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

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, carefully add fresh
coals. Standing a bit back, add
some more charcoal fluid, wait
for fire to burn down before
placing food back onto grill.
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
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.
Your name:
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What are your
thoughts on
Charcoal vs
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

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