How to use charcoal and wood chips

How to use charcoal and wood chips

Charcoal and wood chips are commonly used for grilling and smoking food, adding distinct flavors to your dishes. Here's a basic guide on how to use charcoal and wood chips from Papa Ken at Maine Grilling Products:

Using Charcoal:

  1. Select the Right Charcoal:

    • Choose between briquettes and lump charcoal. Briquettes are uniform and burn longer, while lump charcoal lights faster and produces more intense heat.
  2. Prepare the Grill:

    • If you're using a charcoal grill, arrange the charcoal in a pyramid shape in the center of the grill. This helps the coals light more easily.
  3. Lighting Charcoal:

    • Use a chimney starter or electric starter for a quick and even light. Avoid using lighter fluid as it can impart a chemical taste to your food.
    • Once the coals are ashed over (covered with a white-gray ash), spread them evenly across the grill.
  4. Controlling Temperature:

    • Adjust the airflow by manipulating the vents on the grill. Opening them allows more oxygen in, increasing the heat, while closing them decreases the heat.
  5. Cooking:

    • Place your food on the grill when the charcoal is at the desired temperature. Monitor the cooking process and adjust the vents as needed.

Using Wood Chips for Smoking:

  1. Selecting Wood Chips:

  2. Soaking Wood Chips (optional):

    • Some people soak wood chips in water for about 30 minutes or you can purchase flavored pre-soaked chips such as brandy soaked apple or spiced rum hickory.  Presoaked chips slow down the burning process and produce more smoke. However, this is optional, and some prefer using dry chips for a quicker release of smoke.
  3. Preparing the Grill for Smoking:

    • If you're using a charcoal grill, place a small amount of charcoal on one side of the grill. This creates an indirect heat zone for smoking. Alternatively, use a dedicated smoker.
  4. Adding Wood Chips:

  5. Controlling Temperature:

    • Maintain a low, steady temperature for smoking. Adjust the vents and the amount of charcoal to control heat.
  6. Monitoring the Smoke:

    • Keep an eye on the smoke production. Too much smoke can make the food bitter, so aim for a thin, bluish smoke.

Remember, practice and experimentation will help you perfect your technique and achieve the desired flavors for your grilled and smoked dishes. Enjoy!  Papa Ken

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.