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Help/advice with charcoal bbq


RBA_91
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Hi all

Don't BBQ often at all and i'm very basic with it i.e. just simply grill meats on a charcoal BBQ. Nothing fancy, just a simple rub or marinade and has worked for me fine.

I tend to use a basic charcoal grill and for ease i use instant lighting bags of lumpwood. A small bag for a 4 person BBQ (although we eat quite a bit!). I tend to place a layer of alluminium foil at the botom for easy clean up. Has generally worked fine for me. I leave to light for around 20-25 minutes before i start cooking. Wings etc cook super quickly and usually get a nice char immediately.

The last few times i have BBQ'd i'm not sure what i've been doing wrong. Followed all the same steps as above, but just don't seem to be getting enough heat/power from the coals. not getting that immediate char on wings and seem to take forever to cook (30 mins for small wings as opposed to say 15 before). BBQ also dies out pretty quickly so i'm left with a bunch of meat i end up taking inside and cooking in the oven.

Any idea where i might be going wrong? Not enough coal? Should i let it burn for longer (although makes me think the longer i leave it burning the less time i'll have before it dies out)? Stop using the foil? Use briquettes instead? Get a better (less cheap) BBQ? Open/closed lid?

Just purchased a weber chimney starter so hopefully that will help. Any thoughts on the above would be appreciated.

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OK first off Welcome to the Forum.

Secondly, try and move away from Instant light charcoal, Why, its impregnated with a starter agent (fuel) that burns and leaves a taint to the food.

Move to Bricketts or Lumpwood Charcoal and use your Chimney to start it, simply scrunch some newspaper  or similar in the bottom ring and light.

If you have a photo of your BBQ it would also help to see any problems, but I think the Foil is blocking air flow. Fire depends on air, no air, no fire, no heat.

There is many different ways to cook on a BBQ with a lid, Direct (food above the charcoal) indirect or two zone cooking Charcoal on one side of the BBQ and food on the other side) or a mixture of both.

Set BBQ up for two zone cooking

B9429985-1AC6-480D-9204-90B0A26FC752.jpeg.cd068f9cf10071051f0415774c5f7bbd.jpeg

 

Start wings in the Indirect Zone, lid closed, then when they almost cooked, move to Direct Zone to get a Char.

This way the Wings are cooked correctly and then a controlled Char.

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:welcome: I agree with avoiding instant light fuels. Some good deals on cheap kettle style BBQ at the moment. They give you a good range of cooking techniques as smokin monkey said above and a nice place to learn without shelling out a fortune. You could try the vortex wings or get a cheap Stainless steel bowl and remove the bottom will do the same without breaking the bank. 

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7 hours ago, RBA_91 said:

 Alternatives to using newspaper? Don’t really get newspapers anymore!

 

 

i use one of those cheap portable gas cookers to start mine, only takes a few mins to get it going and they are perfect size for the chimney starter, or you could try some of those lighters called "flamers"  or weber cubes, there are a few products out there, just dont get cheap firelighters = they are just nasty and should not be anywhere near food.

 

 

 

 

Edited by smokeyjoe
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Hi RBA_91

Welcome along, great questions by the way, you are just like me happy and wants a little more from the BBQ, guess what you are in the right place

I am just like your easy BBQ and get lovely food, now I want a step up

First, the coals, bbq are all about the coals. Get proper restaurant quality coals they  will cost you 15-30 depends on what you get and your questions are answered, trust me I just leant this trick

Cook same the same way the same amount of coals everything like before and you will see just how much better the food an taste is

That is my first step and tip

Just so you know restaurant coals are a bit of a pain to get going so do not worry, things will be a little slow at first and then pick up. The heats way better and just lasts

When done full lid on and re-use any coals you can and mix with new coals

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On 6/7/2020 at 10:14 AM, Smokin Monkey said:

:yeahthat: can get them from Asda, about £2.00 a bag.

This is what @smokeyjoe was on about, most of the guys who attend the BBQ/Tailgate Weekends use these to get Charcoal started.

8BCFDCB9-A160-485E-BFE7-02F2B48C0D98.thumb.jpeg.89c8bbfb12045620f6c2a132502f758a.jpeg
1BED1810-33DA-4615-9DED-11D61E193E18.thumb.jpeg.4e2b172ded6edb226c7adf9ca797932f.jpeg

Yes, these are cheap and cheerful and do a great job lighting a chimney

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks everyone for all the helpful tips.

 

The chimney started was a great investment. i think i still used too little coal for the amount of food we were cooking.

 

I am thinking next time i will just light another batch of coal to add to the coals already in the BBQ when they start to lose heat.

 

Recommendations for any affordable but still good quality coal? Not after anything fancy.

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4 hours ago, RBA_91 said:

Recommendations for any affordable but still good quality coal? Not after anything fancy.

have a nosey about on the likes of dawsons etc for aussie heat beads, they have been consistently good for many years and can be found on offer here and there, not the cheapest but certainly not the dearest and always an excellent product that gives an even heat everytime.

 

i would class them as affordable and very good.👍

 

Edited by smokeyjoe
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On 6/7/2020 at 10:14 AM, Smokin Monkey said:

:yeahthat: can get them from Asda, about £2.00 a bag.

This is what @smokeyjoe was on about, most of the guys who attend the BBQ/Tailgate Weekends use these to get Charcoal started.

8BCFDCB9-A160-485E-BFE7-02F2B48C0D98.thumb.jpeg.89c8bbfb12045620f6c2a132502f758a.jpeg
1BED1810-33DA-4615-9DED-11D61E193E18.thumb.jpeg.4e2b172ded6edb226c7adf9ca797932f.jpeg

 

 

Not related to post but wanted to say that I use this exact same cooker with my wok for stir frying my 4 hour smoked chicken wings to add the appropriate sauce. 😎 

Brilliant gadget.

 

On topic... ditch the instant lighting rubbish and use proper briquettes or lump. Preferably not the common rubbish sold in petrol stations or dodgy garden centres. 
Cheap lump is normally shrapnel and cheap briquettes have too many fillers and smoke way to much.

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I always bought cheap lump wood or briquettes maybe for 30 years, I found this forum and asked away and read posts

Best thing you can do is change it up to restaurant quality lump wood. Of cause you can pay a lot for this and will be 15kg sack, your never regret it, best simplest decision you make

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  • 2 years later...

I have the InkBird IBT-4XS from thebarbec that uses the BBQ GO app. Works very well. And has a 150' range. It works well and seems to be fairly accurate. My only complaint is with the monitor’s LED display. This is overkill for one-off uses, and I'd skip it if I had a pellet smoker. But for a stick burner or a charcoal burner, this makes monitoring the temp easy. Great gift for anybody who likes to cook low and slow on a smoker.
 

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