Along with the sights of long summer days and kids on vacation from school, comes the sight of the charcoal grill in backyards across the country. Some people have traded in their charcoal grills for the convenience of gas or electric models, but, nevertheless, the charcoal grill still remains and is continued to be used to cook some summertime favorites.
Foods are cooked in one of two basic ways on the charcoal grill, and that is either by the direct cooking method or by the indirect cooking method. The direct cooking method is achieved by using enough charcoal briquettes to completely cover the bottom of the grill. These are then stacked together and ignited. When the coals are white, spread them over the bottom of the grill completely. Place the cooking grill or grate on top, and start the cooking process.
The foods, especially thin steaks, hamburgers, baked potatoes, and sweet corn, are cooked at a hotter temperature and are done quicker by using this method. The indirect cooking method involves placing equal amounts of charcoal briquettes on every side of the grill bottom, and not in the middle. The briquettes are then lit and allowed to burn down to a whitish color. The cooking grill is then placed on top, and the cooking begins. The foods to be cooked, such as thicker steaks, spare ribs, chicken, lobster tail, or even a meatloaf, are placed on the cooking surface of the grill. The grill cover is then placed on top of the grill in order to hold the heat inside.
The approximate cooking times of each food are as follows:
Thin steaks-About three minutes on each side for rare, four minutes on each side for medium, and five minutes on each side for well-done.
Hamburgers-The same as for thin steaks.
Baked potatoes-About an hour, depending on the size; fork should be easily inserted in each potato when done.
Sweet corn-About thirty minutes, depending on size; corn should be tender, but not burnt.
Thicker steaks- About six minutes on each side for rare, eight minutes on each side for medium, and ten minutes on each side for well-done.
Spare ribs- About an hour; meat juices should run clear when done cooking.
Chicken (pieces)- About an hour and a half, depending on the amount;; poultry juices should run clear when done cooking.
Lobster tail- About twenty-five minutes; shell should have turned a bright red color.
Meatloaf-About thirty minutes for a one-pound loaf; meat juices should run clear when done cooking.
Here are some other tips for making your grilling experience a completely enjoyable one:
Store charcoal briquettes in a dry place. Do not store them in a damp area as moist briquettes will not light properly.
Always allow the charcoal briquettes to burn down to a white-colored ash before cooking.
Empty out the accumulated ashes in the bottom of the charcoal grill after each and every use. Make sure the ashes are completely cooled first.
Cover the cooking grill with a wide piece of aluminum foil, or two smaller pieces, before beginning to cook your foods. This will eliminate the job of having to scrub the grill after each use. After the cooking is complete, simply remove the foil and dispose of it properly.
Additional charcoal briquettes may need to be added if cooking foods for a long period of time. Do not touch the foods with the briquettes.Additional charcoal