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araminty
07-12-2017, 12:42 AM
We're having a party in a picnic area at a local park this weekend. The park is equipped with two big grills similar to this one (https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/98/d8/a1/98d8a17016add3e2324cf3bf92e3f23b.jpg). I tried to have a go at working it last week, but there was a padlock, which I hope(!) will be unlocked by the time our reservation rolls around on Sunday!

I do find myself a bit unprepared for cooking sausages for 30 on this, having been a gas grill girl my whole life. I'd appreciate some tips.

I suppose i need some charcoal. And some... lighter fluid? And a clicky flame maker thingy? (I have one of those). I use the wheely thing to raise the grate, then lay out the charcoal, then...?

Oh dear. I am off to do some Googling while I wait for your elucidation.

snfaulkner
07-12-2017, 12:46 AM
If there is an extreme fire danger in the area, grilling might be verboten until the danger comes down, thus the padlocks. Or perhaps you just need to show that you are the one who reserved them to get the key.

Tastes of Chocolate
07-12-2017, 01:27 AM
Get yourself a charcoal chimney (https://www.weber.com/US/en/blog/how-to-use-a-chimney-starter). You place a smaller amount of briquettes in it, and light them. The chimney holds them close together, so they light faster. Then dump the now lit briquettes on top of the rest of your charcoal. The link has a pretty good walk through on how to use them. Around here, you can buy them at pretty much all hardware stores.

If you can, I suggest avoiding lighter fluid. It can leave a nasty taste on the food.

Princhester
07-12-2017, 01:32 AM
Is that grill going to work well with briquettes? It doesn't seem to have any ventilation from below.

Quercus
07-12-2017, 08:34 AM
If there is an extreme fire danger in the area, grilling might be verboten until the danger comes down, thus the padlocks. Or perhaps you just need to show that you are the one who reserved them to get the key.
At any rate, if you have a reservation, then there must be someone you can call to ask about this. My advice is to do so ASAP.

ThelmaLou
07-12-2017, 08:38 AM
At any rate, if you have a reservation, then there must be someone you can call to ask about this. My advice is to do so ASAP.

This. And they probably have a pamphlet with tips on using a big grill. Also, search the city's website (or whoever runs the park).

Asimovian
07-12-2017, 08:53 AM
As the OP is seeking food advice, we'll try this in Cafe Society. Thread relocated from IMHO.

BobLibDem
07-12-2017, 09:23 AM
If you buy quality charcoal either use one of those metal cylinders or just pile them up. Lighter fluid shouldn't be necessary. But use enough charcoal, a grill that size might need a full bag. Or two.

kayaker
07-12-2017, 09:30 AM
I would just buy two or three bags of charcoal. Raise the grill as high as it goes. Put the charcoal (bags and all) on the bottom pan and light the corners of the bags. Patiently await grey coals, then cook!

pulykamell
07-12-2017, 10:29 AM
Get yourself a charcoal chimney (https://www.weber.com/US/en/blog/how-to-use-a-chimney-starter). You place a smaller amount of briquettes in it, and light them. The chimney holds them close together, so they light faster. Then dump the now lit briquettes on top of the rest of your charcoal. The link has a pretty good walk through on how to use them. Around here, you can buy them at pretty much all hardware stores.

If you can, I suggest avoiding lighter fluid. It can leave a nasty taste on the food.

This is exactly what I would do. Fill the bottom of the grill with unlit coals, then dump a lit chimney starter of coals on top (might take two lit chimneys given the size. Perhaps even three. You can do them sequentially. You don't need to buy multiple ones. But do be aware that it takes about 15 minutes or so to get a chimney fully going. I personally would budget about an hour to get the fire going to my liking.)

D_Odds
07-12-2017, 10:32 AM
1. Thirded on the chimney starter. ~$20 at Home Depot. My HD has two models, a no-name and a Weber one. The Weber one is a little larger, and MUCH better engineered. For a one and done type thing, I suggest Kingsford Blue Bag charcoal. It's cheap and good. To use the chimney starter, place uncoated newspaper in the bottom (lightly oil the paper if it is a windy day, otherwise not necessary). I find three sheets to be fine. For a grill that large, fill to the brim with briquettes, light the paper, wait ~15 minutes until the top starts to ash over.

2.Put the charcoal starter to one side of the grill, then fill the other side with more charcoal (about twice what you have in the chimney). Leave about 1/3 of the grill with no charcoal.

3. Personally, whenever using public grills, I will put a double-layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil on top the the grates, then poke holes in them to allow fat to drain off.

4. When the top briquettes start to ash over, using heat-proof gloves, carefully pour the lit charcoals over the unlit charcoals. Depending on the size of the grill, you may want to do this twice. It will take another 20-30 minutes to get the unlit coals ready to grill.

5. After the grill is ready (about 45 minutes if you've followed these directions), using long tongs, move a few briquettes to the third with no briquettes. Use this side to keep food warm and get to grilling.

Given the size, this will take longer than most backyard grills to prepare, so give yourself time. Buy an inexpensive fire extinguisher and fill a clean spray bottle with water, and keep both nearby. The water can handle flare ups, and the fire extinguisher is self-explanatory. Air won't be a problem, as it has no top. It's not a perfect air flow situation, but you are probably direct heat cooking, not grill-roasting. Toast buns (for those who want them toasted) right at the edge of the hot-to-cool zone.

Want to impress people with more than sausages, hot dogs, and hamburgers? Grill some fruits like pineapple, peaches, pears, apples, even watermelon, as a side. But don't used canned - too water-logged (yes, I've seen people try to grill canned or bottled fruits because they heard grilled fruit is good).

ETA: You may have beaten me to the punch this time, pulykamell, but only because my post was more complete. :P

pulykamell
07-12-2017, 11:08 AM
I fully support your post. :)

running coach
07-12-2017, 11:11 AM
To use the chimney starter, place uncoated newspaper in the bottom (lightly oil the paper if it is a windy day, otherwise not necessary). I find three sheets to be fine. For a grill that large, fill to the brim with briquettes, light the paper, wait ~15 minutes until the top starts to ash over.



Are you suggesting you do this drunk?

:D

araminty
07-12-2017, 02:16 PM
Thanks for the input, everyone. I just called the parks dept who assured me the maintenance guys will unlock the grill at 8AM that morning, and that so far this summer, there haven't been any fire bans on that side of the valley, and the forecast looked pretty good for this to continue over the upcoming weekend.

My menu is traditional Aussie sausage sizzle (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sausage_sizzle), so I won't be toasting nuthin :) It's sausages, onions (cooked with butter in foil "pan"), white bread, tomato sauce. Mushrooms for the sole veggo. We've been auditioning different sausages for the last few weeks, and I think the winner is Johnsonville Beer Brat (http://www.johnsonville.com/products/beer-n-bratwurst.html)s, being cheap, widely available, and unadulterated with "Italian" or other unAustralian flavourings. Trying to find them in bulk just to save on packaging, but am thwarted by strange American terminology, in that uncased sausage filling is called "bulk" sausage. Ridic.

I'll pick up the chimney starter so many recommended, thanks!

Icarus
07-12-2017, 03:50 PM
I would just buy two or three bags of charcoal. Raise the grill as high as it goes. Put the charcoal (bags and all) on the bottom pan and light the corners of the bags. Patiently await grey coals, then cook!

IMPORTANT! Slice the bag first. If you don't, the air inside the bag will heat up with the charcoal dust and expand the bag and you might get a big POOOF! Not fun.

running coach
07-12-2017, 04:01 PM
IMPORTANT! Slice the bag first. If you don't, the air inside the bag will heat up with the charcoal dust and expand the bag and you might get a big POOOF! Not fun.

That depends on the definition of "fun". :D

kayaker
07-12-2017, 04:02 PM
That depends on the definition of "fun". :D

We think alike, coach!:D

ThelmaLou
07-12-2017, 06:01 PM
Thanks for the input, everyone. I just called the parks dept who assured me the maintenance guys will unlock the grill at 8AM that morning, and that so far this summer, there haven't been any fire bans on that side of the valley, and the forecast looked pretty good for this to continue over the upcoming weekend.

My menu is traditional Aussie sausage sizzle (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sausage_sizzle), so I won't be toasting nuthin :) It's sausages, onions (cooked with butter in foil "pan"), white bread, tomato sauce. Mushrooms for the sole veggo. We've been auditioning different sausages for the last few weeks, and I think the winner is Johnsonville Beer Brat (http://www.johnsonville.com/products/beer-n-bratwurst.html)s, being cheap, widely available, and unadulterated with "Italian" or other unAustralian flavourings. Trying to find them in bulk just to save on packaging, but am thwarted by strange American terminology, in that uncased sausage filling is called "bulk" sausage. Ridic.

I'll pick up the chimney starter so many recommended, thanks!
This is sounding good--I'm getting really excited! You do have enough sausages, etc., for 4,063 extra people don't you? :) Ohboyohboyohboy!

D_Odds
07-12-2017, 06:09 PM
Are you suggesting you do this drunk?

:D

I always wait until the fire is started for that. :o

araminty
07-17-2017, 12:36 PM
Updating to say: it all went well! I did two chimneys-full, which was about 2/3 the area of the grill. My FIL "helped" distribute the coals, and he piled them up rather more than I would have done. So the grill was hotter and the hot surface was smaller than I would have ideally preferred. A few sausages burst and burnt, but that's kind of traditional anyway :) Lots of crudites, hummus and tzatziki and sourdough crackers, big box of amazing strawberries from the farmer's market. Bish bash bosh! Great fun party, and we raised a few hundred $ for charity.

RealityChuck
07-17-2017, 12:59 PM
Get yourself a charcoal chimney (https://www.weber.com/US/en/blog/how-to-use-a-chimney-starter). You place a smaller amount of briquettes in it, and light them. The chimney holds them close together, so they light faster. Then dump the now lit briquettes on top of the rest of your charcoal. The link has a pretty good walk through on how to use them. Around here, you can buy them at pretty much all hardware stores.

If you can, I suggest avoiding lighter fluid. It can leave a nasty taste on the food.Chimneys are great, but the grills I've seen in parks usually don't have enough clearance for them. If that's the issue, try the pretzel method:

1. Roll up two or three sheets of newspaper and tie them into an loose overhand knot.
2. Put them in the grill.
3. Find kindling. Any small sticks will do.
4. Put them on top of the newspapers.
5. Add the charcoal. You may want to add just a portion of what you expect to use; you can add more as the coals start to light.
6. Light the ends of the newspaper pretzels.

D_Odds
07-17-2017, 01:15 PM
Updating to say: it all went well! I did two chimneys-full, which was about 2/3 the area of the grill. My FIL "helped" distribute the coals, and he piled them up rather more than I would have done. So the grill was hotter and the hot surface was smaller than I would have ideally preferred. A few sausages burst and burnt, but that's kind of traditional anyway :) Lots of crudites, hummus and tzatziki and sourdough crackers, big box of amazing strawberries from the farmer's market. Bish bash bosh! Great fun party, and we raised a few hundred $ for charity.

Fantastic. Welcome to the world of charcoal cooking. As someone with lots of experience grilling, I always love all the friendly advice from those whose exposure is only from the Food Network.

Actually, what's the opposite of love. I think that is what I was meaning to say.