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Nothing says summer like grilling up steaks, vegetables or other delicious dinner ideas on your Napoleon® charcoal grill. After all, when cooking on an outdoor grill, only charcoal can deliver authentic BBQ taste and char.
From charcoal outdoor grills big enough to feed a large family to smaller BBQs for charcoal on the go, Napoleon’s line-up of charcoal grills will get you grilling all summer long. Napoleon’s charcoal grills are the height of professional charcoal grilling, featuring durable construction and outstanding warranties.
Napoleon’s Charcoal Grill Series features the tools you need to take your BBQ charcoal game to a whole new level. From Napoleon’s iconic WAVE™ cooking grids for those distinctive sear marks to our PRO Air Control system to increase air and temperature accuracy, you’ll be the neighborhood BBQ king in no time! Now fall-off-the-bone ribs, perfectly seared steaks, juicier meats and incredible flavor are on the menu.
Is it Better to Grill With Charcoal or Gas?
Charcoal grills are acclaimed for searing food faster. A quick, high-heat sear can effectively seal the meat’s outer layer, which helps lock in its natural juices. A charcoal grill ensures that the meat remains juicy and tender inside while allowing the exterior to develop a flavorful crust. However, it’s essential to recognize that not all grilling requires intense temperatures—most call for more moderate heat, allowing for a broader range of flavors and textures.
A charcoal grill has a distinct advantage at the lower end of the temperature spectrum. With gas grills, there’s a safety threshold below which the flame might blow out, risking a leak of uncombusted fuel. While a gas grill can still produce a fair amount of heat at its lowest setting, a charcoal grill allows for more delicate temperature control. Perhaps the most recognized benefit of low heat on charcoal grills is smoking. Smoking imparts a deep, smoky flavor to meats over several hours. Whether you’re smoking brisket, pork shoulder, or ribs, a consistently low temperature on the BBQ grill is crucial.
Another thing to remember is that the lid functions differently for gas and charcoal grills. Using the lid while grilling can dramatically change the cooking environment, influencing the temperature, airflow, and even the flavor. A charcoal grill offers more flexibility with open-lid grilling since you can manually control the heat by adjusting coal placement and airflow. For creating that perfect crust on a steak or quickly charring veggies, you’ll want intense direct heat, which can be better achieved with the lid open. In addition, keeping an eye on fattier cuts that can cause flare-ups might require an open lid. While gas grills can be used with the lid open, they generally perform best with the lid closed because they provide a consistent and even temperature, akin to an outdoor oven. They work well for roasting or baking since closing the lid helps attain and maintain the required temperatures.
So, what is the best, charcoal grill or gas grill? It’s a choice that doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all answer. The ideal BBQ grill is often subjective and can vary based on personal preferences and the culinary results you’re aiming for.
Charcoal grills promise a rugged, intense experience with a smoky flavor and a wide temperature range, catering to both the aspiring griller on a budget and the experienced chef wanting that perfect BBQ grill sear. Gas grills offer a clean, convenient alternative with precise temperature control, ideal for those seeking efficiency and ease of use. Your preferences in flavor, cooking style, and convenience will guide you to the BBQ grill that best suits your culinary tastes. It’s an interesting debate that invites you to explore and experiment, much like the art of grilling itself.
Is Charcoal Healthier Than Propane?
The charcoal grill is well-loved for its smoky aroma and is a favorite for traditional barbecue enthusiasts. When fats from the food drip onto hot coals, they produce a distinct smoky flavor that many associate with classic barbecues. The smoke produced from vaporized fat contains compounds which, if deposited on the food, can potentially be harmful when ingested in large quantities over long periods. The intense heat of the coals and the flames from flare-ups can lead to the formation of compounds on the meat itself. Charred meat can have potential health risks when consumed in large amounts over time.
Propane grilling doesn’t offer the same smoky taste as charcoal but provides a more controlled and consistent cooking environment. Those who prefer this method appreciate that it highlights the natural flavors of the food without the added smokiness. Propane and gas grills produce less smoke, which might be preferable for those looking for a straightforward grilling experience. Additionally, foods grilled on propane usually retain less fat, making it a leaner option.
That said, the best charcoal grill, combined with safe grilling practices, doesn’t pose a significant health risk. Occasional indulgence in grilled foods shouldn’t result in health issues. For those particularly health-conscious, certain precautions can minimize risks. Various studies suggest that marinating meat in vinegar and lemon before grilling can reduce the formation of potentially harmful compounds. You can also try precooking meat slightly in the oven or microwave before finishing it on the BBQ grill. This way, you can reduce the time your food is exposed to the high heat of charcoal, thereby limiting the formation of high-heat compounds.
Ultimately, deciding between propane and charcoal grills isn’t just about health considerations. It’s also about personal preferences, cherished traditions, and what grilling represents to each individual. Some might prefer the consistent heat of propane, while others enjoy the unique touch of a charcoal grill. As long as you take the necessary precautions, both options are safe and bring good food and great times to your summer gatherings.
How Many Bags of Charcoal Do I Need for a Grill?
Starting your charcoal grill adventure often begins with a simple question: “How much charcoal should I use?” The answer depends on a few things, like your grill’s size and what you’re cooking. For small or portable grills, you might need around 30 briquettes. But you’ll probably use between 50 to 75 briquettes for bigger grills. It’s worth noting that external factors, such as cold, windy, or rainy conditions, can influence the charcoal amount as they impact the grill’s ability to maintain heat.
For foods like burgers or hot dogs that don’t need too much heat, just one layer of coals on the bottom should do the trick. But if you’re going for that perfect sear on a steak, you’ll want more intense heat. That means using about double the charcoal piled two or three layers high. If you’re slow cooking or smoking, it’s all about using less charcoal and keeping a close eye on the temperature. To maintain a steady temperature for prolonged cooking sessions, it’s a good practice to introduce approximately five additional coals every 30 minutes. If you find your BBQ grill struggling to stay above 200°F, adding a few more coals can help stabilize the temperature and keep things cooking.
These are just general tips, so it’s always a good idea to check the BBQ grill manual for more specific advice on how much charcoal to use.
Types of Charcoal - Lump Charcoal vs. Briquettes
Lump Charcoal: This is a favorite for many grill enthusiasts because of its more organic composition. It often comes from materials like cherry, coconut shells, mesquite, and tamarind. Lump charcoal tends to burn hotter and faster than its counterpart due to its uncompressed nature. This means it leaves behind less ash, making your post-BBQ grill cleanup a bit easier. However, because it’s not uniform in shape, spreading it evenly can be challenging. That’s why many grillers like using lump charcoal for slow-cooking meats like ribs and brisket.
Briquettes: These are formed chiefly from sawdust, held together with binding ingredients. What makes briquettes stand out is their consistent size and shape, which helps in maintaining steady heat. While they might not get as hot as lump charcoal, they’re reliable, especially for quicker grilling tasks, like cooking fish or steaks.
Some grillers find the best of both worlds by using a mix of lump charcoal and briquettes for their BBQ grill. This way, they get the high heat from the lump charcoal and the consistency of briquettes. Regardless of your choice, always go for good-quality charcoal for the best results.
Are Expensive Charcoal Grills Worth It?
When it comes to outdoor cooking, the saying, “You get what you pay for,” often rings true. Budget charcoal grills aren’t necessarily a compromise and can be ideal in some situations. If you’re new to grilling and uncertain about your commitment to the craft, starting with a budget-friendly option can be a wise decision. This allows you to explore and develop your grilling skills without a hefty upfront investment. Budget grills are often more lightweight, making them perfect for those who enjoy grilling on the go, whether at a beach, park, or campsite. Their simpler design often means fewer parts to worry about during transportation.
While budget charcoal grills might not offer all the features or the longevity of their pricier counterparts, they can be an excellent choice for many situations. It’s all about understanding your needs and making a choice that aligns with them.
The best charcoal grill that won’t break the bank is the Napoleon NK18K-LEG Charcoal Kettle Grill, a compact 18-inch grill perfect for enthusiasts. It has weather-resistant wheels for mobility and offers both grilling and slow-roasting options. Add wood chips for enhanced flavor. Control heat efficiently with adjustable top and bottom vents and monitor with the ACCU-PROBE™ Temperature Gauge. The lid also boasts a built-in hanger and a cool touch handle for safe grilling.
Now, let’s discuss the merits of the best charcoal grill on the market.
Premium grills are typically constructed using higher-grade stainless steel or even ceramic. These materials are rust-resistant and retain heat efficiently, ensuring consistent cooking temperatures. This resilience means that, with proper care, a high-end grill can last for decades, making it a one-time investment for many.
Enhanced Cooking Experience
Top-tier charcoal grills often come with advanced ventilation systems allowing more precise temperature control. This feature is a boon for those who dabble in diverse cooking techniques, from slow roasting to high-heat searing.
Some higher-end charcoal grills have features like built-in thermometers, smoker attachments, and even rotisserie setups. These features can elevate your grilling game, allowing you to experiment with a variety of cooking styles.
Quality charcoal grills prioritize user safety. They often integrate features like heat-resistant handles, secure lid locks, and stable construction to prevent tipping.
Let’s not forget the visual impact. Premium grills often boast a sleek and polished design, becoming a cooking tool and a centerpiece of your outdoor setting.
High-quality grills often ensure better coal combustion, leading to less smoke and better fuel efficiency. This means you use less charcoal over time and reduce your carbon footprint.
The best charcoal grill of premium quality is the Napoleon Charcoal Professional Grill. It elevates the traditional charcoal grill with the stability and features of cart-model gas grilling in a huge charcoal BBQ. Its stainless-steel build is both durable and sleek. Easily add charcoal through the front door and manage the heat with an adjustable charcoal bed and sliding vents. The WAVE™ cooking grids deliver signature sear marks. Its standout feature is the charcoal-powered rotisserie burner, and a slide-out pan ensures easy cleanup.
When you invest in a premium charcoal grill, you’re not just paying for a cooking apparatus; you’re investing in an experience. It’s about seamlessly blending the joy of outdoor cooking with reliability and longevity. Every time you fire up a high-quality charcoal grill, you’re reinforcing a commitment to culinary excellence. It is a celebration of food, flavor, and good company.
More FAQs About Using a Charcoal Grill
How to Use a Charcoal Grill
First, choose a safe spot for your grill, preferably on a flat surface away from anything flammable. Having water nearby in case of emergencies is also a good idea.
Next, prepare the charcoal. Using a chimney starter to light the coals is much easier than using lighter fluid and doesn’t produce harmful chemicals. Fill the chimney starter with charcoal, then place it on the grill grates and light a few pieces of newspaper underneath. In about 10-15 minutes, the charcoal should be ready. Pour it out evenly into the grill.
Now it’s time to cook! Place the food on the grill grates, positioning them close to or far from the coals, depending on how much heat is needed. For burgers and hot dogs, cook them over direct heat for a few minutes on each side until they’re charred and juicy. For thicker cuts of meat like steak or chicken, cook them over indirect heat with the lid on, which helps to distribute the heat and cook the food thoroughly and evenly.
Finally, don’t forget to clean up! Wait until the charcoal is fully extinguished and cooled, then dispose of the ashes in a non-flammable container.
With these simple steps, you’ll be able to create delicious meals on your charcoal grill in no time. Happy grilling!
How to Light a Charcoal Grill
One of the key elements to making delicious BBQ is knowing how to light your charcoal grill. It may seem intimidating at first, but with a bit of practice, you’ll become a pro in no time.
First, start with the basics: charcoal and lighter fluid. For a 22-inch kettle grill, use about 100 charcoal briquettes and a few ounces of lighter fluid. Avoid using too much lighter fluid, which can lead to flare-ups and an uneven burn.
Arrange the briquettes in a pyramid shape at the center of your grill. Carefully pour the lighter fluid onto the briquettes, making sure to distribute it evenly. Allow the fluid to soak in for a minute or two before lighting the charcoal.
Carefully light the charcoal on one side of the pyramid using a long-handled lighter or match. Be cautious of your hand placement, and make sure not to hold the lighter too close to the charcoal, as this can lead to burns or even an explosion.
Once the fire has started, wait for the charcoal to ash over and turn gray. This typically takes about 15-20 minutes. Resist the urge to add food to the grill before the coals have fully ashed over, as this can result in an uneven cook and an unpleasant taste.
Finally, spread out the coals to create an even layer and adjust the vents on the grill to control the temperature. For a hotter temperature, open the vents wider, and for a cooler temperature, close the vents slightly. Once you’ve achieved your desired temperature, it’s time to get grilling!
The key to lighting a charcoal grill is to use the right amount of charcoal and lighter fluid, light the coals carefully, and wait for them to ash over before adding food to the grill.
How to Start a Charcoal Grill Without Lighter Fluid
If you’re wondering how to start your charcoal grill without lighter fluid, don’t worry – it’s easier than you might think.
First, make sure you have the necessary equipment to get the job done. You’ll need a chimney starter, charcoal briquettes, newspaper or fire starter cubes, and a long lighter or matches.
Here’s how to get started:
Step 1: Fill the chimney starter with charcoal briquettes. Don’t pack them too tightly – leave some room for air to circulate.
Step 2: Stuff newspaper or a few fire starter cubes in the bottom of the chimney starter. You want enough to get the charcoal lit but not so much that it overwhelms the briquettes.
Step 3: Light the newspaper or fire starter cubes with a long lighter or matches. Be careful not to burn yourself!
Step 4: Let the chimney starter do its job. You’ll know it’s ready when the charcoal on top turns white and ashy – this usually takes about 10-15 minutes.
Step 5: Pour the hot coals into the grill. Use tongs to spread them out evenly, and make sure you leave some space for airflow.
Step 6: Add your food and start grilling! Make sure to keep an eye on the temperature and adjust the coals as needed to keep it at the desired level.
And that’s it! With these simple steps, you can start your charcoal grill without lighter fluid and enjoy a delicious BBQ experience.
How to Get a Charcoal Grill Hotter
If you’re finding that your grill isn’t quite reaching the temperatures you want, don’t worry – we’ve got some tips to help your grill get hotter.
First, check that your grill is clean. Ash buildup on the bottom of the grill can impede airflow, which in turn affects the temperature. Make sure to remove all of the ash from the previous grilling sessions before starting. While cleaning, be sure to remove any debris or rust on the grate too.
Next, create a hotter fire by lighting more charcoal. Once you’ve added fresh coals to the old ones, use a chimney starter to light them evenly. The starter helps distribute the heat evenly by creating hot air around the charcoals.
Another useful tip is to add wood chunks, hickory, or mesquite. They burn hotter and help raise the temperature to create a desirable smoke that adds flavor to the meat. Wood is perfect when the heat from charcoal can’t suffice.
If the temperature isn’t still quite hot enough, try using less fuel to give the coals more oxygen. Open up the bottom vents fully and put the lid on so that air flows to the fire, causing the temperature to increase. Conversely, close the top and bottom vents down partially when you’re reaching your desired temperature.
Finally, be patient and give your charcoal some time to heat up before placing the food on the grill. Your patience will pay off in the long run as the heat gets dispersed evenly in the grill. Check your thermometer to ensure that it has reached the desired temperature before you start cooking.
In no time, you will become an expert at getting the grill hotter with these tips. All you need is a little practice, and soon you’ll be producing food that is so delectable that it’ll leave your guests wanting more.
How to Put Out a Charcoal Grill
As a new charcoal BBQ owner, you are surely excited to master the art of grilling and enjoy mouth-watering dishes with family and friends. While it’s important to know how to start a charcoal grill, it’s equally crucial to understand how to put it out safely.
Firstly, remove all the food and cooking grates from the grill. Then, close all the vents and dampers to starve the fire of oxygen and prevent any further flare-ups. The idea here is to suffocate the flames and gradually reduce the temperature to a level where the remaining charcoal will extinguish.
Next, use long-handled tongs or a heat-resistant glove to carefully remove any large, unburned charcoal pieces from the grill and dispose of them safely. Be sure not to leave any lit charcoal in the grill, and do not pour water or any other liquid on the charcoal as this can cause steam to rise and burn you.
Instead, you can sprinkle a small amount of baking soda on the charcoal to cool the grill faster. The baking soda will react with the remaining charcoal, emitting carbon dioxide and depriving it of oxygen, thus hastening the cooling process.
Once you’re sure the charcoal is no longer burning, and the grill is completely cool to the touch, it’s safe to dispose of the ash and coals in a metal container designated for hot ashes. You can now wash your cooking grates, dry them and put them back in place, ready for your next BBQ session.
With these steps, you’ll now be able to put out a charcoal grill like a pro. Remember, safety always comes first, so be sure to practice caution and remain vigilant when dealing with fire and hot surfaces. Enjoy your grill, and have a blast creating your delicious barbeque dishes!
How to Clean a Charcoal Grill
One of the secrets to making delicious food is to keep your grill clean. Let’s walk through the steps of how to clean a charcoal grill:
Step 1: Brush it off - Start by taking a grill brush and scrubbing the grill grates to remove any large pieces of food debris. Make sure to scrub both the top and the bottom of the grates.
Step 2: Scrub it clean - Using a non-abrasive sponge and a solution of warm water and mild dish soap, gently scrub the inside and outside of the grill, as well as the grill grates. Rinse the sponge regularly with clean water and repeat until all the dirt and grime have been removed.
Step 3: Burn off remaining food particles - Now, light up the grill and allow it to heat up to a high temperature for about 10-15 minutes. This will help burn off any remaining food particles you may have missed during the scrubbing process.
Step 4: Clean the ashes - Once the grill has cooled down completely, remove the grill grates and clean out any leftover ashes in the bottom of the grill with a scraper or spatula.
Step 5: Oil the grates - Before using the grill again, use a paper towel to lightly oil the grill grates with vegetable oil to prevent food from sticking.
There you have it! These steps should help you keep your charcoal grill clean and in great working condition. By following these steps, you’ll not only ensure the safety of your food but also extend the life of your grill.