Wood Chips and Chunks

Charcoal Starters

Starting a Fire


Keep it Going!

Is It Done Yet?

Charcoal: Fast Fuel

 We want to be right up front about the fact that we are charcoal grillers, and we hope, with a little persuasion, to make you into one, too. Yes, there is a place for the gas grill in outdoor cooking, but making charcoal-flavored roasted meats and vegetables isn't it. You might as well be inside, slaving over that brand new, expensive, Viking range.

But if you have a gas grill that you love - don't give it up! You can use some simple Tricks of the Trade to get the charcoal flavor you crave!

We don't recommend ANY type of fast-lighting charcoal, and we never use liquid lighter fluid. Both give off fumes for an extended period, and we think, flavor the meals cooked over them.

We use different charcoals for different applications, but for the most part, Kingsford charcoal (not the quick-start kind) and a good hardwood charcoal are the most useful. We prefer hickory to mesquite wood chips or chunks, but our fav is to find fairly fresh fruit wood, and burn small pieces of that in the charcoal bed. We learned this trick from a grillmaster in Pelham, Alabama, who had his "secret stash" of fruit wood that he flavored his meats with. His son was a landscaper, and always managed to salvage the best fruit and nut woods for his dad.

After Hurrican Katrina in 2005, when the FEMA people ran a backhoe over MOM's huge, old fig tree, we had a great and grand feast. The wood from the old fig lasted well into March and April, and we were all very sad to see the end of it. Cherry, apple, crabapple, persimmon, and citrus all make wonderful wood chunks for smoking, as do pecan and walnut. Chop it up into small pieces and treasure it.

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