How to Keep Charcoal Grill Hot?

How to Keep Charcoal Grill Hot?
Written by antwon smith

Last Update On : 25 January 2021

Have you ever wondered why people still use old-fashioned charcoal grill instead of a gas grill? Gas grills cook way faster than the charcoal grills but still, people seem to like the charcoal grill much. Do you know why? Taste & flavor is everything of foods and the level of flavor & taste you’ll get from charcoal grills, never can be gained from other grills (Gas and electric grills). So why can’t other grills deliver such taste and flavor?

Well, that’s because charcoal grills cook’s meats by direct heat from the bottom and the process is very slow which helps the meats to remain moist and retain the tenderness. On the other hand, slow cooking liquefies the excessive fat from the foods and makes it healthier for you. However, just picking a charcoal grill, putting meat on it and cooking won’t give you the flavor & taste for which these grills are famous.

The most important thing behind the delicious foods is the heat. If you can’t control the heat, you’ll end up wasting your foods. You have to be able to keep your grill heat constant in order to expect a satisfying output. This might seem like a very easy task to do but actually, it’s really hard. But the good news is, there are some tricks which can help you to keep the charcoal grill hot easily as long as you want. Excited?

Okay then. Below I have shown some tricks which will give you a clear idea of exactly how to keep the charcoal grill hot and not only that, I also did cover some related information’s too about the temperature of the grill. So with no further ado, let’s get started.


Steps You Should Follow In Order to Keep Your Charcoal Grill Hot All the Time

Before I start let me clear out one thing. The ways of keeping charcoal grill hot given below, might not the only way. There could be others way too. But the reason I am sharing this very method is because I think it’s the most reliable one and I have seen people getting their job done following this method. Nevertheless, for the optimum result you have to follow each step strictly. Let’s go.

Step 1

Invest in good quality charcoal, in order to save few bucks don’t pick cheap charcoals. Cheap charcoals will cost you more in the long run. And make sure you keep charcoals more than you would need.

Step 2

Once the primary charcoals start burning, allow them to burn for 30 minutes and then add some more charcoals. New charcoals need air circulation to catch the fire, so make sure you open the vent right after adding charcoals.

Step 3

Burning charcoals will need air circulation in order to remain the same. So when you spread the charcoals make sure you keep room for air circulation, otherwise, charcoals will die and you would have to start again.

Step 4

With time you will see a lot of ashes will be stored at the base. You would want to clean them frequently or they will block the air to flow around charcoals which will make them smother and that’s probably the last thing anyone would want.

Step 5

Heat will get low with time, that’s pretty obvious. Whenever you feel like the temperature is going down, add 8 to 10 charcoal briquettes. If you follow the previous instructions, new charcoal briquettes will catch fire soon. If they don’t, you can scatter some fuels on them but spray an amount of fuel that is needed to light them up. Overuse will worsen the entire plan.

Step 6

How would you check if the heat is stable or not? Build in thermometers? They never give an accurate result. It would be better if you can invest in an air probe. Air probe gives the accurate result and many professional uses them. Place the probe near the cooking area means in any place where it won’t get direct heat.


How to Control the Temperature on Charcoal Grills?

As I said back, controlling the temperature of a charcoal is not as easy as gas or electric grills. Controlling the temperature of this grill is really hard. That’s because most newbie ends up burning the meat outside while the inside part is raw. In order to get the perfectly grilled meat, you must need to have a good sense of the temperature. And charcoal grill requires a set of skill to control the temperature. Nevertheless, I have demonstrated all the possible ways to control the heat of a charcoal grill. Have a look below.

Four Techniques to Control the Charcoal Grill Temperature

Below I have listed the four most effective techniques to control the heat of the charcoal grill. You can choose one or two techniques from here, depending on your grilling style. But keeping all four option in mind could be a help in unexpected situations.

1. Double Zone Fire

Double zone fire means building two different zones for your food. You can create a hot zone for searing the meats and a cooler zone to get your meat well-cooked by indirect heat. By making this double zone fire, you can get the desired tasty & appealingly cooked meat but how? As I said, there will be two zones, one you think you have heated the meat enough, you can immediately shift that to the cool zone, where the meat will get indirect slow heat which will cook inside the meat nicely.

Now let’s come to the main point, how to make these zones? Well, that’s really easy. Let me tell you,

  • The very first thing you would want to do is, spread the coals evenly across the half area.
  • Make sure you keep room for air circulation, otherwise the coals won’t act fairly.
  • Now put the cooking grate on and get started.

So the area right above the burning coals is the direct grilling area and the other one is the indirect one. Whenever you feel like stopping grilling food, you can transfer that to the cool section, where it will be cooked slowly from indirect heat. Indirect heat means heat that will come from the burning coals through the air, this will cook the food even from both inside and outside.

2. By Opening and closing the Vents

The basic thing is, the more the airflow, the hotter the grill. In gas grilling, opening the lid lets the heat to disappear but that’s completely opposite in charcoal grills. Coals will need a good amount of air to glow which is why it is important to keep all the vents of the grill open when you are starting.

Charcoal grills actually have two vents, intake vent, and exhaust damper. Intake vents suck the air in and exhaust damper takes the smoke away from the grill. Exhaust dampers kind of work as a chimney. So as there are two vents which one you should adjust in order to get control over the temperature?

There is actually an argument regarding this thing. Some suggest, to keep the exhaust damper open and adjust the intake vent to control the airflow. On the other hand, some suggest doing the exact opposite. Keep the intake vent open and adjust the exhaust damper to control the air flow.

However, I personally prefer controlling the airflow by adjusting the intake vent. And I have seen some experts agreeing with this one. You can test both ways before you actually put foods on the grill. But keep in mind, never close the exhaust damper completely, because smoke needs to escape.

3. Adjusting the distance

The more closer your food is to glowing coals, the more faster it’s going to be cooked. Don’t do that. Why people use charcoal grills? Because it’s a slow cooker, right? And why people love slow cookers? Because it gives even cooking both inside and outside. And if you try to cook faster with overheat, you’ll end up burning the food from outside which is still raw inside.

Moving on, there are some latest grill graters which heights are adjustable. These are a pleasure to have, it will make your grilling so sorted. So yes. Whenever you feel like your food is getting extra heat, you can take the grater higher so that your food will get less heat.

Don’t have an adjustable grill grater? No worries. You can use the first method here, the double zone fire.

4. The Grill Shield

This method is when you don’t have any of these, double zone fire and adjustable grater. So when you feel like you are cooking way faster and you need to reduce the heat. You can’t lower the heat of coals immediately, that’s pretty obvious. What you can do immediately is, grab some foil papers. Add some more layers and make a thick sheet, them slip it underneath the food. It definitely would not stop cooking the food, but it’ll slow the process by reducing the heat and that’s what will give you to sink your teeth in the delicious foods.


Well, that’s all about how to keep the charcoal grill hot. Hope these instructions will help you to make mouthwatering foods anywhere you go. And lastly, if you have any kind of confusion or disagreement, don’t forget to hit me up through the comment section, I’ll get back to you ASAP. Happy grilling!

Learn More about:

how to use vents on weber grill

how to find the perfect bbq grill vents

Leave a Comment