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hardwood charcoal
lump charcoal
Keep your grill and all its components clean.
Cleaning grill grates
Golden Rules of the Grill


For the real old school cave-men types who prefer to cook over nothing but hardwoods:

  • Build that fire big and hot, because when it cooks down to cooking coals, there’s not much left. Even out your coals and prepare a 3 zone cooking area (Hot Hot / Medium Heat / Low & Slow zones).  This will help you achieve optimal taste while still maintaining control.

For the hopeless romantic poets of grilling who prefer cooking over charcoal:

  • Say “No thank you” to lighter fluid and charcoal briquettes.  Opt for a chimney starter, quality lump charcoal and a big wad of yesterday’s newspaper.  Lighter fluid imparts flavors onto your grilled foods. Most charcoal briquettes are made from pulverized scrap wood that are treated with Borax (used to release briquettes from the molds that make them nice and uniformly square) and sodium nitrate (used to help the briquette ignite). Frankly, we don’t know what happens to these chemicals when they burn.  We’ll pass on the Russian roulette here and stick to lump charcoal.

For whipper-snappers that prefer the sizzle of meat on new-fangled gas grills:

  • At least every 3 months, empty the grease catchment container, disassemble your grill and scrape out any burnt-on bits from the sizzle bars and body of the grill.  This prevents a 9 foot wall of flames rocketing from the depths of your grill.

For the high tech convenience lovers who relish their pellet smokers:

  • Keep your pellets clean and dry.

  • Always clean out the ashes left from the last smoking session.

  • Using old fashioned thermometers, check the accuracy of the smoking chamber temperature and meat probe functions on the control panel of your smoker.

  • Be sure to clean any grease that collects in the bottom of the smoker.

Golden Rules that apply to everyone who waves tongs at delicious meat:

  • Always keep your grill grates clean, hot and lubricated.

  • Let meats come to room temperature before you place them on the grill.

  • Sear at the highest heat your grill can achieve.

  • Maintain your desired temperature.

  • Use indirect heat AFTER you have the coloring you wish to achieve.

  • Don’t mess with food once it’s on the grill.  Pick it up only to turn it, move it to a cooler spot or take it off the grill.

  • Crowding the grill with too much food at once prevents proper searing and heat circulation. Fine, if you like poached ribeye…

  • For all that is sacred in the Church of Grilling, please don’t cut anything open to check for doneness.  Don’t rely on prayer either.

  • Use a meat thermometer rather than guess the internal temperature of your meat.  Why play a guessing game; if you’re not a professional (few of us are)?

  • Remember to let meat rest before slicing; it allows juices to redistribute throughout the muscle fibers and retain its moisture.

Meat thermometer
Pork ribs
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