Need help with Charcoal grilling

Discussion in 'Food and nutrition' started by Scott, Mar 15, 2006.

  1. Scott

    Scott Guest

    I own a charcoal grill that i never cook on. The reason is I have
    tried many times in the past and I can never get it to stay hot during
    cooking. I follow the directions on lighting to a T. Last night I
    tried again. I stacked it like a pyramid, lit the charcoal, burned the
    charcoal (kingsford) til flames died out and continued to let it heat
    for 30 minutes. It did ash over and was very hot. I spread them out as
    well.

    Afterwards I closed the lid for 5 minutes and then began cooking pork
    chops. It has vents on top and on bottom. I had them all open which I
    wasn't sure If I should have or not. Either way my chops cooked, but
    very slowly. I looked in through the vents on bottom and noticed no
    coals looked hot anymore (you could see no amber on the coals). It
    looked like they had died out. I knew that wasn't the case because it
    was pretty warm on the inside.

    Anyway I am wondering if my problem has to do with oxygen. I cooked
    them with the lid closed the entire time. I have done that everytime.
    I don't know if thats good or bad. I now seem to think that was the
    reason it took so long. The reason I think it might be oxygen is
    because when I was done cooking I left the lid open by mistake and
    went back out to check on the grill and the coals were flaming red and
    so hot I probably could have cooked another meal on it.

    Should I have cooked with the lid open to let more oxygen in? Is this
    my problem with the heating issues I have mentioned? This happens to
    me everytime with the heat issue, but I always cook with the lid
    closed, always. This time I just happened to notice that the coals
    were flaming red cause I accidentally left the lid open and seen the
    coals were hot, and wondered why they weren't that hot when I was
    cooking. Was it because I left the lid open and the coals were then
    able to receive more oxygen and the coals heated properly? Please
    advise.
     
    Tags:


  2. cathyxyz

    cathyxyz Guest

    Scott wrote:

    <snipped>
    > Was it because I left the lid open and the coals were then
    > able to receive more oxygen and the coals heated properly? Please
    > advise.
    >


    IMHO, yes. FWIW we have an open charcoal "braai" (grill) on which we do
    a fair amount of grilling... and we don't find that the coals die out
    before the meat is cooked. But you didn't say how much charcoal you are
    using. We use about 4 kilos. This is usually enough to do stuff like
    chops. But... if you have an extra beer or two and forget about the fire
    - add some more coals ;)

    And our very scientific way to test if the fire is the right temperature
    is as follows: hold your hand open (palm down) over the coals; if you
    can hold it there for about 5 or 6 seconds, its the right temperature ;)

    HTH. Good luck.

    Cheers
    Cathy(xyz)
     
  3. Doug Kanter

    Doug Kanter Guest

    "Scott" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > I own a charcoal grill that i never cook on. The reason is I have
    > tried many times in the past and I can never get it to stay hot during
    > cooking. I follow the directions on lighting to a T. Last night I
    > tried again. I stacked it like a pyramid, lit the charcoal, burned the
    > charcoal (kingsford) til flames died out and continued to let it heat
    > for 30 minutes. It did ash over and was very hot. I spread them out as
    > well.
    >
    > Afterwards I closed the lid for 5 minutes and then began cooking pork
    > chops. It has vents on top and on bottom. I had them all open which I
    > wasn't sure If I should have or not. Either way my chops cooked, but
    > very slowly. I looked in through the vents on bottom and noticed no
    > coals looked hot anymore (you could see no amber on the coals). It
    > looked like they had died out. I knew that wasn't the case because it
    > was pretty warm on the inside.
    >
    > Anyway I am wondering if my problem has to do with oxygen. I cooked
    > them with the lid closed the entire time. I have done that everytime.
    > I don't know if thats good or bad. I now seem to think that was the
    > reason it took so long. The reason I think it might be oxygen is
    > because when I was done cooking I left the lid open by mistake and
    > went back out to check on the grill and the coals were flaming red and
    > so hot I probably could have cooked another meal on it.
    >
    > Should I have cooked with the lid open to let more oxygen in? Is this
    > my problem with the heating issues I have mentioned? This happens to
    > me everytime with the heat issue, but I always cook with the lid
    > closed, always. This time I just happened to notice that the coals
    > were flaming red cause I accidentally left the lid open and seen the
    > coals were hot, and wondered why they weren't that hot when I was
    > cooking. Was it because I left the lid open and the coals were then
    > able to receive more oxygen and the coals heated properly? Please
    > advise.
    >


    From the Weber web site:
    Q. What is the proper setting for the air vents on my kettle?
    Your charcoal fire needs adequate airflow to burn properly. Fully open the
    top and bottom vents on the grill while you are grilling. Close them only
    when you are finished grilling and ready to extinguish the flames. Remember
    to sift out the ashes and remove them from the ash catcher when they are
    cool.
     
  4. In article <[email protected]>,
    Scott <[email protected]> wrote:

    > I own a charcoal grill that i never cook on. The reason is I have
    > tried many times in the past and I can never get it to stay hot during
    > cooking. I follow the directions on lighting to a T. Last night I
    > tried again. I stacked it like a pyramid, lit the charcoal, burned the
    > charcoal (kingsford) til flames died out and continued to let it heat
    > for 30 minutes. It did ash over and was very hot. I spread them out as
    > well.
    >
    > Afterwards I closed the lid for 5 minutes and then began cooking pork
    > chops. It has vents on top and on bottom. I had them all open which I
    > wasn't sure If I should have or not. Either way my chops cooked, but
    > very slowly. I looked in through the vents on bottom and noticed no
    > coals looked hot anymore (you could see no amber on the coals). It
    > looked like they had died out. I knew that wasn't the case because it
    > was pretty warm on the inside.
    >
    > Anyway I am wondering if my problem has to do with oxygen. I cooked
    > them with the lid closed the entire time. I have done that everytime.
    > I don't know if thats good or bad. I now seem to think that was the
    > reason it took so long. The reason I think it might be oxygen is
    > because when I was done cooking I left the lid open by mistake and
    > went back out to check on the grill and the coals were flaming red and
    > so hot I probably could have cooked another meal on it.
    >
    > Should I have cooked with the lid open to let more oxygen in? Is this
    > my problem with the heating issues I have mentioned? This happens to
    > me everytime with the heat issue, but I always cook with the lid
    > closed, always. This time I just happened to notice that the coals
    > were flaming red cause I accidentally left the lid open and seen the
    > coals were hot, and wondered why they weren't that hot when I was
    > cooking. Was it because I left the lid open and the coals were then
    > able to receive more oxygen and the coals heated properly? Please
    > advise.
    >


    Try wood instead of charcoal... ;-)

    Works for me!
    --
    Peace, Om.

    "My mother never saw the irony in calling me a son-of-a-bitch." -Jack Nicholson
     
  5. jmcquown

    jmcquown Guest

    Scott wrote:
    > I own a charcoal grill that i never cook on. The reason is I have
    > tried many times in the past and I can never get it to stay hot during
    > cooking. I follow the directions on lighting to a T. Last night I
    > tried again. I stacked it like a pyramid, lit the charcoal, burned the
    > charcoal (kingsford) til flames died out and continued to let it heat
    > for 30 minutes. It did ash over and was very hot. I spread them out as
    > well.
    >

    Can't get it to stay hot, then it's hot. TROLL!

    Jill
     
  6. Default User

    Default User Guest

    Scott wrote:


    > Afterwards I closed the lid for 5 minutes and then began cooking pork
    > chops. It has vents on top and on bottom. I had them all open which I
    > wasn't sure If I should have or not. Either way my chops cooked, but
    > very slowly. I looked in through the vents on bottom and noticed no
    > coals looked hot anymore (you could see no amber on the coals). It
    > looked like they had died out. I knew that wasn't the case because it
    > was pretty warm on the inside.


    Why are you closing the lid for 5 minutes before starting? Yes, the
    vents provide SOME airflow, but nothing like full open. The only time
    you should be closing the lid is for very thick or long-cooking items
    like bone-in chicken parts.



    Brian
    --
    If televison's a babysitter, the Internet is a drunk librarian who
    won't shut up.
    -- Dorothy Gambrell (http://catandgirl.com)
     
  7. Dan Abel

    Dan Abel Guest

    In article <[email protected]>,
    Scott <[email protected]> wrote:

    > I own a charcoal grill that i never cook on. The reason is I have
    > tried many times in the past and I can never get it to stay hot during
    > cooking. I follow the directions on lighting to a T. Last night I
    > tried again. I stacked it like a pyramid, lit the charcoal, burned the
    > charcoal (kingsford) til flames died out and continued to let it heat
    > for 30 minutes. It did ash over and was very hot. I spread them out as
    > well.
    >
    > Afterwards I closed the lid for 5 minutes and then began cooking pork
    > chops. It has vents on top and on bottom. I had them all open which I
    > wasn't sure If I should have or not.


    Strange. Are the vents on the bottom partially clogged by ash? I have
    never had a problem. Whatever, if you can't get the heat, and taking
    off the lid works, do it.

    --
    Dan Abel
    [email protected]
    Petaluma, California, USA
     
  8. Food Snob

    Food Snob Guest

    Scott wrote:
    > I own a charcoal grill that i never cook on. The reason is I have
    > tried many times in the past and I can never get it to stay hot during
    > cooking. I follow the directions on lighting to a T. Last night I
    > tried again. I stacked it like a pyramid, lit the charcoal, burned the
    > charcoal (kingsford) til flames died out and continued to let it heat
    > for 30 minutes. It did ash over and was very hot. I spread them out as
    > well.


    You should NEVER NEVER use lighter fluid. That shit should be illegal.
    Buy a chimney or electric starter.
    >
    > Afterwards I closed the lid for 5 minutes and then began cooking pork
    > chops. It has vents on top and on bottom. I had them all open which I
    > wasn't sure If I should have or not. Either way my chops cooked, but
    > very slowly. I looked in through the vents on bottom and noticed no
    > coals looked hot anymore (you could see no amber on the coals). It
    > looked like they had died out. I knew that wasn't the case because it
    > was pretty warm on the inside.
    >
    > Anyway I am wondering if my problem has to do with oxygen. I cooked
    > them with the lid closed the entire time. I have done that everytime.
    > I don't know if thats good or bad. I now seem to think that was the
    > reason it took so long. The reason I think it might be oxygen is
    > because when I was done cooking I left the lid open by mistake and
    > went back out to check on the grill and the coals were flaming red and
    > so hot I probably could have cooked another meal on it.
    >
    > Should I have cooked with the lid open to let more oxygen in? Is this
    > my problem with the heating issues I have mentioned? This happens to
    > me everytime with the heat issue, but I always cook with the lid
    > closed, always. This time I just happened to notice that the coals
    > were flaming red cause I accidentally left the lid open and seen the
    > coals were hot, and wondered why they weren't that hot when I was
    > cooking. Was it because I left the lid open and the coals were then
    > able to receive more oxygen and the coals heated properly? Please
    > advise.


    Generally, you should keep the lid vents open, but close the bottom
    vents to adjust temperature. I mostly use wood, but often use charcoal
    to get the wood started. Again, use a chimney. Lighter fluid is
    nasty.

    You should post your question to alt.food.barbecue.

    --Bryan
     
  9. Food Snob

    Food Snob Guest

    OmManiPadmeOmelet wrote:
    > In article <[email protected]>,
    > Scott <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > > I own a charcoal grill that i never cook on. The reason is I have
    > > tried many times in the past and I can never get it to stay hot during
    > > cooking. I follow the directions on lighting to a T. Last night I
    > > tried again. I stacked it like a pyramid, lit the charcoal, burned the
    > > charcoal (kingsford) til flames died out and continued to let it heat
    > > for 30 minutes. It did ash over and was very hot. I spread them out as
    > > well.
    > >
    > > Afterwards I closed the lid for 5 minutes and then began cooking pork
    > > chops. It has vents on top and on bottom. I had them all open which I
    > > wasn't sure If I should have or not. Either way my chops cooked, but
    > > very slowly. I looked in through the vents on bottom and noticed no
    > > coals looked hot anymore (you could see no amber on the coals). It
    > > looked like they had died out. I knew that wasn't the case because it
    > > was pretty warm on the inside.
    > >
    > > Anyway I am wondering if my problem has to do with oxygen. I cooked
    > > them with the lid closed the entire time. I have done that everytime.
    > > I don't know if thats good or bad. I now seem to think that was the
    > > reason it took so long. The reason I think it might be oxygen is
    > > because when I was done cooking I left the lid open by mistake and
    > > went back out to check on the grill and the coals were flaming red and
    > > so hot I probably could have cooked another meal on it.
    > >
    > > Should I have cooked with the lid open to let more oxygen in? Is this
    > > my problem with the heating issues I have mentioned? This happens to
    > > me everytime with the heat issue, but I always cook with the lid
    > > closed, always. This time I just happened to notice that the coals
    > > were flaming red cause I accidentally left the lid open and seen the
    > > coals were hot, and wondered why they weren't that hot when I was
    > > cooking. Was it because I left the lid open and the coals were then
    > > able to receive more oxygen and the coals heated properly? Please
    > > advise.
    > >

    >
    > Try wood instead of charcoal... ;-)
    >
    > Works for me!


    My sister lives on an acre of mostly shagbark hickories. I am lucky.
    The bark is nice for using w/ charcoal. The seasoned wood is good for
    cooking.
    > --
    > Peace, Om.
    >

    --Bryan
     
  10. Steve Swertz

    Steve Swertz Guest

    On Wed, 15 Mar 2006 12:15:42 -0600, "jmcquown"
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Can't get it to stay hot, then it's hot. TROLL!


    Yet another Jill Moment. I can hear the implied "Duh's" before
    and after everything she posts.

    -sw
     
  11. In article <[email protected]>,
    "Food Snob" <[email protected]> wrote:

    > > Try wood instead of charcoal... ;-)
    > >
    > > Works for me!

    >
    > My sister lives on an acre of mostly shagbark hickories. I am lucky.
    > The bark is nice for using w/ charcoal. The seasoned wood is good for
    > cooking.
    > > --
    > > Peace, Om.
    > >

    > --Bryan


    It's just been my personal experience that a good wood fire stays
    hotter, MUCH longer than briquetts ever thought of doing! It's even
    superior over "real" charcoal.

    I've had a decent wood fire burn all night long for long slow cooking.

    Try cooking a 35 lb. bone in emu. ;-) Takes a good 6 hours turning the
    carcass over at 3 hours.

    Gotta love Mesquite........

    Yes, I've done just that!

    But even for simple stuff like marinated chicken hindquarters, a decent
    wood fire burns for so long, I've sometimes ended up pulling extra meat
    out of the FREEZER and giving it a quick spice rub so I don't waste
    those beautiful long lasting coals! :-D

    I end up cooking enough meat for days sometimes.
    --
    Peace, Om.

    "My mother never saw the irony in calling me a son-of-a-bitch." -Jack Nicholson
     
  12. salgud

    salgud Guest

    Scott wrote:
    > I own a charcoal grill that i never cook on. The reason is I have
    > tried many times in the past and I can never get it to stay hot during
    > cooking. I follow the directions on lighting to a T. Last night I
    > tried again. I stacked it like a pyramid, lit the charcoal, burned the
    > charcoal (kingsford) til flames died out and continued to let it heat
    > for 30 minutes. It did ash over and was very hot. I spread them out as
    > well.
    >
    > Afterwards I closed the lid for 5 minutes and then began cooking pork
    > chops. It has vents on top and on bottom. I had them all open which I
    > wasn't sure If I should have or not. Either way my chops cooked, but
    > very slowly. I looked in through the vents on bottom and noticed no
    > coals looked hot anymore (you could see no amber on the coals). It
    > looked like they had died out. I knew that wasn't the case because it
    > was pretty warm on the inside.
    >
    > Anyway I am wondering if my problem has to do with oxygen. I cooked
    > them with the lid closed the entire time. I have done that everytime.
    > I don't know if thats good or bad. I now seem to think that was the
    > reason it took so long. The reason I think it might be oxygen is
    > because when I was done cooking I left the lid open by mistake and
    > went back out to check on the grill and the coals were flaming red and
    > so hot I probably could have cooked another meal on it.
    >
    > Should I have cooked with the lid open to let more oxygen in? Is this
    > my problem with the heating issues I have mentioned? This happens to
    > me everytime with the heat issue, but I always cook with the lid
    > closed, always. This time I just happened to notice that the coals
    > were flaming red cause I accidentally left the lid open and seen the
    > coals were hot, and wondered why they weren't that hot when I was
    > cooking. Was it because I left the lid open and the coals were then
    > able to receive more oxygen and the coals heated properly? Please
    > advise.


    Obviously, if the coals died when the top was closed, then heated up
    again when it was opened, there wasn't enough oxygen. You didn't
    mention where the vents were, or how many. If they were all along the
    bottom, or the top, they don't do very much. You need vents both top
    and bottom to get airflow through the coals. And you need enough area
    to give sufficient flow. Again, obviously, some of these conditions are
    not being met when the top is closed.
    In his grilling cookbooks, Schlessinger recommends leaving the top open
    for all grilling. The only time he recommends closing the top is for
    slow cooking, like true barbequing. I'd highy recommend you get "Thrill
    of the Grill" or "Licensed to Grill" and read the introductory
    material. Some of his ideas are controversial, but on the issues we're
    talking about here, I think it would help.
    Otherwise, leave the top open! With a properly designed grill, you
    should be having the opposite problem - having more heat than you need,
    which is much easier to deal with.

    As for holding your hand a given distance from the grill to test for
    heat level, I've always believed this is ridiculous. The range of
    tolerance between individuals for heat on their extremities is huge!
    People who work around furnaces all day could quite comfortably hold
    their hand almost indefinitely where others would pull back in seconds.
    Even if you don't work around heat, your tolerance, like general pain
    tolerance, can be several times that of another person. I think a
    thermometer or some other more objective measurement is more
    meaningful.
     
  13. BOB

    BOB Guest

    Scott wrote:
    :: I own a charcoal grill that i never cook on. The reason is I have
    :: tried many times in the past and I can never get it to stay hot
    during
    :: cooking. I follow the directions on lighting to a T. Last night I
    :: tried again. I stacked it like a pyramid, lit the charcoal, burned
    the
    :: charcoal (kingsford) til flames died out and continued to let it
    heat
    :: for 30 minutes. It did ash over and was very hot. I spread them out
    as
    :: well.
    ::
    What *BRAND* of charcoal grill? Yes, it can make a difference. On 4
    of my grills, I can get the temperature well over 1000° F easily if I
    don't partially close the vents. Yes, even with the lid closed.

    Lump charcoal is much better than briquettes.

    BOB
    --
    Raw Meat Should NOT Have An Ingredients List
     
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