How Long to Burn Charcoal Before Grilling

Do You Own a Charcoal Grill?

This simple mechanism lights the coals, which are confined inside the boundaries of a metal cylinder, using paper – most often newspaper. Because the coals are elevated above the flames, the edges fire fast and aid to ignite surrounding coals.

Method One

  • Charcoal should be added to the chimney

Fill the chimney with enough charcoal to cover the fire. A normal chimney may contain around 100 briquets. However, you may not require that many.

  • Light it once you have added the newspaper

Follow the directions on the chimney and add one or two pieces of newspaper. Several locations in the newspaper should be lit. The flames from the burning newspaper in the room below illuminate the borders of the charcoal above. Peek through the chimney vents to see if the coals have begun to burn and the edges of the coals have become grey. Burn another piece of newspaper if the coals haven’t begun yet.

  • Pour out the coals when you see flames on top

After about 10 minutes, the coals will begin to light through the vents and flames will begin to flicker over the top layer of coals. Pour them onto a mound and wait until the coals are still mostly coated in ash and have become grey in color. Then lay out the coals. The entire procedure takes around 15 minutes.

Method Two

  • Using lighter fluid, ignite the charcoal.

The tried-and-true way for getting your charcoal started. Here are some guidelines for using lighter fluid responsibly.

  • Make a nice pile out of the coals.

Piling the coals into a mound or pyramid will improve coal-to-coal contact and aid in the propagation of the fire.

  • The light soon after adding lighter fluid to the mound of unlit coals.

Squirt lighter fluid on the top and sides of the charcoal pile, following the directions on the lighter fluid. Immediately after administering the fluid, turn on the light. Never spray lighter fluid into a blazing fire or burning coals.

  • When the coals are coated with grey ash, they are ready.

The margins of the coals will turn grey when the fluid has burned off. The ash spreads to cover each briquette as the coals continue to burn. The coals are ready to spread out and utilize once they have been mostly covered with ash. The entire procedure takes around 15 minutes.

How Long Does A Charcoal Grill Keep Its Heat

A well-constructed fire should maintain a high enough temperature to cook for 30-40 minutes. If you want to continue cooking after this stage, you’ll need to use one of the following strategies to keep the grill temperature stable.


Stoking the coals will help them stay hot in the short run. Prod and rotate the coals using a grilling utensil. This will expose the embers to the air and allow them to temporarily re-ignite, raising the temperature of the grill. The food will also cook more evenly if the embers are stoked.

Remember to adjust the vents to ensure optimum ventilation while you stoke the coals. If the fire entirely goes out, you’ll have to restart it. This will become increasingly difficult with each repetition, so strive to get it perfect on the first try. You don’t want the coals to go out before they’re hot enough to cook with.

Using a lighter fluid

If stirring the coals isn’t doing the trick and you have lighter fluid on hand, you may use it to give the fire a kick. Pour little quantities of liquids in various locations around the grill, being careful not to use too much or stand too near. If the coals do not fire immediately, use a stick lighter or a long match to relight them.

Including Coals

The most important thing to remember is that a fire will only burn as long as it has enough fuel to do so. If you just let the coals burn out, the grill will continue to generate a light amount of heat for around 15 minutes until entirely cooling. As a result, if you want your charcoal grill to stay hot for an extended amount of time, you’ll need to keep adding coals.

Whenever the embers start to dwindle down, add 10-12 new coals to the fire’s perimeter. Open the vents as far as they will go to let the new coals burn, then adjust when the grill reaches your target heat.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: How long does BBQ charcoal burn?

Ans: In any open type of BBQ application e.g. direct grilling, rotisseries, skewers, or churrasco, most lump charcoal products will give you 2-3 hours burn time whereas briquettes will push out to 4-5 hours. Of course, this depends on the quality of fuel being used.

Q2:How to measure charcoal for your BBQ?

Ans: Firstly it is important to note that the volume ratio of charcoal Briquette to Lump is about 1:1.5kg. So in terms of heat output and burn time you’d need 1 1/2 amount of lump to get the equivalent performance from a compressed briquette charcoal product.

So with that out of the way, the rule of thumb is that the ratio of BBQ charcoal to the meat that you need is 1:1. So for every kilogram of meat, you will need a kilogram of briquette charcoal or 1.5 kilograms of hardwood lump. In saying that, we’ve been able to cook 10kg of meat, staggered over an afternoon using about half a box of our Briquettes (about 5kg) due to the fact we knew we could get 5 hours to burn time

To Wrap it Up

When you are done cooking, you’ll be left with a mound of grey ash—the charred remains of the charcoal. Wipe as much of the residue from the grill as possible when it has cooled. Too much ash may clog the air vents, thus suffocating your next fire before it can start.

After removing the ash, use a stiff wire brush to clean the grill racks. This will eliminate any food residue, allowing you to enjoy your next cookout.

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