Cooking over charcoal briquettes makes delicious meals. Grilling food over fire dates back to primitive civilizations, and today it’s still going strong. Each week millions of Americans take part in a past time that’s more American then the hot dog; at least it sure gives the tasty wieners a run for their money. In the modern world of cooking food over fire we have an endless variety of grills, tools, and fuels to help us cook up a feast. Based on your own personal preferences you may desire grilling with a gas grill or conventional charcoal briquettes. Both have their pros, and cons but one thing they both do well is make food taste great. Some people choose to only use one type over the other, and others swing both ways, in a grilling sort of way. Gas grills use propane gas as fuel to cook, they heat up fast, and cook fast. If this is a feature you’re looking for consider that a pro. Cooking a pork shoulder roast or other type of roast usually requires long periods of cooking. Propane grills are fully capable of doing this but you won’t get the same flavor as to cooking with charcoal briquettes.
Choosing to grill with briquettes will give your food a richer flavor, and with so many choices in charcoal most will do the job. However some charcoal manufactures do offer special brands for certain types of cooking. If you’re going to have the usual family and friends cook out with hot dogs, and hamburgers any charcoal brand will do. Some require lighter fluid and others are ready to light out of the bag no accelerant required. If you choose to use the briquettes needing lighter fluid its good to soak them for 3 to 5 seconds, making sure you cover each one. Let it soak for about two minutes, and you’re ready to go. Never use any type of accelerant other then charcoal lighter fluid; doing so can cause an unwanted fire, and or serious injuries. Ready to light briquettes are just as described ready to light, just place them in the grill, light the match, and you’re off to grilling a great meal.
After lighting the fire allow it burn until the coals are white, and glowing red this usually takes 10 to 15 minutes. Placing food on the grill too soon can have your burger tasting like lighter fluid, so it’s always a good idea to wait an extra 10 to 15 minutes just to make sure. This allows the briquettes to achieve maximum performance. Every grill has sliding vents on the lower half of the body, and one or two on top. These can be adjusted to help the briquettes cook hotter, or for slow cooking like a roast. For superior flavor purchasing mesquite wood adds rich flavor to any cook out. This wood can be found alongside the charcoal at any supermarket, and it’s usually in chunks just a little bigger than the briquettes. Some manufactures add it to the conventional briquettes this is some of the special charcoal offered. It’s really good for slow cooking and smoking other woods used are hickory, maple, and even cedar.
Cooking over charcoal briquettes allows the food to caramelize creating wonderful flavors, and driving your neighbors crazy with enchanted aromas. They may come over asking for a bite so make extra. Caramelizing is when the food is just under the point of starting to burn. It’s recognizable as browning occurs on lighter meats, and on beef sometimes a brownish red will appear. This lets you know your food is ready for serving. Just plate it up and enjoy the fruits of your labors.