How to Start a BBQ Fire with Charcoal

How to Start a BBQ Fire with Charcoal

When it comes to outdoor cooking, the best charcoal grills can make a lot of difference. They will give your food a unique smoky flavor. Nonetheless, these grills can also be frustrating. Using charcoal takes quite an effort, especially when starting a fire. Unlike its more modern counterparts, there is no button that you can just push to ignite a fire. That said, keep on reading this article and we’ll let you know how to start a BBQ fire with charcoal.

How to Start a BBQ Fire with Charcoal

Start with a Clean Slate

The first thing you need to do is to inspect the charcoal grill to make sure that it is clean. From the grates to the vents to the other parts of the grill, see to it that there are no residues. Otherwise, the performance of the grill will be compromised.

Use a Charcoal Chimney Starter

The charcoal chimney starter will make grilling a lot easier. It allows you to start a fire while requiring minimal effort. To use a chimney starter, follow these simple steps:

  1. Lightly crumple newspaper and place it at the bottom of the chimney starter. Do not crumple the paper too tight. Otherwise, this limits the oxygen intake of the fire, which could be a reason for it to extinguish quickly.
  2. On the top of the paper, place wood chips or charcoal briquettes. Fill it until the top or depending on how many you will need.
  3. Light the paper at the bottom of the chimney starter. It is best to use a long-stemmed lighter to avoid burning your hand. Wait until it fires up and until it reaches the coals.
  4. The heat from the bottom will start to rise. You will notice embers on the top and the coal or chips can also start turning gray. Usually, the process may take 10 to 15 minutes. After this, dump the charcoal and you can now start grilling.

Use a Lighter Fluid

In case you don’t have a chimney starter, the next best thing that you can do is to use lighter fluid. Nonetheless, some people try to stay away from this method because of the smell of the fluid, which can get into the food. This is one of the easiest ways to ruin the flavor of whatever it is you are grilling.

  1. At the bottom of the grill, arrange crumpled newspaper.
  2. On top of the newspaper, add charcoal. Like with the newspaper, pay attention to how you arrange it, making sure that you spread it evenly.
  3. When arranging the charcoal, it is also important that you consider creating separate heat zones. This means that one portion of the grill should have high heat and the other portion should have medium to low heat, which will prevent you from burning whatever it is that you want to grill.
  4. Douse the coal and the paper with lighter fluid. Do not overdo it as this can create a fire that is bigger than what you need. Also, make sure that you do not pour lighter fluid on the other parts of the grill.
  5. Light the coals and the paper. Wait until you see fire on the top or until the coals turn gray before you start grilling. Putting the food on the grate when the grill isn’t hot enough will burn the food from the outside.

Sustaining the Fire

It is not enough that you know how to start a BBQ fire with charcoal. It’s just the first step of grilling. You should also pay attention on how to build and keep a strong fire. Otherwise, the temperature will be inconsistent.

Among others, one of the most important is to keep the coals densely packed. This lessens the likelihood that the fire will be extinguished. However, when they are too packed, they won’t get the air that you need.

Speaking of air, you also need to know how to control the vents. The bottom and top vents are important to manage the airflow in the grill. If there is no air, there will be no fire. On the other hand, when there is too much air, the fire can be too big, and the grill will be too hot. This makes it important that you learn how to adjust the vents accordingly depending on the specific requirements of your recipe.

Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker Review

Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker Review

Aside from being made by one of the most trusted brands, the Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker has captivated the hearts of its buyers because of its versatility. While this is an exceptional choice for those who are looking for the best offset smoker, this is also an incredible pick for those who are on the lookout for a top-rated charcoal or barbeque grill.

Thinking of buying this offset smoker? Read the rest of this short review and learn more about its notable features, as well as a few of its pros and cons.

Main Product Features

Just like the other smoker and grill combo that you can find from Char-Broil, this model is packed with a plethora of exceptional features.

290 Square Inches Main Cooking Area

This is big enough for you to cook up to 18 burgers in the main compartment. To add, it comes with a 140-square-inch warming rack, which provides additional space for preparation.

Front-Mounted Temperature Gauge

You won’t have a hard time monitoring the temperature of the grill. There is also no need for you to open the lid every time. There is a strategically positioned gauge in front of the unit so that you can easily monitor the internal temperature.

Porcelain-Coated Cooking Grates

Aside from being adjustable, the grates are also impressive because it comes with a porcelain coating. The latter allows it to resist rust while also being effortless to clean. It is not easily prone to having charred fat and grease.

The Good

If the features above are not enough to convince you to choose this product, below are other compelling reasons to get yourself this offset smoker.


One thing that we love the most about this product is its versatility. You can use it either as an offset smoker or as a grill. Either way, you can expect that the performance is top-notch, especially considering its price.

Easy to Clean

You don’t have to exert a lot of effort when it comes to the care and maintenance of this offset smoker. For instance, the cooking grates are coated with porcelain, which prevents a mess from oil and drippings.

Compact and Portable

If you have minimal space to spare in the patio, you have one good reason to choose this product. It comes with a space-efficient body, so you won’t have a problem if there is space limitation on where it is used. This also makes it easy to move it from one place to another, especially with its two wheels.

The Bad

To be fair, let us also look at some issues that you can potentially encounter with the Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker.

Paint Easily Chips

There have been a couple of complaints about how the paint easily chips, especially when you often use the smoker and grill combo at a temperature of more than 250 degrees. If this happens, you might just want to repaint it with a stronger material to prevent the same problem from happening in the near future.

Prone to High Heat Loss

There are also reports about how there is a high possibility of temperature fluctuations. One of the serious design flaws of this product is how the firebox is not properly welded to the rest of the smoker, which results in having a gap where smoke and heat can escape.


As we have noted in this review, Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker is way ahead of its league. Aside from the reputation of the manufacturer, we love how this compact smoker and grill combo delivers exceptional power for its size.


Blackstone Tailgater Grill Review

Blackstone Tailgater Grill Review 2019: Should You Buy This Grill?

When looking for an outdoor grill, you will be overwhelmed with the long list of the possibilities, each claiming to be better than its competitors. Among others, one that should be on your radar is the Blackstone Tailgater, which is the subject of the rest of this review.

If you are searching for the best pellet grill, this isn’t for you. It does not use pellets. Rather, it is powered by gas. To know more about its features, as well as the pros and cons, read the rest of this Blackstone Tailgater grill review and we’ll help you come up with the right choice.

Main Product Features

To start, let us look at some of the notable features that you can expect in this gas grill.

Grill and Griddle Combo

One of the best features of the Blackstone Tailgater is the fact that it can be used not only as a gas grill but even as a griddle, making it versatile. You can also use the grill box and the griddle at the same time. You can even use it as a burner for pots and pans.

Two Burners

To make it even more versatile, there are also two burners that are integrated into the grill and griddle combo. One burner is made of stainless steel while the other is made of cast iron. They have individual controls, so they work independently from one another. One burner has 15,000 BTU while the other has 20,000 BTU.

Adjustable Legs

You can easily customize the length of the legs as desired. This also makes it possible to ensure that it will be on a levelled surface to keep the unit stable while you are grilling. The legs are spread wide enough for the grill to remain in a steady position.

512-square-inch Cooking Space

Despite being compact and portable, you will love how it comes with a total space of 512 square inches, half of which is a grill and the other half is a griddle.

The Good

Not convinced that this will make an exceptional choice? If you need more compelling reasons, below are some of the benefits of using the Blackstone Tailgater.


Despite not having wheels, there are many people who laud this grill because of its portability. You will not have any problem in bringing it outdoors, such as when tailgating or camping. It has adjustable legs that remain stable on different surfaces.

Durable Construction

You can expect that this product is built to withstand the test of time, making it an excellent investment. The grates are made of cast iron. The griddle plate is steel. Most of the parts are powder-coated, which will protect it from the damages the external environment causes.

Easy to Use

This is also an excellent choice if you are looking for a grill that excels in terms of being user-friendly. Even cleaning and maintenance will not require too much effort on your end. Controlling the heat will also be easy through the knobs.

The Bad

The Blackstone Tailgater is far from being perfect. Truth is, there are some drawbacks that might give you second thoughts in choosing this grill over its competitors.

May Not Work in Cold Weather

Since this is marketed as an outdoor grill that is ideal for tailgating, many of you may instantly assume that it is for year-round use. The truth is that it is not the case. There are some users who noted that the grill may fail to function when it is too cold. The problem is possibly with the regulator, which won’t work properly once the temperature drops to an extreme.

No Wheels

The lack of wheels makes it difficult to move the grill from one place to another. Even if it is quite small, it would have been better if there are wheels for mobility. The grill is quite wide, so you need a helping hand if you want to move it around.

Final Verdict

As we have noted in this Blackstone Tailgater grill review, this grill and griddle combo will make an excellent investment, especially for those who love the outdoors. Whether it is tailgating, camping or a beach getaway, among others, you can easily bring the grill. With its durable construction and user-friendly features, you can expect the highest level of satisfaction.

how long to cook steak on grill

Here’s how you will make the perfect steak this season

Not only Americans but food enthusiasts of every nation are into irresistible steak dishes. They are the glory of every famous restaurant here and there. However, people are nothing less enthusiastic about making steaks at home.

If you are planning the same as well, you are indeed in the right place. Here, you will get a certain idea about what smoking equipment to use, how long to cook steak on grill, what seasoning and smoking ingredients to use and more. So let’s get started.

how long to cook steak on grill

Choose a butcher over a grocery

All the buzz about buying the fresh meat to attain the best quality cooking surely exists for a reason. It is important that you align with the idea too to make the best out of your cooking efforts. This will help you get the best results after you smoke the steak.

Concentrate on the cut of the meat

The cut plays a key role in the preparation of the item. A large percentage of people tend to go for the thin cuts of meat which might seem like a healthier and smarter option. But if you really want to gain some healthy fat and attain better taste, the ribeye would be the perfect cut for you. It has a little thicker fat added and is marbling.

Also, it is actually much easier to cook as the dressings you put will be more intact and get absorbed in compared to the thinner ones giving it a better taste. If you are conscious about the fat, choose to have a smaller portion which will help you enjoy the best of both worlds!

Pick the right equipment to cook

The right equipment and tools make smoking meat a lot easier especially if you are a newbie. Begin by choosing the right meat smoker and the right cooking fuel. While selecting the smoker, consider aspects like the size, add-on features, brand, fuel type and more.

You can also consider the types of food you usually like cooking in the smoker. This will help you settle for the right equipment whether you are smoking steak, pork or turkey. For steaks, you will need to smoke in comparatively high temperature and make sure your smoker or grill is robust enough.

A digital meat thermometer will do the magic

Using the digital meat thermometer will help you exactly figure out how long to cook steak on grill or any other type of cooker, and you do not have to depend on inaccurate guesses anymore. These thermometers are quite popular in the market and come in quite a moderate price range nowadays. If you buy online, you will be able to see the exact features, descriptions and also get amazing discounts on the same.

Use a healthy and natural cooking fat

The next thing that you will need to consider is the cooking fat. Each meat demands a particular type of cooking fat. When you are smoking a heavy cut meat, it is always best to go for the thicker and slightly greasier cooking fat. This will help the meat attain a certain level of softness and finish the cooking process faster.

Vegetable, peanut and olive oil are some of the best options if you are smoking steak. It is best not to use the extra virgin olive oil as that is not much of a suitable option for cooking or smoking steak.

You can also use special herbs and seasoning ingredients to pep up your smoked steak. Some finely chopped parsley, fresh thyme and rosemary would make the perfect combination to give a extravagant flavor and freshness to your steak. This is the most favored combination that every steak lover admires but you can try other combinations as well.

However, all said and done, many use grillers to smoke steaks and it is not a bad idea at all. To be precise if you are wondering how long to cook steak on grill, there is no specific time for that. But if you are using a griller make sure that the meat turns golden brown on both the sides.

The minimum time for smoking steak on a grill is approximately four to five minutes in medium degree temperature. Otherwise, if you have a smoker at home, you can consider yourself sorted completely. So just get set for preparing the best-smoked steak ever!



Ground Meat

Best Meat for Beef Jerky: Choosing the Right Cut

Best Meat for Beef JerkyWhen you say beef jerky, obviously, the meat is beef. However, when we talk about the best meat for beef jerky, what we are actually talking about is the right cut.

Different cuts will yield different flavors. So, which one is the best? Keep on reading the rest of this post and learn from some of the insights we will be sharing.

The Best Cuts for Beef Jerky

Below is a list of some of the top beef cuts that you might want to consider if you are planning to make jerky.

Beef Round

Beef RoundWhen it comes to making beef jerky, this tends to be on the top of the list of many people. It can be further divided into sub-categories. You can choose top round, which is inside the leg muscle. It is moderately tender. Meanwhile, there is no or little fat, so there will be minimal marbling. Bottom round, on the other hand, is outside the leg muscle. It is tough and cheap. Lastly, you can also choose eye of round. The latter is the oval muscle that you can find in the rear leg. It is the cut that is used by most commercial producers of beef jerky.

Flank Steak

Flank SteakA lot of people might instantly be hesitant in choosing flank steak for a beef jerky because it is expensive. Nonetheless, the price is sure to be worth it. It is a cut that is derived from the rear underbelly. It may not be tender or lean, but it is still chosen by many because it tends to be flavorful. The low-fat content is also a good thing since it makes it easier to have it processed through dehydration. As a tip, make sure that you slice against the grain.


SirloinWhen you mention sirloin, a lot of people would instantly think of premium meat that is used for roasting or steaks. It is one of the tenderest beef cuts, which is why it will make a good choice for beef jerky that won’t be a challenge to chew. The outer surface of the muscle usually has a layer of fat, but you can easily cut it for the meat to become leaner.

Ground Meat

Ground MeatNow, this is one thing that can be quite unconventional for many. It is not a cut since it is already ground. From those that are mentioned in this post, this is the most affordable, which makes it an excellent choice for those who are budget-friendly. The key here is to choose lean meat, making sure that the fat content is kept at a minimum. The texture is different from those mentioned above, but many people will love how easy it is to chew.

How to Choose the Best Meat for Beef Jerky

When choosing meat or cut for beef jerky, always prioritize freshness. The meat will only be dried during the process and will not be fully cooked, which is why you will need to pick one that is as fresh as possible. When it is already old, it will be tougher to chew and will not taste good.

Choose a cut from the part that is not used often during movements. If it is from muscles that are overused, it will end up being tough and difficult to chew. If it is from parts that are not often used, it will be softer.

Pay attention as well to the flavor of the meat. It will be good if it is lean, which will make it tastier. The more flavorful the cut is, the better the jerky will taste.

Non-Beef Meats for Jerky

If you want something different with a more exotic flavor, it is best to stay away from beef. Look for other cuts that you can use for beef jerky. The trick is to experiment in small batches to see which one works the best.

One of the alternatives worth considering is deer meat, which is lean and tender. It is organic, has little interior marbling, and perfect if you want a gamey flavor. Elk meat will also be a great choice, which has a mild game flavor. If you have to use pork, opt for the tenderloin. It has a bit of fat, but this will still make a good choice for jerky.

Wrap Up

By now, we hope that you already know the best meat cuts for beef jerky. The key is to choose a cut that is lean and will be easy to chew once it has been processed. If you have to go beyond beef, there are also alternatives to consider, including deer and elk, among others.