There are some rules for using charcoal properly. You have to know about these things to have the best use of it. Another important thing is which type of charcoal you are using? All the charcoal is not equal. There are different types of charcoal as lump charcoal, charcoal briquettes. Some of them take less time to light. Some of them stay lit for a long time. So there are variations of charcoal and its qualities.
How Do You Know if Charcoal is Lit?
The choice of choosing the right charcoal is the main factor. You have to choose wisely, depending on the purpose. If you want to keep your charcoal lit, then you have to use one type of charcoal. But if you like to burn it for a short period, you can choose another charcoal type. Many home cooks suffer to maintain their charcoal lit. Now here is a question – do you want the charcoal to stay lit? If the answer is yes, then you have to focus on some essential points. Let's have a peep through the facts-
Dry the Charcoal
You have to keep your charcoal dry before burning it. This is the most important thing. If your charcoal remains wet, it will not stay lit. So you have to ensure the dryness of charcoal. Remember to use dry charcoal for grilling to get the best result. As charcoal is excellent grained, it can easily absorb and confine moisture from the nearby environment. The aridness of charcoal mainly depends on how to store it. If you store it in a shabby or damp place, it will never stay moisture-free. It may captivate so much wetness that it's unable to light or remain lit. To prevent this type of inconvenience, you should keep your charcoal in a dry and climate-controlled surrounding.
Another important thing about your consideration should be the weather. Humid weather can be an obstacle for keeping the charcoal lit. High humidity can cause ignite charcoal to burn out. If you are grilling or smoking something on a humid day, the condensation in the air may steep your charcoal to the point where it's not able to stay lit. It is a matter of irony that the weather is not under your control. But you can avoid such sticky or steamy day for grilling or barbecuing. You can still grill or smoke on a humid day by taking some precautions like taking dry charcoal, placing it vertically.
You also have to check on your smoker or griller. Proper ventilation of smokers can ensure the perfection of grilling. Charcoal can die out after being lit due to the insufficient amount of air. You have to add cooking wood or smoking chunks at the perfect time. You have to wait until the charcoal has got hot, then you can add cooking wood without any danger.
It will not be good for grilling if you are using any low-quality cooking wood or grilling chunks. Seasoned wood is not adequate for grilling as it absorbs a lot of moisture. Rinsing your wood before grilling will not help charcoal to stay lit. To keep the fire alive and provide great flavor, you have to use good quality and dried charcoal, remaining lit for a more extended period. You can select premium cooking chunks. There are various types of smoking chunks, including Applewood chunks, hickory smoking chunks. Fuelwood pieces are trouble-free to light and will burn at a perfect rate.
You also have to take a look at your smoker. Most grill and smoker have two dampers that control the airflow. It would be best if you opened your damper before grilling because it ensures the proper airflow. And without adequate air, it will burn out, and you have to light it again. Closing the damper can stop air ventilation. After lighting your charcoal and adding your food, you can slightly close the dampers.
Assembling of Charcoal
The assembling of charcoal on the smoker is also an essential factor. You have to place or assemble your charcoal vertically rather than flat on the bottom of the grill. Some coals may stay ignited if you put your charcoal horizontally on the smoker base, and some may burn out without reaching a suitable temperature. You can use a chimney starter to have a nice and neat stack of charcoal. This is a standard grilling and smoking accessory. It consists of a cylindrical-shaped metal piece with a void interior. You have to penetrate the chimney starter with charcoal, arrange it on your grill or smoker and light the bottom with a lighter.
If you are barbequing in windy weather, it can threaten your charcoal to stay lit. You can get a remedy to this situation by partially covering the grill with a lid. You have to maintain a minimum 3-5 inch gap between the top and inside of the smoker. Charcoal barbequing can be fun and exciting by using good quality charcoal. So charcoal is the main factor here. To cook a good meal, you will only need good charcoal.
Allow the Air
In the time of grilling, you have to allow air to hit the coals. Otherwise, it will burn out early. The air helps to raise the temperature and burn faster. So when the charcoal starts to have grey edges, change charcoal's position using a poker instrument. You have to be careful while using this device. Maintain a safe distance in this process.
If you leave your charcoal burning to itself, it will not remain lit. You have to keep your eyes on the charcoal grill. It is imperative to have properly grilled food. Undercooking your food can create so many health problems such as foodborne illness, food poisoning, etc.
How Do You Know the Charcoal is Lit?
Here comes another valuable question, how do you know the charcoal is lit? Firstly you have to put the charcoal briquettes together very tightly. The lighter fluid will help to stay lit. You can also add some kindling here to light it correctly; after applying the more golden fluid, wait a few minutes to absorb into the charcoal. You can get the coals ready for use when it is coated with gray ash. When the coals continue to burn, the ash starts to cover briquettes individually. Coals are accessible to use after being mostly covered in ash.
How Long Should Charcoal Burn Before Cooking?
Preheating or pre burning before cooking or grilling is an essential factor. You are preheating means the time of letting the charcoal before you start cooking the food. Approximating to the whole burning life of charcoal, this preheating may differ from brand to brand. Every charcoal has not the same burnout rate. Different charcoal has different burnout rate. So you have to check on the characteristics of the brands. The experts are doing so much research work on this matter. Roughly 10-15 minutes are the best time for preheating or pre burning. Weather can create an impact if you are grilling outside. Windy or cold weather may change the time range of pre burning. You have to pre-burn your charcoal a little longer. You also have to consider the construction of your grill.
Do You Leave the Lid Open or Closed When Heating Charcoal?
Close or open the lid while grilling? This question can be stuck in your head. So let's give you a justified answer. Lids play a role in air ventilation. After lighting the charcoal adequately, you can close the grill's lid. The closed lid mainly produces high temperatures in the firebox. You have to know the way of utilizing the grill's air vents. To provide air into the firebox, you can open the vents and close the lid. The air contains so much oxygen. From the science experiments, you know that oxygen fuels the fire appropriately. It can create a hotter cooking temperature.
For this reason, the inside temperature could increase. So you can shut one vent or both but only partially. Because quitting the oxygen supply can kill the fire. It would help if you did not open your lid without any valid reason. It will cause a bad effect. The closing or opening of the lid also depends on the food you are cooking. Some recipe requires to grill under the open top, and some needs to grill under a closed lid. Only open the lid when the food needs to turn over and get a brown color. You can use the vents for adjusting the temperature.
Charcoal has to be on fire to cook. It means you have to burn the charcoal first and fire it fully to cook or smoke your food. Without fire, it is not possible to have grilled food. So it is essential to keep your charcoal lit.