A couple of hacks for your cooking.
When I just started grilling, I was always worried about the right way of igniting my charcoal and was unsure whether the temperature was ok or I would burn my food to a crisp.
So today I decided to share with you some useful tips on how to start a barbecue and to understand when the charcoal is ready for cooking.
1. Safe area.
Have a fire extinguisher or a bucket of water nearby, and keep kids and pets away. Use long-handled tongs and proper barbecue equipment with insulated handles, to avoid burning yourself.
2. Buy some good-quality charcoal!
Try to buy good-quality sustainably produced charcoal. It ignites easily, burns better, and won’t taint the flavour of the food, unlike cheaper charcoal containing accelerants and chemicals.
3. Use a chimney starter
Using one of these starters means you can ignite the charcoal easily with a few sheets of paper – it will start glowing quickly and easily. Once the charcoal is ready, you can safely and easily put it into the barbecue.
But what to do if you do not have a chimney? I have a solution for you too. All you need to do in this case is to arrange your charcoal in a stack.
4. Push some paper or natural firelighters (such as wood shavings or wool) between the lumps. Light the paper/firelighters, and allow the flames to catch and get going in their own time.
5. It’s also very important to know whether you need direct or indirect heat before you start to cook and how to recognize when your charcoal is ready. If you try to cook something when your charcoal is not ready, it may overcook or burn – it’s not a risk worth taking.
Use my guide to decide when to start cooking your food:
Black or grey with flames: Not ready yet. Step away, have a beer and relax.
Glowing white hot with red center (blow very gently to check): Ready for direct heat.
Ashy white but still very hot: Ready for indirect heat or cooking in the coals.
I hope this simple tips will help you to ignite your charcoal and to enjoy your meal!