It's time for grill talk!

Spring has sprung and summer’s bearing down… I’m living la vida Low Carb and looking forward to the simple, primal pleasures of meat (and vegetables!) cooked over real fire!

So I was cleaning up my funky old charcoal grill (yeah, I so don’t get that whole gas thing… I don’t even understand how gas-produced flame can create anything close to the right flavors, but whatever… you guys talk amongst yourselves, different thing altogether) and struggling with it as always. Meaning: I’m trying to clean it the best way I know of, which is to get a nice hot fire going on it and let it burn off all the dirt and spiders and old mess that have been sitting for months. Nothing like fire to disinfect everything in sight.

My grill is very basic style, kinda like this, only without the fabulous smoker. It has a tray on the bottom with a wire rack over it where the fire is made.

Here’s my biggest frustration: I like to cook things for a long time, sort of poor-mans’ smoker. But that tray on the bottom fills with ash pretty quick, after which it is really hard for enough air to get under it to allow building up the heat.

Any good ideas for setting it up so the fire can be built up after ash has accumulated?

And what methods do you know of for “smoking” without a smoker? I would love to smoke some brisket, maybe try my hand at pastrami…(which I learned is spiced and smoked corned beef).

All fabulous recipes welcome! (Even from you gas people…sheesh.)

  1. You need to switch to chunk charcoal. It’s a little hard to find - I get mine at the hardware store. That’s going to burn hotter, with less ash, and better coals.

  2. If you need to, just put down an aluminum pan to keep everything from falling through the grates.

  3. For smoking, you need to start (MUCH) smaller. Figure out which configuration is going to give you the best indirect heat (shifting coals to one side - putting the meat on the other side), adding hardwood for smoke, and starting simple with chicken thighs/breasts, pork tenderloins/ribs, etc.

I grill all year long , so my boys are always ready to go. I agree with Munch that Lump is the way to go. You can get 40 lbs at Sams for 14 bucks. It takes a while to get it going but it burns hot and its low ash, I have 2 smokers and a weber kettle. I always do brisket high heat, 300 to 350, in the weber. Stuff like pork butts and ribs I do low and slow in the smokers.

I’m watching the Twins with an actual shot at winning a game right now, so I’ll be back later to pontificate endlessly on the subject.

I’m sure SP has one, but get a charcoal chimney. You’ll get a grill full of hot lump coal ready to go in 20 minutes.

Stood you should really consider getting the side firebox if you want to do smoking. I have had two chargrillers with the side firebox and it is awesome for slow smoking. Also the side firebox can be used for a small hot grill (like for a couple of steaks).

I’d also second what Munch said about the lump charcoal. It is available at my local grocery store. I smoked some Boston butts with my firebox for about 8 hours without having to remove any ashes.

Can I just get the side firebox as an addon? How does it work… make the fire in the sidebox, put the meat in the main area, smoke from the small side fire pours into the main area?

Yeah, it has been available at Lowe’s as a separate add-on. Here’s a link to the Chargriller website with a picture. Basically, you punch out a perforated panel on the side of your current grill and bolt the side firebox onto it. The heat and smoke from the coals/wood chips in the side firebox are drawn up into the main chamber and out the chimney. There is a pull out drawer for adding additional coals without having to lift the lid and let out heat.