Make it a Great Grilling Day

in General Outdoor Advice

To me, there is nothing like a day with grilling. It’s a passion of mine to spend some time sitting around the grill in any type of weather. In fact, my most enjoyable times grilling is sitting on my back deck surrounded by snow in single digit temperatures. The heat from the grill warms me and actually heightens the culinary experience.

Let’s get this straight though, I’m not talking about sitting next to my propane grill. I’m talking charcoal baby! You simply cannot compare charcoal grilling to propane grilling. No comparison, whatsoever. So, what makes grilling with a charcoal kettle grill so special? It’s everything, not just one thing. It’s the process of lighting the charcoal using a chimney starter and some rolled up newspaper. It’s the anticipation while the charcoal starts to light in the chamber while that sweet smell fills the air.

There’s also the creativity associated with using direct versus indirect heating methods. With a charcoal grill, you can turn the grill into an oven in which you can cook a chicken, game hen, turkey, or pork shoulder. You can line the outside of the bottom of the grill with hot charcoal and place a pan of water in the middle to create the indirect heating method. Above the pan you place your meat and let it cook at lower temperatures over a longer period of time.

With charcoal grilling, one of the grill accessories you shouldn’t be without is wood for smoking. I have bought them in chips, chunks, and shavings. The various wood types are numerous including apple, hickory, mesquite, cherry, oak, and others. You simply have to soak the wood in some water at least an hour before you toss them onto the hot charcoal briquettes. Using wood chips for smoking is one of the more creative aspects of charcoal grilling because over time you will prefer one type of wood smoke over another depending upon the meat, seafood, or vegetables that you are grilling.

With propane, there is always an attempt to approximate what a charcoal grill can do. Since there are no charcoal briquettes to place your wood chips onto, there is such an accessory called a smoker box. This is a small metal box with holes into which you place your wet wood chips. You then place it on the bottom of the grill near the burners and the smoke will filter through the holes. I’ve used them and they work nothing like wood chips on a charcoal grill.

Propane grillers also attempt to approximate indirect heating methods by turning off some of the burners but you cannot change the configuration of the heat like you can by moving around the charcoal briquettes. Once again, it’s a situation where you are trying to approximate the unique environment of a charcoal grill.

Take my word for it and make it a great grilling day by using an authentic charcoal grill to satisfy your grilling needs. There is no way to mimic that grilling experience that you can only get with charcoal!

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