How to Clean &
prep a Charcoal Grill
For a deep thorough cleaning, use muscle grease. All of the Oven Cleaners can
damage the outside and inside of your grill. I also ALWAYS use a heavy duty green
scrubber throughout the grilling season, replacing it when necessary.

The type of grill I have allows me to adjust the height of the charcoal. It also has a small
type of grill grate that I can store my cooked food. When my meal is done, and while the
coals are hot, I put the food on the top grill grate, and then take a grill cleaner brush and
clean by scraping.
I also give it a quick clean it right before I grill. I have my plastic grill bowl that I fill with
soapy water, and then use a grill brush to clean both sides of grill grate.

Heavy Duty Green Scouring Pad
Plastic bucket or bowl
Liquid dish soap (the kind you use to hand wash dishes)
A towel I don't care about
A few dish rags I don't care about
Paper towels
A Grill and Grate brush (be careful with this tool, it's very sharp)
Garbage bags

I always ALWAYS line the bottom of the grill with heavy duty aluminum foil before I put
the coals in. This way, when I go to clean a cold grill, I can very easily remove the
expired coals by simply picking up the aluminum foil and throwing it all away. It also
saves me time from cleaning the grill bottom of charcoal dust etc.and saves on wear and
tear of the grill.

I pour hot water into the bowl or bucket and add plenty of dish soap. I get the Grill and
Grate brush wet, and start scrubbing on the grill grates, using the sharp points to scrape
in between the grates. I repeat over and over in the soapy water, disposing and adding
more soapy water if needed.

I then take the towel and/or dish rags and continue to wipe the grate and drying it. You
COULD use good strength paper towels if you want, but I find that they tend to fall apart.
I then turn the grate over and repeat on the opposite side.

I use paper towels to gather up any moistness and crumbs from the bottom of the grill
before I line it with aluminum foil.
I don't treat the grill grates with oil. Most of the food's I grill are already in some type of
oil marinade, which is good enough.

I then put the coals on top of the aluminum foil in a pyramid shape, and pour lighter fluid
over them, counting to 20.

I then wait a few minutes before lighting, so the coals can soak up the fluid. During this
time is when I clean the tables and chairs with soapy rags, and setting up my prep table
with food.

Before I light the fire, I check for the direction of the wind, and move the grill and/or
tables around so the smoke isn't blowing into anyone's faces as they sit and I grill.

I use the large plastic lighter to light the coals. If I don't have either, I'll roll up some
newspaper and light that up, or in worst case scenario I'll light a spaghetti noodle to
reach in and light the coals. I let the flame catch and burn for a few minutes, until it is
just barely out. I keep the bucket of soapy water handy JUST IN CASE, and don't dump
that out until I am totally finished grilling.

Since I have a warmer grate hooked to the lid, I'll put the (nearly) finished food there,
close the lid, and after a few minutes, open and take the grill brush and clean off any left
over food.
It's opposite of cleaning while you light the coals, as sometimes the
cleaning brush breaks off onto the grill.
If you clean AFTER you grill while it's hot, it
makes the cleaning and wiping down of grill grates easier AND SAFER.

I'll leave the grill lid open while eating so coals burn off. I'll close it as one of the last
things I do before going inside so animals don't get inside.
WHO invented the opening lid
of the charcoal lighting fluid?
GADZOOKS. I have broken
many a fingernail trying to
fanagle with this contraption.
I always have a MANLY MAN
with shorter nails open this
poorly designed container.
I use a large plastic shopping
bag that's pretty sturdy (the kind
buy in the stores) to carry
down my food, utensils and
other supplies. I call this my
GRILLING BAG as only my
grilling supplies are in there.
This saves time instead of
looking for all the "tools". I also
put in a few throw away small
garbage bags to put dirty plastic
dishes, tongs, etc that need to
be washed in dishwasher. This
way it doesn't get my "grocery
bag" dirty.
I keep a separate and larger
garbage bag a good distance
away from the grill, and when all
done, throw all the garbage
Long and easy to use tongs that can easily
grip AND hold food
A long METAL spatula
A long piercing fork
A long basting brush
Oven mits
A plastic plate to place utensils
Several trays to plate food
If you close the lid, keep the
vents open to allow for oxygen
to get in. Coals need to have
this in order to keep burning
and to allow for the smoke to
escape as well.
If the coals are almost
KAPOOT, you can close the
vents and lid to keep some
warmth going on.
Before grilling, check to make
sure you can open and close
the vents, tighten with knife or
screw driver if necessary.

Sometimes you're smoking or grilling
something that takes a long, long time and
your coals die down to nothing.
If this is the case, remove the food from the
grill and put onto tray (you will more likely
need extra clean trays for when the food is
done, especially if you're placing meat or
chicken down that isn't cooked all the way -
don't use the same tray to hold the raw food
and to serve it)
After the food has been removed,
with oven
carefully remove grill grate, then add
fresh coals. Standing a bit back, add some
more charcoal fluid, wait for fire to burn down
before placing
grill grate and food back onto
You can use that long piercing fork to stir the
coals up for even burning, OR if you have a
long grilling spatula, you can put that in
between the grill grates to stir up coals.
Obviously if grilling, don't wear
anything with loose sleeves that
can catch fire. It's best to not
have sleeves at all if possible.
Also, remove loose jewelry
such as bracelets. Rings and
things are metal and do get hot.
Do NOT have lotions on.
They are oil based and can
catch fire.
Almost everything you put on a grill (with I guess the exception of hot dogs) need to
have some type of
oil or marinade on it BEFORE putting on the grill. This prevents
the food from sticking to the grill. This includes putting a bit of butter on the buns. .


It's pretty simple. If you have something that takes longer in general to cook, put that on
FIRST. Then you work your way down to putting other things on the grill according to
how long it takes to cook through. A Shish Kabob will cook relatively fast (about 5 min or
so), so put that down at the same time as say a Hamburger. Hot Dogs cook pretty fast,
so those should be the last thing you put down. When Hamburgers and Hot Dogs are
very nearly done, that's the time to put down the buns. If you're grilling Potatoes or
Corn, well put that down first as those take a good 15 min or so.

It doesn't matter if it's a Hamburger or Steak. Leave it alone. Put some melted Butter or
marinade on them before putting on the grill, and let one side cook for a few minutes
BEFORE turning over. Before you turn over, brush with more melted Butter or Oil. Don't
press the meat down-- it gets rid of natural juices and DRIES THE MEAT OUT. Don't cut
the Sausage open or poke holes into it, it gets rid of its natural juices.
I grew up with charcoal grilling. I charcoal grill today. Many people just LOVE the smell of
charcoal do I. There is a very definite difference in taste between charcoal
grilled and propane grilled foods.
What I don't understand is the concept of propane grills. To me, that's like cooking with
gas on my gas stove INSIDE in my kitchen. If I want grill marks I can then use my indented
grill pan on my stove. If I want a crust on my meat, I can plop under the broiler inside my

The cost between purchasing a tank and refills are very close to what it is to charcoal grill
per session.
Many people say that propane grilling is much faster. Okay...but in my book, I like the joy I
get out of setting up a charcoal grill, and then actually grilling. To me, it's taking TIME with
the food and enjoying that process... and not so much rush rush.
The secret to grilling is to enhance your food with different sauces and marinades.
I flavor my
hamburger meat with dashes of Teriyaki, Worcestershire & Steak Sauce
(with some bread crumbs or oat meal to bind) and then make the patties. You can add
a bit of each on top of patties as they grill for extra flavor too. To get the char on the
patties, I top with dashes of coffee grounds as they grill (in this case I add just some
Brown Sugar to hamburger meat while making the patties).
If I am grilling Chicken, I tend to use marinades (purchased in envelopes or jars). OR, I'll
put the chicken pieces in a large zip lock and add Italian dressing to cover, then
refrigerate for a few hours before grilling. I'll do the same with pork.
I like to mix my BBQ sauces instead of sticking with one brand. I'll just pour the different
brands over my ribs or chicken.
You don't need to oil your grill grates -- oil your meats instead. This will help prevent
them from sticking.

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