How To Cook On A Small Charcoal Grill?

Charcoal Grills are some of the best grills that you can lay your hands on. Small charcoal grills are ideal for small families or single people. They do not take up much space, and they are easy to clean. The cooking process is easy, and one can cook over both direct and indirect heat. Although the latter can be a bit tricky, you can master it in no time with practice. Today, we are here to teach you how to cook on a small charcoal grill.

How To Heat The Grill?

To cook on a small charcoal grill, delicious food like you have never had before, the first thing that needs to be done is to heat the grill. It is crucial to have the grill nice and hot before starting the cooking procedure.

Step 1: A Proper Setting

A proper setting is always required when cooking with fire. The grill should be placed on a flat surface outdoors. It should be under open space. It should not be placed under any overhanging trees, roof, or structure. It should be under the open sky. The bottom vent of the grill should be wide open during the process.

Step 2: Put In The Charcoal

Open the grill and then take out the grilling rack from the grill. Now put in the charcoal. The placing should be in a pyramid form at the exact center of the grill. Charcoal briquettes are easy to buy and come at a reasonable cost. If the day is windy or cold, more charcoal will be required in the heating and cooking process. Keep that in mind while getting stocks.

Step 3: Light It Up  

2 ounces of Lighter fluid should be enough for around 30 briquettes of charcoal, which is the ideal amount of charcoal to be put in a small charcoal grill at a time. Pouring the lighter fluid onto the charcoal, let it soak for a few minutes. Strike a match and carefully and slowly light the charcoal. Unless you are ready to start cooking, keep the lid off.

Step 4: Heat The Charcoal

This will take some time as the charcoal needs to be heated up until they have a covering of white ash around them. It approximately takes 20 to 30 minutes.

Step 5: Spread It Out  

Now, the charcoal can be spread according to the method one wants to cook. Using a pair of tongs, the coal can be spread out evenly for direct cooking or pushed to one side for indirect cooking.

Step 6: Oil The Rack

The grill rack should be appropriately oiled before starting the cooking process. A brush works well for the purpose. Place the grilling rack back in the grill. Be careful not to burn yourself. Mittens should be used while handling a hot grill. Let the frame heat up before putting food on it.

How To Heat The Grill?

Now that the grill is heated up well, the actual cooking of the food can take place. Two methods can be used to cook on a small charcoal grill. One is the Grilling with direct heat, and the other is the grilling with indirect heat. Both methods are super helpful and can be used to grill various food items.

Grilling with direct heat on a small charcoal grill is the same as doing it on a large grill. The main problem is with the other method - Grilling with indirect heat. It is not a problem per se, but it is challenging to get the process right. However, nothing is impossible with correct information and practice.

Grilling With Indirect Heat

Step 1: Ideal Cuts Of Meat

With this method, it is best to cook the more significant cuts of meat. Such meat can include whole chicken or turkey. Fatty meats like mutton and duck need lower heat with a longer cooking time. This method works perfectly for fish fillets too.

Step 2: Cooking The Meat  

It is difficult in a small charcoal grill to cook with indirect heat. Push the coal to the sides, leaving the center open. Place the meat in the center with a drip pan under it to catch the drippings. If needed, add a layer of water in to the drip pan to prolong the cooking time. Keep the lid closed during the cooking process.

Step 3: More Charcoal

More charcoal might need to be added for more extended cooking periods. Place the briquettes of charcoal around the hot charcoal and allow it to heat up for at least 20 minutes.

Grilling With Direct Heat

Step 1: Grilling The Food  

Place the food in the middle of the grill. Regulate the temperature of the grill using the vents. Open the vent completely for a hotter grill and partially for lower heat. Grill the food according to your taste. Keep an eye on the temperature of the grill.

Step 2: Spray Bottle

It is advised to have a spray bottle filled with water nearby so that the situation does not get out of hand in case of flare-ups.

Cleaning the Grill

After everything is done, the grill needs to be cleaned appropriately. It is essential to maintain safety precautions while cleaning a grill.

Step 1: The Cooldown

Let the grill cool down after cooking is done. For safety reasons, it is better to let the charcoal cool down for 48 hours or two days before disposing of the coals. In case of hot disposal, use long coal tongs.

Step 2: The Clean Up  

Scrub the grill with a wire brush and remove any burnt or stuck food bits. Sweep the bottom of the grill with a stiff brush to get the ashes out.


Grilled food tastes heavenly. Owning and cooking on a small charcoal grill can come in very handy for small families. It is perfect for grilling novices too. We hope you learned quite a lot about how to cook on a small charcoal grill. Now you can have mini barbecue parties any time you want.