the top cooking grate and hang  it off the handle.
  • Fill your chimney starter up halfway (about 50-60 briquettes) with charcoal.
  • Using the bottom grate (charcoal grate), place 2 lighter cubes under the chimney starter and light them. Wait 10-15 until the charcoal has completely ashed over.

Preheating your kettle:

  • Use a grill mitt to evenly dump the ashed over charcoal onto the charcoal grate. A good way to set-up your grill is to put all of the lit charcoal onto one side of the grill, this way you have a safe zone or a place to do indirect grilling.
  • Place the cooking grate in the grill over the charcoal grate.
  • Put the lid on the kettle and double check that the lid vent is completely open. Your grill will need to preheat for 10-15 minutes.
  • While the grill is preheating you can prepare your steaks.
  • Put a little bit of olive oil on the steaks. Note: you need to take your steaks out of the fridge to let them come up to room temperature.
  • Season the entire surface of the steak with your favorite seasoning (mine is simple: salt, pepper and garlic).

Once the grill is preheated:

  • Use the hook on the inside of the kettle lid to hang it off the bowl or use the lid bale if you have that feature on your kettle.
  • Next time you grill, this is the point where you would brush the grates clean using a Weber stainless steel brush.
  • Place the steaks on the cooking grate on the part that is over the coals, close the lid and set a timer for 3-4 minutes.  Lookin’ ain’t cookin’! Keep the lid on until your timer goes off.
  • Once the timer has gone off, while using a glove, remove the lid and hang it from the bowl. Flip the steaks using tongs and place the steaks back on the side over the coals. Put the lid back on the kettle.
  • Set your timer for another 3-4 minutes. Then check the steaks with an instant read thermometer to make sure they are done to your liking. Here is a guide to help you interpret internal temperatures.  
  • Once you take the steaks off the grill, it is important to let them rest! A good rule of thumb is to let your food rest for about 20-30% of the total cook time. It took 8 minutes to cook the steaks so I am going to let them rest for about 2 minutes before cutting into them.

Enjoy and grill on!

What are your thoughts? (3)


Meade D

Fellow new kettle owners, be aware that these instructions are great if you use old-fashioned charcoal and not the stuff they're passing off as charcoal today. I just did the first cook on my new Master Touch 22 (after 15 years using a Genesis Silver B gas grill, so I ain't no newbie!). I followed these instructions to the letter, and my grill temperature never went above 270. Having done a bit of research since then, I have found that all charcoal is not alike, and manufacturers are now reducing the size of their briquets and adding fillers, grooves and other "improvements" when what they're really doing is selling you less charcoal. The regular Kingsford briquets I purchased are 1/3 smaller than they used to be, and may have had more fillers added -- and the comments area of Kingsford's website is rife with complaints from longtime Kingsford users whose charcoal is suddenly burning out quickly and never reaching temperatures high enough to actually sear meat. I wish I had read some of these reviews before I bought my first bag of charcoal. I'll be changing brands, but I have about 30 pounds of Kingsford to go through before that happens -- so it looks like it'll take more like 100 briquets of Kingsford just to grill a couple of ribeyes.


Tim M

I am getting a performer deluxe 22 today. Have been researching different grills and smokers for weeks. The traegger looks great for smoking. But I think with this grill I can sear/cook/smoke excellent with this one.. I like all the extras on the performer series and the accessories I can get. Looking forward to some great charcoal cooking..


Sandra S

Grate instructions! Thanks!


Heather Herriges

Hi Sandra!
Glad to hear that you found the instructions helpful! We look forward to seeing what you grill first on your charcoal grill!
Grill on!


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