How Much Charcoal To Use In A Grill

Charcoal To Use In A Grill

How Much Charcoal To Use In A Grill? When working with charcoal, the general rule is that the more coal you use, the hotter the fire will be. For smaller or portable barbecues, a fair rule of thumb is 30 briquettes, and 50 to 75 briquettes for bigger barrel and Kettleman grills.

Not only will understanding how much charcoal to use while cooking various dishes save you money, but it will also assist you in maintaining an effective fire.

While grilling, it is critical to maintaining a constant temperature. When you utilize the correct amount of charcoal, you will always have the best flame and control.

How Much Charcoal To Use In A Grill

Choosing how much charcoal to use on a grill is one of the first steps in becoming a grill master. Fortunately, calculating how much you need is a straightforward procedure!

Because we have to start somewhere, I’m going to make two assumptions:

  • You are cooking on a Weber 22-inch charcoal grill.
  • Also You’re using Kingsford briquettes.

The 22-inch kettle grills and Kingsford charcoal are the most popular grills and charcoal brands. If you’re using anything else, use this data as a starting point and make changes as needed.

The Basics Of Grilling With Charcoal To Use When Grilling

We also want to have an influence on two variables:

  • What do we want the grill temperature to be?
  • How long do we want the grill to be hot when we want it?

The temperature of your grill is affected by the amount of charcoal you use and the amount of air available to the charcoal. In general, adding more fuel and air resulted in a hotter grill.

Because the coals are elevated above the flames, the edges fire fast and aid to ignite surrounding coals.

  • 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’ve added the newspaper.

Follow the directions on the chimney and add one or two pieces of newspaper. Several locations on 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 colour. Then lay out the coals. The entire procedure takes around 15 minutes.

The length of time the charcoal burns at the specified temperature is determined by how it is put and burnt.

Consider the following scenarios:

Grilling For A Crowd In A Hurry To Use When Grilling

This type consumes the most energy, requiring around 4.5 pounds of charcoal.

Assume you wish to prepare a grilled supper of hamburgers and chicken drumsticks. In this case, extreme heat will be required for around an hour.

I’m assuming an hour since you could be cooking the burgers in batches or want to cook the chicken separately from the patties.

In this case, I would completely fill a Weber charcoal chimney with charcoal. This will take 90 Kingsford Blue briquettes, or around 4.5 pounds of fuel.

After the charcoal has been ashes over, use the chimney to light it and then disperse the coals evenly across the charcoal grate. Keep the bottom and top air vents completely open.

Grilling For A Few People In A Hurry Charcoal To Use In A Grill

Assume you simply want ribeye steaks and grilled asparagus for yourself and your sweetheart.

You’ll want to apply a lot of heat in a short amount of time.

In this case, I’d use 45 Kingsford Blue briquettes to fill the chimney halfway.

After the charcoal has been ashed over, light it with the chimney and place the coals on a mound in the center of the charcoal grate. Keep the bottom and top air vents completely open.

The charcoal will burn hotter than necessary, but it will be hot enough for some serious searing action for the time you use it.

Low And Slow Grilling/Smoking Charcoal To Use When Grilling

Hot and rapid grilling isn’t always the ideal choice, and there are times when Low & Slow is the better option.

Take, for example, Country Style Ribs or a stuffed pork chop.

In these cases, I like to bank around 30 briquettes (about 1.5 pounds) on the grill’s left side. To fire one side of the charcoal bed, I like to use a paraffin wax cube or even a propane flame. Allow the fire to burn slowly across the charcoal bed while the meat cooks on the opposite side of the grill.

If the fire dies out before the dinner is finished, place 5-10 unlit briquettes on top of the ignited charcoal to extend the cooking time.

Stoking of Charcoal To Use When Grilling

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.


Because everyone’s cooking setup is different, it may take some trial and error to find the right amount of charcoal to power yours. If you follow our advice and utilize a chimney charcoal starter, you should be well on your way to determining the best ratio for you.

Do you have any suggestions about how much charcoal to use for different types of cooking or an ideal setup for a certain grill or smoker?


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