Do you ever long for the days of charcoal grilling? Are you tired of your uninspiring propane grill? Well, you certainly can head back to your roots and start charcoal grilling again. The reasons that you can venture back to charcoal are numerous not the least of which are the quality products and accessories that you can buy in the charcoal grilling world.
Charcoal Chimney Starter
I started charcoal grilling again as soon as I learned more about the infamous charcoal chimney starter. Have you heard about this product? To be perfectly frank, about two years ago I had never even heard of this fantastic grilling accessory. One of the main reasons that I was really hesitant about moving back to charcoal from propane was the fact that I thought I had to use lighter fluid like I always did when I was young. Well, the chimney starter changed everything! In my opinion it has revolutionized the art of charcoal grilling and has put this traditional mode of grilling right back on the barbecue map.
The chimney starter is a metal unit with perforations throughout it to facilitate the flow of air. There is a section at the bottom of the charcoal chimney starter into which you place rolled up newspaper or another flammable material such as paraffin cubes. Above this bottom section is another larger section which is where the charcoal is inserted. You typically fill it with as many briquettes as you need for your grilling needs. With experience you will know how many briquettes to use for the amount of grilling that you are about to undertake. Even if you use too many you can always save the spent charcoal and use it the next time that you grill. I do this all the time because I am cheap and don’t waste anything.
The first chimney starter that I purchased was one that I found at a local big box store. But, in a short amount of time it rusted out. So I looked into the many different Weber grill accessories that are available and found what I consider the best charcoal starter on the market. The Weber Rapidfire Chimney Starter is my go-to accessory for starting up charcoal for my grills. It holds a lot more than the inferior models and doesn’t rust out and works perfectly every time.
To be perfectly honest, grilling can be dangerous. A lot of people don’t take the proper precautions when it comes to cooking with fire. I am not one of those people. I take care when I am grilling and the first step is in protecting my hands. Weber manufactures probably the best barbecue mitts on the market. What I particularly like about them is the fact that they cover not only my fingers but also my arms. I’ve had my share of burns working with charcoal but ever since I purchase my Weber barbecue mitts I’ve been well protected. The suede gripping exterior always allows for a secure grip on any surface.
Another consideration that should come to mind when it comes to grilling with charcoal is the potential that a glowing red hot charcoal briquette could come into contact with your wooden deck (assuming you are cooking on a deck) or on dry ground. If you want to remove that concern from your mind you may want to consider purchasing a grill mat. These are fire-retardant mats that go underneath your grill in the event that a dangerous hot ember escapes from the grill. This could easily happen when you pour the hot coals from the chimney starter into the grill. Weber and other manufacturers make a wide variety of grill mats of various sizes and shapes. You should be able to find one that should fit perfectly under your charcoal grill. It’s much smarter to be safe than sorry especially when it comes to playing with fire.
Protecting your Grill
One of the best investments in which you can make for your charcoal grilling avocation is to buy a quality Weber cover for your grills. I own two Weber grills and have purchased just the right size covers for each of them. Since my grills are left out on my back deck throughout the whole year, my grill covers protect my well-utilized grills from rain, snow, hail, or intense heat. In years past I didn’t even invest in protective covers for my grills and, in time, they just rusted out. I also own a water smoker and use a Weber grill cover for that as well. If you want your grilling products to last you have to invest in protective covers.
Unique Weber Grill Accessories
One of the most utilized Weber accessories in which I recently invested is my Smokey Joe Grill Carrier. It is specifically made for the Weber Smokey Joe model grills which is the smallest of the Weber grills. This is basically a nylon bag into which you can place your cooled-off Smokey Joe grill. It comes equipped with a shoulder strap which allows you to carry it anywhere. I have used mine for tailgating, at the beach, and camping. It is a specialized product but since I use my Weber Smokey Joe so often, it is perfect for me.
Another unique Weber grill accessory is called a stainless steel fish basket. Who says you can’t cook fish on a charcoal grill? I’ve done it many times with this fish basket. It is great because the stainless steel wire design prevents your fish from falling through the cracks of your grill grate and it prevents the fish from sticking.
If you want to do some indirect cooking with your Weber kettle grill, you may want to buy some charcoal holders which are basically metal semi-circular containers that allow you to keep the hot briquettes on the sides of the grill rather than directly beneath whatever you are cooking. This is how you would cook a whole chicken or roast using indirect heating. Indirect cooking is what is considered barbecue which uses low heat over a longer period of time in comparison to grilling which is with high heat and the cooking times are much shorter.
Charcoal grilling has definitely seen a resurgence in recent years and Weber has taken the lead in developing high quality grills and accessories for us charcoal lovers. So the next time you decide to grill you might want to give charcoal a chance. I did and I’ve never turned back!