Charcoal Grills have always reminded me of those warm summer nights, surrounded by fireflies. These were the nights of my childhood when my family went out of the norm and used the smoky charcoal grills instead of the usual gas or electric grills. The one thing my father really cared about was safety because burns from charcoal grills can get nasty.

Safety must always be the first priority with anything fire related. I would suggest that you have the proper tools, because the tools you use can make or break you. It would be reckless to work with a grill and not use a glove, for example. You will need a starter chimney, a leather grilling glove, a long metal or wood handled spatula, and of course, charcoal (I recommend Kingsford).

Put the charcoal in the chimney. Typically you should use 30 briquettes for one pound of meat. I always wad up some newspaper and stuff it in the bottom portion of the chimney and light it, though if it is cold and blustery at the time you can add lighter fluid to the briquettes. DO NOT spray the fluid on the lit coals as this may result in the fire traveling up the fluid and burning your hands. Also, it is not a good idea to use gasoline. After about 30 min. (or until the top of the coals look ashy) you can lift the rack off the grill and carefully pour the coals into the bottom of the grill. Then replace the rack.

The arrangement of the coals depends on the food you are cooking, but if you use indirect heat for a longer time, your food will probably be tender. You must be careful not to dry it out though. Just follow the recipe for whatever you are cooking. While cooking use your long handled spatula and the leather glove. Also, you should keep an eye on the latch that expels the smoke. As a general rule, I keep mine half-way open, but if your recipe says differently follow it.

You must be careful even when you are opening the lid. If you are standing too close, and the lid opens, the hot smoke could burn you. Always keep your children and pets away from the grill. It may seem excessive but it truly is better to be safe then be sorry! Always be aware that every part of the grill will be hot. If your leg brushes the belly of the grill you might be burned.

Now that you know the basics, you are ready to grill safely for your friends and family! You can make the memories that will last a lifetime. You’re wife and kids may now know you as “Grill Master” now!


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