How to Use Old Smokey Charcoal Grill: 7 Amazing Steps

Have you ever thought about how great it would be to feel the pressure of cooking vegetables and meat on an old smokey charcoal grill during summer?

Most people prefer using charcoal grills for their flexibility, unique flavor, and high meat searing temperatures.

However, charcoal grills require one to learn a few things before using them. With a charcoal grill, you have to light it up manually unlike a gas grill which uses buttons and knobs to start.

Do not let that intimidate you though because we are here to help. We can assure you that it will be a great experience but you do have to know how to use it first wouldn’t you?

7 Steps of How to Use Old Smokey Charcoal Grill

Here are the steps you need to follow for a flawless grilling process.

Step 1

The first thing you need to do is to determine how you are going to get the fire going without harming yourself while doing it.

With a charcoal chimney or some lighter fluid, a bag of charcoal and lots of patience, you will be a step closer to having your delicious grilled meal.

Step 2

Unless your charcoal grill is brand new, you want to check if there is any leftover charcoal or ash from your last grilling session.

If there is any, you have to clean it out. Make a habit of doing this because if you fail to do so, there is a possibility that the leftover ash can absorb moisture and form rust.

Step 3

The next thing you want to is to open the vents in the lid and at the base of your grill. This is because charcoal requires oxygen to keep burning.

If you want the charcoal to burn faster, you can fully open the vents. Keep them partially closed if you want a moderate flame.

Step 4

We recommend starting your charcoal grill with a chimney starter. It is basically a metal cylinder with a handle that can be filled with lump charcoal or charcoal briquettes.

It works to heat coal rapidly.

Charcoal chimney starter
Charcoal chimney starter

Step 5

Put some scrap paper or newspaper in the bottom compartment of the chimney and place it on your grill’s lower grate.

Fill it with charcoal and then use a match or lighter to ignite the paper. Allow the charcoal to burn for about fifteen minutes or until the briquettes appear gray or white.

You can always use lighter fluid for a faster lighting process but we advice against that. Why? Lighter fluid normally gives food a funky chemical taste and we are sure you do not want that.

Step 6

Upon noticing that your charcoal is hot and turning into ash, you want to toss the hot coal into the lower grate in your grill.

Ensure that you have a pair of tongs or heat proof gloves when handling hot coal because your hands can get burnt.

Step 7

Create a thick layer of coal on one side of your grill, leaving a few at the center, and no coal on the other side.

We believe this is the best way to grill because it provides three heat zones that make it possible to cook over both direct and indirect heat.

Direct heat is perfect for cooking foods such as seafood, burgers and vegetables that cook faster, while indirect heat is great for slower cooking foods such as ribs and lamb.

With the three heat zones, you get to enjoy the best of both worlds. For instance, you can put your meat over direct heat to get grill marks and transfer it to indirect heat so that it can fully cook.

How to Maintain your Smokey Charcoal Grill

Of course, you want your charcoal grill to last for the longest time possible and you cannot achieve that without proper maintenance.

Here are a few tips that will help you prolong the life of your charcoal grill.

Weber Kettle Charcoal Grill
Weber Kettle Charcoal Grill

1. At times, you will notice tiny pieces of debris that look like paint on your grill’s lid. They have nothing to do with paint. Rather, they are smoke and grease deposits that accumulate over time.

Although these deposits are harmless, you want to use a stainless steel brush to scrap them off or wipe them off using paper towels to prevent future accumulation.

2. Another thing you want to do is clean the inner side of the bowl. You can do that in two simple steps. First, clear any extra ash or debris from the bowl and then use a steel wool pad and a mild soap and water solution to clean any residue.

It is important to implement both steps and not just one for best results.

3. Your cooking grates also need to be kept clean. Preheat your grill before you start cooking and open all the vents.

Get a stainless steel brush and remove any noticeable debris on your grates. This is crucial because you do not want your food to stick on there during your next grilling session.

4. Every time you finish cooking your food on the grill, wait for it to cool down and use glass cleaner or mild detergent and water to clean it.

This will not only get rid of dirt, it will also help in maintaining your grill’s original shine.

5. After you are sure that your grill is clean and ready for the next time, you want to place it somewhere where it can air dry.

Alternatively, you can use a dry piece of cloth and wipe out any moisture on the grill. Moisture is not your friend when it comes to charcoal grills because it can cause corrosion.

Store your grill in a cool dry place once it is devoid of any wetness.

May you like: Cleaning cast iron grill grates.

Final Thoughts

If you are the kind of person that enjoys having that smoky flavor in your food, you should definitely consider getting a charcoal grill.

Forget the fact that you have to light it manually and focus on how to make the process easier and flawless.

We have done our part by bringing you this guide and it is now up to you to follow the instructions for delicious smoky meals.

About Sebastian Hoffmann

I'm Sebastian Hoffmann, and I'm a chef. I live in Fulton, New York. And I like to cook using all kinds of kitchen utensils and food items. I keep discussing new cookware and recipes so you can benefit from my experience. I discuss all cooking utensils, indoor and outdoor grills, and appliances I use. I would also like to experiment with what kind of things would be delicious to use in cooking. If you have a strong desire to know about these and are a food lover, you have come to the right platform. Stay with us. Thanks.

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