2. Set up your BBQ in an open space
First things first, set up your BBQ in an open space, ensuring it’s a safe distance from fences and trees.
Then check it’s standing securely on a flat surface before firing it up.
Bear in mind that smoke from a BBQ can be a nuisance for the neighbours, so check the direction of the wind and position your BBQ accordingly.
If possible, keep a fire extinguisher or a water bucket nearby and use long-handled tongs to handle the meat.
Oh, and that’s our bestselling American-style BBQ, if you were wondering!
3. Season the BBQ before lighting
Seasoning a BBQ serves three purposes:
Zaps toxic contaminants from the metal
Makes any food you grill extra tasty
Ensures that delicious crispy skin won’t stick to the grill
Here’s how to season your BBQ:
Wipe the grates all over with a high heat cooking oil (vegetable oil and canola oil work well), wipe off any excess with kitchen roll and you’re good to go!
4. Give it time to heat up
Unlike gas BBQs, charcoal barbecues need a little time to heat up – 10-15 minutes will do it.
Using a charcoal chimney will speed things up, but more on this later.
5. Prepare the BBQ
Prepping your BBQ is easy – just remove the grate and open the bottom vents. Done!
This lets the air circulate around the charcoal, resulting in a strong, even burn.
How much charcoal should
you use to light a BBQ?
As a rule of thumb, use 5-10 pieces of coal per piece of meat.
So, if you’re grilling a couple of sausages or burgers, 15-20 coals will do.
But for hotter flames and a longer burn, use more charcoal and pack it tighter.
6. Wait until the
charcoal is covered with ash
Before tossing your burgers on the grill, ensure the coals have lost their black colour before barbecuing – this takes 20-30 minutes.
Be careful if there are still flames licking the charcoal after this time, as you risk burning the food’s surface while the inside remains undercooked.
There are two signs your coals are ready: they’ll be covered in ash and no longer smoke.
7. Monitor the BBQ's temperature
Use a BBQ temperature gauge to ensure your barbecue retains adequate heat, which is at least 107°C (225°F).
You can also reduce the heat to slow or lengthen the cooking time by closing the vents almost completely (never fully or the fire will extinguish).
Opening the vents will create fiercer flames to cook quickly.
If you’re still struggling to light the charcoal, try these fast hacks before reaching for the lighter fluid: